Our guests this week are Chris Dunphy and Cherie ve Ard from the Mobile Internet Resource Center, which is the best source I know of unbiased mobile internet information for US based RVers and digital nomads who must have reliable Internet connections while on the road, whether for business, to keep in touch with friends and family or to stream they favorite movies.
Chris and Cherie will join us in our interview of the week segment coming up in just a few minutes.
Show Notes for Episode #244 May 29.1019 of The RV Podcast:
WHAT MIKE AND JENNIFER ARE UP TO THIS WEEK
We hope you all have recovered from Memorial Day, which always marks the unofficial start of summer. The reports we have seen indicated lots of people were out there in their RVs. Most of the popular camping locations, state parks and commercial campgrounds were filled. I know the weather was iffy across much of North America during the weekend but, hey even a bad day camping is better than most good days anywhere else.
At least that’s what we tell ourselves. We’ve spent the past week working feverishly on a bunch of videos, the first of which will be coming out tomorrow, Thursday May 30, on our RV Lifestyle Channel on You Tube. It’s about the redundant Internet systems we have installed in our RV. You’ll get a bit of an idea what we have when you listen to our experts on the interview of the week coming up but Mike will be detailing the installation and configuration of the systems we will be using in our RV this summer as well as before and after tests on how they improve connectivity.
We set off on the first leg of our extended travel for the season next week that will have us traveling through Ontario, Quebec and down into New York State and the Adirondack Mountains for the next several weeks and I’m excited to see how our upgraded electrical system modifications will perform as we do a lot of boondocking. We replaced the lead acid batteries on our RV with two Battleborn lithium batteries, an upgraded 2,000 watt inverter, a new solar controller and a bluetooth system that gives me total control over everything from a tablet or my smartphone. I know many of you have been asking about that and we should have a video ready to go on that next week so stay tuned.
RV LIFESTYLE NEWS OF THE WEEK
Social media making some secret spots major tourist sites, providing new challenges for the parks service
Boise State Public Radio had an interesting piece last week on the “Instagram Effect” on national and public owned land. As certain spots, such as Utah's Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park or Arizona's Horseshoe Bend have gone viral on social media, suddenly places just a few locals knew about are transformed into places where literally thousands arrive each day. These throngs are completely changing the feel of a location, and the article was an interesting look at how the parks service is trying to respond.
Report shows national parks visitors contributed $40.1 billion to economy
Speaking of national parks, the 2018 National Park Visitor Spending Effects study was recently released, showing the national sparks contributed $40.1 billion to the economy last year, supporting 329,000 jobs. The report analyzes spending on such things as lodging, restaurants, grocery store sales in towns near the national parks. It looks to me like a good report to use to get Congress to continue to invest in maintaining the country's national treasures.
Many Oklahoma campgrounds closed because of flooding
If you're planning to head to Oklahoma any time soon to camp, be sure to check whether your campground is open. Heavy rains in the area and bad storms has caused several popular stops to close. This is a trend we've seen in other states, ranging from Kansas to Minnesota this spring. Bottom line: Besure to check ahead.
Heading to an Arizona state park? Pick up a free can of water
Those deciding to visit one of the 32 Arizona state parks this year may be handed a can of …. (no not beer) … but water! The Arizona State Parks & Trails has teamed up with Four Peaks Brewing to give out cans of water to those visiting to help raise awareness and prevent heat injuries or even deaths which often happen when outdoor enthusiasts don't bring enough water. The free water is in cans because aluminum is much more recyclable then plastic bottles.
Police are searching for owner of dogs who jumped out of stolen RV, and followed thief after she crashed it
Did you hear about the crazy police chase last week in LA involving a stolen RV and apparently stolen dogs? A 52-year-old woman apparently stole an RV, police chased her, and inside were two terrified dogs, one of which jumped out the window during the chase – all on live TV- and the other which apparently obediently followed the woman who got out of the RV and ran before police caught her. The whole incident was horrible, with at least one person seriously injured, but what really got people talking was the terrified dogs, both of which were apparently were stolen, too.
This part of the podcast is brought to you by RadPower Bikes,an electric bike manufacturer offering direct to consumer pricing on powerful premium electric bikes. Now with free shipping
LISTENER QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
From “Avid Reader”: Do you know of a service that carries RVs on a barge down the Mississippi River? Or any other way to do this inexpensively. We would enjoy a riverboat cruise, but the cost is prohibitive.
