A Few Random Musings & Updates

Playing around with my new software. Polly by Washoe Lake
Playing around with my new HDR software. A stylized shot of Polly by Washoe Lake

My last post was a blast & clearly resonated with many of you. There’s no doubt those of us who have the travel bug generally enjoy the RV lifestyle and that clearly includes many of you! Not everyone adapts to it (and I’ve written a little about that) but those we’ve met that have made it past a year typically end up loving it. I’ve been fortunate in that I’ve had this bug all my life and been able to express it by living in different countries, immersing myself in different cultures and exploring the world. Our time RVing is very simply an extension of this wonderlust….and a pretty darn neat one at that. There’s no other form of travel I’ve found so stimulating, and so comfortable (“the beast” is pure luxury, baby!).

Will we always RV? Very likely not. Both Paul and I enjoy changes in life. Since we met we’ve lived in Europe and Asia, backpacked, hiked and RV’d in several countries. The RV lifestyle is one of the most “fitting” things we’ve ever done since it combines so many of the things we both love, but one day we’ll feel the itch to do something else. I have no idea where we’ll go from here, but I have no fear of our next step. Only the deep thankfulness that we’ve taken advantage of all the paths we’ve been given so far. Don’t worry though, we’re not talking about getting off the road anytime soon. These are just musings left over from the comments and thoughts of the last post. Thanks so much to those who shared their insights!

Getting back to the present world, hubby has flown off for a few days to attend a bachelor party while the paws and I hang in lovely Washoe Lake. I thought this would be as good a time as any to post a few random (and hopefully interesting) updates for you. Here ya go:

We’re Done With Panel Tilting (for now)

Our boondocking spot in dusty Rachel, NV
See ma…no tilts!

Those of you with a good eye will notice “the beast” no longer has tilted solar panels despite the fact that we haven’t had electric hookups since March. It’s gotten to the time of year where the sun is now high enough in the sky that tilting doesn’t make much difference to our input anymore. We generally tilt from around beginning October through end March. After that we usually let it be. Those of you interested in this kind of thing can play around with the sun models in this post and see for yourself. It’s just a fun little curio that I thought some might be interested in.

Related Post:

Millenicom Increased Their Price (but it’s still the best deal out there)

Gee...I wonder who's network I'm on?
We still love our Millenicom MiFi

We switched to Millenicom for our internet in 2012 and have been extremely happy with their service ever since (you can read about why we switched HERE). However just this month their price increased from $69.99 to $89.99. Ouch! Despite the ramp I still consider it the very best deal out there for users of larger quantities of data. 20Gb running on the Verizon network for $90 is still a bargain and none of the other suppliers offer a comparative level of cross-country coverage for that price, even with their shared plans. This post from Technomadia does a great job of explaining some of the costs & changes in more detail. Bottom line is that we’re sticking with Millenicom for our internet and Straight Talk (who we’ve also been very happy with) for our cellphone. The combo keeps working well for us.

Related Posts:

I’m Playing Around With Pinterest (and hubby is playing with Instagram)

ig-logo pinterest_badge_redI have very limited (personal) patience for social media outlets, so it takes a lot to get me moving on anything new. Pinterest is hardly “new”, but I’m playing around with it. So far, the absolute best feature I’ve found is the pin-mapping option which just seems so well-suited for RV travel. I’ve created a mapped board for the Washington coast to help plan our travels/visits there this summer and am pinning a few other things I find interesting too. I must admit it’s pretty neat. I’m still unsure how far I’ll go with this site, but you’re welcome to check out my Washington board and link-up. Hubby, who is much more of an “early adopter” than I am is also playing around with Instagram with the bonus that we now have a lot more pics of me than ever before (not sure how I feel about that LOL). If you’re on that medium you’re welcome to check him out too.

 There’s A Cool New APP For Public Lands

Screen shot of Public Lands on iPad
Screen shot of Public Lands on iPad

For those of you who enjoy boondocking you’ll know that it takes time & patience to find legal places you can go. I use a combination of word-of-mouth, maps, ranger information, forums and scouting to find most of our spots. Half the battle is just finding out where those public land boundaries are. We have several of the Benchmark Maps which are perfect for this (and we love them), but there is now also a sweet new app called Public Lands (available for both Android & iOS) which adds to our arsenal. The cool thing about this is that it allows you to see public land boundaries cross-country, overlaid with satellite. This means you can now “follow” a road on satellite and see exactly where it crosses into public land, plus you can then zoom & browse around the public land looking for potential campsite clearings. I love it and for only $2.99 I think it’s a deal. No affiliation by the way.

