Sunday, August 20, 2006

Thank You, Mr. Edison

Location: Livingston, MT

In our travels, we face a difficulty that the pioneers didn't have to worry about: powering and charging our various electrical and electronic gadgets and gizmos.

To begin with, there are two coolers: a small one in between the front seats (which we use for water, juice, and Cokes) and a large one that serves as our refrigerator, filled with things like eggs, cheese, fruit, and butter. Both coolers run off Eurovan's electrical system; at night we disconnect the little cooler and bring the big one inside, where it can also plug into a wall outlet.

Then there's the camera. We're running it off of rechargeable AA batteries; we recharge them when necessary from a motel wall outlet.

The iPod, which is essential for tunes, runs off an internal rechargeable battery. So does the iBook, our link to the Internet. We plug each of these in at night.

Cell phones: one for each of us, and both need to be recharged each night. (Interesting note: we've been in areas with only analog coverage --- this seems to drain the batteries more than digital coverage, even if we're not using the phone. And, of course, there have been areas of no coverage; we don't know how that affects the batteries.)

PDAs: Thomas's Visor uses rechargeable AA batteries, and usually runs for a few weeks on a charge. Don's Zire, which has a built-in rechargeable battery, is more power-hungry: it's happiest when recharged each night.

Finally, the electric frypan needs to be plugged into a wall outlet when in use.

When we stop for the night, it's not unusual for us to have six or seven devices plugged in, operating or recharging. We carry a couple of extension cords, and so far motels have had enough outlets for us (although not always in convenient locations, and once or twice we've had to unplug a lamp or clock radio.)

I wonder how the pioneers managed?


Anonymous said...

WOW, that's a lot of electric you guys seem to think you need, he he he. My guess about the no coverage areas is that it uses a lot of power trying to search, unless your phone has a built in feature to shut itself off if there's no signal for 5 minutes. Antways, if you're driving, just turn the phones off and enough the drive. I am curious to know how close you came to my neck of the woods. I live about 25 miles east of the North Dakota boarder and about 20 miles north east of the South Dakota Border. I can't wait to see your photos of using the Bad Lands as a Star Wars background.

Orki / Carl

betsy said...

Thank you Mr. Edison! I agree.

I am sitting here under the rotating ceiling fan that is spreading cool air from this process of pulling up and fanning downward. Having a guy that knows which wire to cut to make it all work is nice but Science is great!

I have a question though, have you found any distinct accents to speak of? The Wisconsin accent or the Montana cowboy drawl?

Meerkat Meade said...

Acdcents: Oh, yes, the Minnesota accent was widespread; it stared in Wisconsin and got more pronounced the further we went into Minnesota.

We heard traces of the cowboy drawl, but not anywhere near as much as the Minnesota accent.