– There were two companies that did this 15 years ago , even with full hooks for the RV, but best as we can tell, they have discontinued service and gone out of business.
RV INTERVIEW OF THE WEEK
Our guests this week on the podcast are Chris Dunphy and Cherie ve Ard.
Together they are the brains behind the Mobile Internet Resource Center, which is the best source I know of unbiased mobile internet information for US based RVers and digital nomads who must have reliable Internet connections while on the road, whether for business, to keep in touch with friends and family or to stream they favorite movies.
Together they have been on the road and on the water for more than a decade, running their businesses from RVs and boats on the Internet and in the process becoming experts on mobile internet and connectivity.
We’ll have a link to all their resources in the shownotes, as well as a full transcript and a video of the interview.
But they have a lot to teach us about staying connected online, whether for convenience or necessity and in this interview, I think you’ll find some new ideas and learn a lot.
Here's a video version of the interview:
Here’s a transcript of the interview with Chris and Cherie:
Mike: Well, joining us now from their boat just off Brunswick, Georgia is Chris and Cherie. You guys, thank you so much for being with us and it's good to have you back.
Chris: Yeah, it's been a while. It's always a pleasure.
Mike: So, let's start with some of the changes that have probably happened in the connectivity world that effect RV'ers and I guess boaters too. But particularly RV'ers, that's majorly our audience. They all want to know, what's the best solution for them and of course, we all know that it depends on what your circumstances are. But walk us through what RV'ers need to consider as they look at maybe upgrading the way they stay connected to the internet while they are on the road.
Cherie: Well, the first thing you have to do and absolutely understand is that what works best is what works best at your current location. That's a variable for us RV'ers. We're always moving our locations. Our houses have wheels. So, what works today while you're in one location, may not be the best choice when you get to your next location. So, if mobile internet is important to you, we think it's very important to have multiple options on board.
Cherie: So, a lot of us are relying on cellular these days. So having data plans on AT&T and Verizon tend to be the top two carriers that give us the most nationwide coverage.
Chris: And sometimes wifi has got a bad rap, and sometimes it really is well earned, but other times wifi is worthwhile and it might be useful to have here to take advantage of a wifi network you come across. If you are going out into really extreme locations, there's also a place for satellite. So those are kind of the three major avenues to go down and pursue depending on what your exact needs are.
Mike: Well, let's take all three of those and start off with talking about cellular. And, everybody's got a cell phone. Do you recommend that they, that people carry more than 2 phones or from different networks?
Cherie: Well, the first thing they have to consider is a smartphone the right choice for a mobile internet connection. If your needs are very simple, maybe you're traveling solo, or you're just needing to check email and do some surfing, then a smartphone is great. But if you're working remotely, you're doing a lot of things that require a dedicated data connection, then you probably want to be looking at a dedicated data solution. So, either a jet pack or mifi with is a term for a local hotspot. Having a dedicated hotspot device or a cellular embedded router is going to serve you better, so that you can focus on the cellular data.
Chris: And then when you talk about the alternatives of whether you should carry more than one carrier, the way we look at it is, if you're jumping out of an airplane, do you want to have a reserve parachute, and if you're working online, if you're really dependent on being connected, having that second carrier, even if it's just a backup plan, can make all the difference in the world. For some people it makes the difference between potentially not being able to work, getting fired or being able to maybe miss out on something that's very important for them online.
Chris: But other people, Internet's not so critical. So, if they have a bad connection, if they're in a bad Verizon zone, they can deal with it for a couple days as opposed to pull the ripcord and switch to AT&T.
Mike: Is there, let's get your recommendation for the most reliable of all those networks. And I know they all go back and forth. But, we all have our favorites and in your experience as you've traveled, does any one network particularly stand out, or are they pretty much a toss up?
Cherie: It really depends upon your location. It depends on the data plan that you have. The carriers are constantly changing the offerings that they have for data. So, you really have to look at where are you planning to travel, and how important is mobile internet for you. We tend, personally we choose to have both both AT&T and Verizon and …
Chris: We switch between them all.
Cherie: I would say it's about a 50/50 toss up on which one we choose at any particular location, based upon speed and just the signal and quality connection you get.