Related Posts:

One last Nevada sunset
One last Nevada sunset

We’ve also made a purchase from our “Big 5 Wishlist” that I wrote at the end of last year, but that announcement must wait for a little while. We’re in deep testing phase & will do a full review soon.

That about wraps up the random updates and, appropriately enough, also our time in Nevada. We’ve only got a few more days left here at Washoe so next time you hear from me we’ll likely be in a new state. At least those are the current “jello” plans. See you there!

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We LOooVE Comments, So Please Do

  1. says

    Just wanted to say we had a great time visiting with you. Thanks for your patience in answering all our noob questions. Too bad we missed Paul. Hope we have the opportunity to cross paths again.

    • libertatemamo says

      It was fabulous to meet with you too! Hope to make it through the Smith Valley and take you up on that fly-fishing offer sometime. We’ll see ya down the road!


  2. Ralph says

    My DW and I recently stopped at one of your favorite places…Antelope Island,UT. We were returning to SW Washington from Texas(by car) and spent a 1/2 day there. WOW!! What a wonderful place! Saw over 200 bison, a few deer and antelope. Drove down to where you had camped at. Sites were about 50% occupied.

    I can see why you enjoy it. Weather was also perfect..blue skies..lake was like glass. We didn’t want to leave!! Thanks for the “heads up” about this wonderful spot. We will return. Take care.

    • libertatemamo says

      Sweet! It was a total find for us last year, even with the gnats. So glad you got to see it and enjoy the area!


  3. says

    I think I am just like you, a late adopter. Besides its pretty challenging to keep up with all the latest technology when I am still learning with what I have.
    Our phones are still the “unsmart” ones but we have jumped into the iPad bandwagon. I am still learning and navigating through the many apps I downloaded…and Im slowly catching up!

    • libertatemamo says

      You’re just now upgrading to a smartphone LOL. Ok, you take the cake for late adoption. I’m sure you’re gonna love the iphone. Nifty gadget and it actually takes very decent pictures too. We may get one…eventually.

  4. Rowanova says

    Well, this post deals with boondocking-navigation, and with solar.
    The Wish List hopes for something in each of these two categories.
    Coincidence? Or precursor?
    Looking forward to this upcoming review. :)

  5. says

    Great post Nina–we too are sticking with Millenicom–it was definitely sticker shock in our case, we have one of the older USB type aircards and we were getting 20GB for $59.99!!!–now it’s $90–but like you said, it is still the best deal around. We also have the Proclaim Straight Talk phone and like yours, our battery life stinks. I may give Cherie and Chris’s public lands app a try. Try to stay out of trouble while Paul is gone.

    • libertatemamo says

      The battery life on the Proclaim does suck…can’t deny that. Our Proclaim actually died last month so Straight Talk replaced it with a brand new Samsung Galaxy Centura under warranty. Pretty much exactly the same phone as the Proclaim except the battery life us better. So far so good and I’ve got no complaints.


  6. Debbie says

    For the life of me I cannot find the pin mapping feature on Pinterest. How do I locate it? Way too cool!

    • libertatemamo says

      Once you start a board, click “edit” and there should be an option to “add a map”. Once you turn on that option you can add all your pins from that board to a physical map. It’s a bit quirky to use (I’ve found you have to play around with the address sometimes to get the pin exactly where you want it), but once you have the pin in there, it’s permanently on the map. I see this an an excellent travel aide. Enjoy!


  7. Ilse says

    Hi there,
    I see you have the Dungeness Spit, Purple Haze Farm, and wine tasting on you Washington board. The Sequim Lavender Festival takes place on the third weekend in July, the hike out the Dungeness Spit to the lighthouse is great fun, but fur babies are not allowed. Round trip is about eleven miles. During Lavender Festival weekend there is also a “passport” wine tasting, which includes wineries in Pt. Townsend, Sequim, Pt. Angeles, and cider tasting in Chimmacum. It might even include a winery on Whidbey Island. The best of the wineries are Camaraderie Cellars and Harbinger Winery, both in Pt. Angeles. Harbinger is right on Hwy. 101, the other one is right of the highway nearby.

