Countdown Week 6-  July 18 Week

It is amazing the number of details that have to be covered for an endeavor like the one ahead.  I found myself making lists, and lists of lists this week.  There were a couple of times that I basically locked up like a crashed computer requiring a reboot… 

A nice diversion in the week was the annual Big G R&D family picnic on Lake Independence.  I am technically not in the R&D group but in Engineering.  Since all of my work is on the cereal systems and with many of the people in the group, they take me on as an adopted son for some of their outings.  This year was especially nice as another opportunity to say farewell to friends.  The kids especially loved the rental WaveRunners that we could take out on the Lake.  (Ralph, if you’re reading this, sorry that we never got to bike together, things just got too wild.) 

The biggest accomplishment of this week was the installation of the mobile satellite receiving system for our internet and TV connections to the RV for the trip.  The installation is an all day process so Nate and I brought Harvey and stayed with it to be there as decisions had to be made at different times during the process.  Nate really enjoyed chatting with Tim, the installation technician as he worked and actually helped hand him tools and give him a hand at times. 

The satellite internet is going to be critical to our staying in touch during this adventure.  When you get to a new location, we hook up a laptop with the deployment software.  The software moves the dish from the stowed position, points it to the satellite and sets up communications with the satellite network operation center.  You can literally be on the internet and DirecTV (satellite based TV) in just a few minutes after arriving in a campground.  The download speed is high speed with connection speeds of 400 kilobits to 1.4 megabits!  Upload is slower, but still more than three times dial-up.  The system is called the DataStorm from MotoSat.  When the satellite controller is on, the dish is illuminated at night with a futuristic blue light, a smart marketing ploy.  

After a very long day we fired up the satellite TV with the RV in the front street.  The kids immediately found the Disney channel, a luxury since we have never had anything but 5 or 6 fuzzy broadcast stations.  After this adventure, I sure there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when we go back to the old way, but it really has been good to not have 3000 stations to zone out in front of.  We rarely watch any TV at home since the reception is so poor and I don’t think that is all bad…