Chris: In particular, because Verizon has such a reputation in the RV'ing world as being, oh, the one to get and it was earned in the past because they were the first one to have such a big, broad, LT coverage map. But in a lot of RV'ing hot spots, particularly in the season, the Verizon towers are so overwhelmed that switching to AT&T or in particular to one of the lesser carriers, like T-Mobile, it's like getting out of the traffic jam and suddenly you're blazing ahead, past all other people who are stuck in that Verizon crowd.
Mike: Now, that begs the question. T-Mobile, and Sprint, supposedly going to merge. I think they've cleared a couple of the roadblocks. That makes a potential third one that might not be a bad one.
Cherie: Correct. If the merger is approved, and as of today it has gotten the nod of approval from the FCC and now they're going through the Department of Justice Anti-trust … Those are the next hurdles to go through. We could be seeing that merger be approved sometime in June or July. If that goes through, that is going to provide a, T-Mobile and Sprint's combined power, their holdings, their frequencies and spectrum, gives them a huge advantage.
Chris: It'll be three giants, instead of two giants and two …
Chris: Two secondaries. So.
Mike: And that's makes for competition, which makes really for better service and for better pricing. Doesn't it?
Cherie: Absolutely and for us travelers who are going to more remote locations, so, right now T-Mobile and Sprint, their individual holdings are so much more focused in very populated areas. They're going to have spectrum holdings that allow them to get out into the more rural and back country areas, which will be very important.
Mike: Yeah, with say somebody that says, “Well, you know what? I'm going to add Verizon with my AT&T.” Or, add AT&T with my Verizon account. Do they need to get then a separate data card for that, if they're going to go with the jet pack or a mifi, or will that mifi/jet pack work with both carriers?
Cherie: So most jet packs or mobile hot spot devices are optimized for each carrier. So, a Verizon jet pack, it really only picks up the frequency bands that Verizon uses and there's some crossover with AT&T but you're going to be missing out on AT&T's key frequency bands. So, we don't generally recommend it. If you want one device to rule them all, then you want to go with a non-carrier branded, cellular embedded router, like a Cradlepoint or a Mofi, or a Pepwave.
Chris: A Pepwave, yeah.
Mike: And where do you find those?
Chris: They're more typically sold to business customers and to like fleets of like putting them inside police cars and ambulances and stuff. So you have to kind of … You're not going to walk into a Verizon store and get this. You're going to have to do your homework, and we've got them reviewed and linked to where you can buy them and stuff. But, you can get them on Amazon. You can get them from places like 5D Store, but you have to know what you're doing. They're not really consumer focused products.
Mike: Well you guys, and we will put links in to your great sites, all your resources. We'll put that in the show notes as well. So, all right, so we're going to, let's just say the average RV'er who really does depend on connectivity now, more than ever. If you don't, again, if you don't do much, just use your hotspot. But, so you've got AT&T, you've got Verizon, what about the data plan? Many of us have been really stung, me in particular with Verizon and their quote unlimited plan, which suddenly finds me after I do one livestream on a Sunday night, being throttled or having it held back or put in the, you know, I don't know how to explain it. But I guess you can do that better than me.
Mike: What happens when you reach that limit and they quote, throttle you on your unlimited plan? That isn't so unlimited after all.
Cherie: Right. So we are constantly tracking the best data plans for RV'ers to use as basically what we call a home internet replacement. And those are data plans that provide a lot of high speed data. And unfortunately, Verizon's best option just retired this past Tuesday.
Chris: So, everyone who's hearing this has missed out. We tried to get the word out unto every outlet we knew about, with newsletters and alerts and stuff.
Cherie: But to include in your show notes, put a link to MobileInternetInfo.com/planpicks. These things change sometimes on a weekly basis, so I'm even afraid to mention specific plans right now, because even if you're broadcasting this today, it could change by the time we get off this call. But we're constantly updating that guide and we have our top pick data plans for each of the four carriers listed there.
Mike: I …
Chris: And then …
Mike: Yeah, go ahead. I was just going to say, I'm going out to get an AT&T set up after this interview. So, I will look at theirs as well. I'm looking for the best prices.
Cherie: Yeah, for AT&T right now, the best data plan direct from them is going with their Home Base unit which is designed for home internet and they have a 100 gigabyte plan for $100 a month and they have had that steady for the last year.
Chris: Yes, but if you are kind of going …
Mike: Can you put that in an RV though? It's a home plan.
Cherie: Oh yeah, it is a portable. It is on their cellular plans. It's not their fixed home base. They do certify it for mobility.
Chris: On on the other hand, the To Go branded version of that, the To Go Roadlink is available with an AT&T plan that is $360 for an entire year of unlimited data with no data caps on that. So, that's …
Cherie: A great option.
Chris: You have to get the device. You have to get this big dish on your roof. This big dome on your roof, but it comes with an incredible deal on an AT&T data plan.
Mike: All right, so, we've kind of walked through that. Now, let's go to, we've got the data plan, we've got the carrier, we got the jet pack. But we sometimes are in areas where those cell signals are pretty miserable. And that's where a cell booster comes in. What are the ins and outs we need to know about that?
Cherie: So, cellular boosters are an okay option. When you're really remote from a tower, they can be what actually gets you connected. But a core technology of LTE, which is what the cellular carriers are currently using, is a concept called MIMO, which stands for multiple in, multiple out and that just basically means that our cellular devices, your smartphone, your jet pack, your routers, they have at least two antennas inside of them, so that they can hear. It's kind of like us having two ears.
Chris: And when you use a booster, it's like plugging an ear and putting a megaphone in one. There is actually a lot of situations where a booster will slow you down. We're always trying to give people kind of a booster reality check of, don't use your booster all the time. Use it only when you really need it, and you probably don't need it nearly as often as you think. It's actually hurting your performance in a lot of cases.
Cherie: And 80% of the time, we find in our extensive testing, we do head to head testing with boosters and antenna setups, is having a MIMO antenna, or two antennas plugged directly into your cellular device will out perform a booster.
Chris: And yeah, it's often a lot more affordable to have an antenna. There's one of our favorites is the Netgear MIMO antenna which is about $30 and it'll plug into most mobile hotspots, and you just suction cup that into a window and it is a wonderful, wonderful performer.
Mike: And this again, we can send everybody to all your research online and they can …
Cherie: Absolutely. I have a direct link to the Netgear MIMO antenna, Mobileinternetinfo.com/netgear-mimo.
Mike: And while we're talking about cell phone boosters, the other thing about them that people, evidently in smaller RVs, Class C's or Class B's, B pluses even, is that thing called self-oscillation and antennas that have to be the outside and the inside have to be so far apart, or the amplifier and the antenna. Help us understand that in non-geek speak. What's involved with that?
Cherie: Okay, so have you ever been to a conference or somewhere where someone is speaking with a microphone and they walk with their microphone in front of the speaker and you get that squealing sound?
Mike: There you go. Yup.
Cherie: Okay? That is the same thing that is happening with …
Chris: The radio waves.
Cherie: The radio waves. We don't hear them, but our devices do. Basically, if you're placing your exterior antenna, too close to your interior antenna, that exterior antenna is picking up the signal from the inside antenna instead of from the tower.
Chris: And you get a feedback loop.
Cherie: And it's that same feedback loop that we hear when we have a microphone in front of a speaker.
Mike: And therefore, it has pretty much eliminated any benefit at all that you would have gotten from the boost.
Cherie: Right, most modern cellular boosters are designed to automatically either power down so that they don't go into that oscillation mode.
Chris: Or they'll shut themselves off entirely.
Mike: And now, I know you guys are going to be checking it, and we are as well, this newer company, this Solid RF which claims that they have set up one that eliminates that problem. If you mount it directly underneath the outside antenna. Mount the inside antenna directly underneath the outside antenna.
Chris: Yeah, there are ways to design boosters where, and antennas where you can basically have the inside and outside antennas pointing away from each other. You can do that manually when you're setting up any booster. But yeah, some boosters designs kind of take that more into account. Solid RF is doing some interesting stuff where they're actually putting the electronics for the booster, the amplification electronic up on the roof. So, we will be getting that and testing that very soon.
Mike: I, same thing and I'm just trying to figure out how to route it all in without drilling holes and it gets harder.
Cherie: That's always a challenge anytime you're running antennas or routers and things like that, is all those holes and we recommend, instead of thinking about just installing one device, is instead think about creating a conduit from your roof into your technology area inside your RV. That way you can easily pull wires in the future.
Chris: Change things.
Cherie: So you're only doing it once, and it makes it a lot easier to change things out as technology evolves.
Mike: Great. Well, let me before we move on, we're talking about cell. Let me just see if I've got the bottom line here. One AT&T and Verizon are close to being equal in terms of efficiency and coverage areas. It's good to have both of them if you can. Right?
Cherie: Mm-hmm (affirmative)
Mike: That's bottom line one. Number two, is a cell phone booster is good in extreme remote places, or places where you're having a very minimal signal, but turn it off when you don't need it.
Cherie: Always test with and without, to make sure it's actually giving you a benefit.
Mike: All right. And stay tuned because there might be even another player with Sprint and T-Mobile merging.
Mike: So cellular wifi, or cellular connections is one. Now, let's go to wifi.
Mike: Wifi as you said, has notoriously Chris, been just a mess in terms of campground usage. Is that getting better or are there things we can do to make it better?
Cherie: Well, if the campground's wifi is not good, there's nothing you can do to make it better. So, what we recommend doing is take your smartphone, take your laptop, connect to that access point, right next to it.
Chris: Walk up to the front office, yeah.
Cherie: If you're getting a good connection there, then you might be able to get a better connection back at your RV if you have wifi extending equipment.
Chris: We always see people who spend a lot of money on wifi extending gear, they're all upset that it's not doing a great job and we tell them, well is it good up in the office? And they're like, “No, it's horrible up there.” It's like, you can't make a miracle here. It's bad up front, it's bad where your rig is. But, if there is good signal up front, there is gear that will help you bring that basically, you get an antenna up high and bring it in over the roof of all the RVs around you, and that can make a pretty big difference.
Mike: And are you seeing campgrounds, are they improving the infrastructure behind their wifi systems at all?
Chris: Some …
Cherie: We are getting more and more reports of campgrounds getting better. More campground managers are really listening to their customers, that they want reliable wifi. That the RV'er has changed. When we get to our RV sites, we want to be able to do video calls with our friends and family. We want to be able to stream Netflix and things like that.
Cherie: So, we're not getting as many complaints about it, but if you rely on mobile internet, we recommend considering it a nice when it works, not a, something that you use as your default.
Chris: You can't count on it.
Mike: Yeah, that's for sure. Now, what about, you mentioned wifi boosters. There are a number of products out that proport to do that. How … Are they more effective? They're only effective is there's a good wifi network in the first place. We got that part.
Mike: But, are there any cautions or tips that you'd give us in thinking about a wifi booster?
Cherie: So, look for one that supports both 2.4 and 5 gigahertz, be able to pick up both. Because a lot of the ones that are out on the market only support 2.4 gigahertz, which is long range, and that's great. But, those are where you get a lot of saturation in your channel. So, a lot of noise basically happening and then that actually can decrease your performance.
Chris: Right. And we're actually seeing the campgrounds that are investing in putting in good wifi, are putting in basically dual band networks with 2.4 and 5 gigahertz and the 5 gigahertz is the express lane and nobody else is using it. So, the 5 gigahertz wifi, when we run across it, works so much better and most of the outside wifi gear does not support it yet. So, you've got to kind of hunt to find stuff that'll do it.
Mike: How about using free wifi like at a Starbucks or some rest areas. Does that help at all? You can park a block away maybe at a Starbucks and be able to …
Cherie: You might be able to if you have the access codes. I mean, a lot of those networks, the companies are putting them behind password protection because so many people are using it without being a customer of that company.
Chris: Or they'll …
Cherie: So yeah, if you have access to it, yeah, you can do that.
Chris: Or they're putting in limits where they'll only let you use it for a half an hour. They'll detect your device and stuff like that. Just things to kind of keep people from parking far away. And also the thing we've discovered is almost all of those places where you'd be parking and trying to get free wifi from a block away, you probably have really good cellular in most of those places anyway and your cellular connection is likely going to be faster and simpler and easier.
Mike: There are devices now also on the market, we see the Winegard Connect 2 for example, which is this bubble that mounts on the roof and in it is a wifi booster and a cellular antenna. But not a booster. Talk about hybrid things like that.
Cherie: So yeah, that device has … supports, it's got the wifi extending and it's got three antennas so that it can listen to more distant wifi and that one actually works really well. Not only does the Connect 2, their LTE version, they have a wifi only version and an LTE version. The LTE version also has a cellular modem with two of those MIMO antennas that we were talking about earlier, integrated right into it.
Cherie: So, it's all on the roof. There's no opportunity to signal loss coming between the antennas and the modem, which is a great thing. But the modem that's inside of the Connect 2 is a little on the old side.
Chris: Yeah, we actually really like that concept for the future, is putting all the electronics up on the roof where they can get the best possible signals and you're not losing any of the signal to the cables coming inside. So, it's the right direction. I would love to see where they Connect 3 and Connect 4 end up when they kind of catch up with where cellular technology is. But the concept is great.
Mike: So, the Connect 2 is not a booster, but it has that multiple antennas in it, right?
Mike: And it's up higher.
Cherie: It's got two cellular antennas.
Mike: So, would it be comparable then or a substitute …Would you still need a booster if you had that?
Cherie: Not really, because if you use a booster with that sort of set up, you would have to have the booster's interior antenna on the roof.
Cherie: Because the modem on that device is also on the roof, and that's what would actually be receiving the better signal.
Mike: Now, I know one of the things that that Connect 2, which, and I'm getting a lot of email from people about that, is that you can replace it with your own SIM card, because it's kind of on, they want you to use theirs. But you've got to climb up on the roof to do that. But is there a sim card for example in a data mifi that you could take out and put in that? Would that, does that work?
Cherie: Correct. If your carrier allows what we can SIM swapping, and most carriers do, you can put the SIM card into the Connect 2 as well.
Chris: Yeah, like the really amazing Verizon plan that just went away, a lot of people were getting that plan and putting it up in their Connect 2 to get unlimited Verizon data. But, can't get that anymore.
Mike: No more. They changed that. All right, so we've kind of gone through boosters. We've kind of gone through cellular. We've talked about wifi. Last area, and we only have a couple minutes here for this is, how far have we advanced in internet satellite technology and is that something?
Cherie: Last night was a huge night.
Chris: So, Space X just launched the first 60 satellites of their Starlink constellation which is going to bring global broadband with only requiring an antenna the size of a medium pizza box that you can stick onto anything. But 60 satellites, that's a lot of satellites. But it's going to take them 13 total launches of 60 satellites each before they are able to cover the US.
Cherie: So if you want satellite today, if you're really going out in the boonies, away from cell signals and wifi signals, Hughesnet Gen 5 is the current best option. You can get speeds, they advertise 15MB per second down, which is incredible for satellite. You do still have the high latency and you have large equipment you have to purchase. But if you go through a vendor that is authorized to provision for mobility, you can get trained up to actually set up the satellite dish at each location. You can't go direct with Hughes and get that provisioning though.
Mike: All right. So, satellites, close. We'll just say that.
Chris: Couple years.
Mike: For the average person.
Cherie: Couple, couple years off before the slow words stuff. Because we also have Amazon and One Web that are competing in that space too.
Mike: Well, Chris and Cherie, you guys have been awesome. Mobile Internet Resource Center is where you put almost all of this information. You keep us up to date on these constantly changing plans. Your blog, Technomedia, and I just want to ask you to give people your addresses online and also tell us a little bit about how you guys use all this stuff. I mentioned it in the opening, but let's talk about the boats and the different RVs and what you're using now.
Cherie: So, we hit the road in 2006 in a small travel trailer and then over the years, we have grown a nomadic fleet. We current split our time.
Chris: So we have a vintage bus, a 1961 vintage bus that we have converted and geeked out with solar power and lithium and everything. That is kind of our desert home. And then, now we've got a Bayliner 47-88 motor yacht that is our water home.
Cherie: And then we just purchased a 2016 Winnebago Travato, that will be our daily driver from both of those vessels. And also what we use to get back and forth between them.
Chris: Across the country.
Cherie: Because they'll be across country, so we now have a little fleet of nomadic vessels.
Chris: No home base, and no home base for 13 years now.
Mike: Oh, that's great. And you're thriving the whole way. All right, give everybody your email addresses and I'll put them in the link as well.
Chris: The web addresses?
Cherie: So, you can find us online at Technomadia.com. We have a YouTube channel as well, Facebook and Instagram. We also will be featured in the upcoming PBS TV series, The RV'ers, coming out this fall.
Chris: Then …
Cherie: Then for the mobile internet stuff, that's our day job.
Chris: Yeah, all that other stuff is the fun stuff and our personal travels. And then our work, our full time job is tracking all these internet options and we created the Mobile Internet Resource Center which is a member funded, but there's a huge amount of free content there and that's at Mobileinternetinfo.com or also at Rvmobileinternet.com, whichever name you remember.
Mike: And I want to just put a plug in for that. I'm a member of that and I can attest that I can sound like I really know what I'm talking about, but only because I have read these guys. We'll send everybody there.
Mike: Well, Chris and Cherie, you guys are always awesome and we'll have to have you on even more. Enjoy the travels. Have a great summer season and we'll see you online and out there on the road.
Chris: That's great.
Cherie: It's great to catch up again with you Mike, thanks.
The interview of the week is brought to you by SunshinestateRVs.com, where every new motorhome is delivered to the customer free, anywhere in the country
OFF THE BEATEN PATH REPORT
By Tom & Patti Burkett
We stopped mid morning for coffee with friends in Louisville. Eyes lit up when we mentioned our lunch destination. “Gosh,” said Susan, “I haven't had a good plate of mutton in way too long. Are you going to the Old Hickory?” And that's the question. When you chat with someone in Owensboro, Kentucky, or with anyone who's a regular visitor, they want to know where you get your barbecue. Do you eat at the Old Hickory or the Moonlite? We chose the latter, simply because Tom wanted a picture of Kentucky's largest burgoo pot.
“We must be getting close,” Patti said, as the smell of barbecue smoke wafted in through the window, and soon enough we were in the parking lot. The place itself reminded us of a Wisconsin supper club, all old wood and family tables. We started with a satisfying trip to the burgoo kettle and were not disappointed. Somewhere between a soup and a stew, it's traditionally made with at least three meats and the usual cast of vegetables including, often, okra. It's rich and spicy and ladled into bowls next to a slab of cornbread. Some towns have chili cook offs. Some host pancake breakfasts. Others offer a sausage boil or a ten foot apple pie. In Kentucky, when it's community fundraiser time, you can expect a big pot of burgoo, hence the giant pot out front.
A wide selection of tasty side dishes lined the buffet, but the meat took center stage. Sliced and chopped mutton, pulled pork, chicken, and ribs all sat in a steaming row. The mutton is a local specialty, not served in many other places, and despite our initial reluctance, we both found it quite tasty and went back for a second helping. The extensive salad bar was well-stocked and fresh, and on it we discovered banana salad, made from a family recipe. Rather than giving a less than accurate description, we encourage you to look it up. It was excellent!
When you walk into the Moonlite, your first look is at a carry-out counter that has all the items on the menu and a few meats that aren’t. You could just as easily stock your fridge for later in the day and keep on rolling if you don’t want to spend an hour or two making multiple trips to the buffet. Come to this of it, that might be the better choice.
When you’re in the vicinity of Owensboro, there are some other things to do. About thirty minutes north is the Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial. It was here that Abe grew to young manhood, guided first by his mother Nancy, then, after her death, by his stepmother Sarah. Both encouraged him to study and cultivated his talents and inquisitive nature. His father Thomas was a strong influence as well, being a man known for his honesty and kindness. The farm is a living history museum, staffed with interpreters in period garb working the farm as it would have been done in the early 1800s. A nearby memorial houses a museum and a short film.
One more thing to look for out here is the small town of Santa Claus, Indiana. This place takes its job seriously. Thousands of letters arrive here every year, addressed to the jolly fat man. A crew of
local residents insures each one gets a reply. As you might expect, you can shop for seasonal goodies and, if you have a mighty yen for the holiday spirit in midsummer, take in the Christmas themed amusement park and water slides, play a round of golf at Christmas Lake, or mount a steed, maybe even a reindeer, at Santa’s Stables.
You needn’t travel far to find something unusual, delicious, or moving. It’s all just down that road you haven’t driven yet, and lots of it. We’re Patti and Tom Burkett, and we’ll look for you out here, in the buffet line or hoein’ corn at the Lincoln Farm, just a bit off the beaten path.
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