    • libertatemamo says

      We are going to be there during the Lavender Festival and we are a BEYOND excited about it! Cheers for the info on the hike and the wineries. Our schedule is going to be packed!


  8. Michael says


    Storytellers have always been special people to me. I use to do a lot of backpacking/camping with someone who would read story’s to us at night. My Mom use to do that with my brothers and I when we were growing up. I think that’s what I like so much about your blog, you are a great story teller, regardless of your topic. And that’s what keeps me coming back. Thank you so much for sharing.


    • libertatemamo says

      Thanks so much for the lovely compliment Michael. You’ve actually captured exactly what I’ve always wanted the “essence” of the blog to be…a story! I try to make one out of each blog I write and it’s nice to see that is coming across to readers.


  9. Kathy says

    Great use of the map feature in Pinterest! Thanks for the tip. Anacortes, WA is one of my favorite towns. There seems to be something going on there every weekend. Mt Erie has trails with views, Cap Sante Marina is open to all, Mariner Park has good live music on summer weekends, and there is fresh crab and shrimp in season.

  10. Doug says

    At this time of year, I like to boondock with the 400W panels facing east. At 7am they tilt to catch the morning sun, so that the lithium batteries are usually fully recharged by 10am. Then the rest of the day, all the panel energy (without battery assistance) is redirected to the fridge element to save propane. This generally works til about 2:30 if it stays cloudless. Panels retract around 11 as the sun rolls to the south.

    • libertatemamo says

      What kind of panel tilting mechanism do you have on your rig Doug? Any links/pics? We’re still manual here.

      • Doug says

        It’s a mechanism I designed myself nesting 3″ and 4″ aluminum C-channel and a $60 6-inch linear actuator I got off eBay. Works well with my relatively small 22×49″ 80W panels, one lifter per panel. I will email you a pic.

        • libertatemamo says

          Sweet. When I get the pic I’ll post it on the tilting page. I know many folks who are interested in automated tilting mechanisms.


  11. says

    We are dreading the day we decide to upgrade our phone. We are grandfathered into our present plan with Verizon for $69.99 which is unlimited data. We tether the phone to the computer when there isn’t any WiFi available. I use the phone as my computer most of the time. I’ve just gotten use to it. Having a limit will be something strange. Maybe we will never update our phone!!!

    There are just too many social media sites out there. I don’t have time to keep up. But I do love Pinterest. As I read blogs and see awesome places and hikes, I was struggling with how to keep track. Then our daughter suggested I use Pinterest! What a super idea! I also love Pinning recipes. Sure makes life simple, and I can do it on my phone!

    Hope Paul had a fun time at the bachelor party and you and Polly enjoyed your time together:)

    • libertatemamo says

      That unlimited plan is pretty sweet…hold onto it as long as you can!

      I have to admit I do see the value in Pinterest especially with the mapping feature. I’m also finding interesting recipes there. I’ll have to look you up and add you to my follow list.


  12. Caryl Kirk says

    I’m afraid that Pinterest does have the ability to cause a bit of confusion to a logical mind like mine…and it can be somewhat overwhelming. I did it for a while and was so taken with all the things that I could do that it caused some frustration. I noticed that same feeling when seeing what you had pinned [and, now they have pins within pins…YIKES!!] I WANNA DO IT ALL!! ESPECIALLY the lavendar farms and the balloon festival and the lighthouses and the wine tasting….WELL, NOW YOU UNDERSTAND WHEN I SAY ALL!!! tee hee hee

    • libertatemamo says

      I’ll admit it’s a bit overwhelming even for me which is why I’m still not sure how far I’ll go with the site. It’s easy to lose hours (days?) on there just playing around and exploring and I’ve only got do much time in the day. I must say though it’s been great for our Washington planning. I found a bunch of stuff on there (and got inspired by a bunch more) that I would not otherwise have known about.


  13. says

    “They” say we only regret the things we didn’t do…..how blessed you are (Paul too) that you’ve followed your heart and your feet to live a diverse and fulfilling life. I certainly can’t complain and look forward to life on the road as well. Pinterest was window shopping for a long while but has become a practical location for me to collect information in preparation for full-timing next year – I know you’ll have fun with it :-).

    • libertatemamo says

      Congrats on the upcoming fulltiming! It’s a big adventure and I hope it’s everything you’re dreaming of!


  14. says

    Hi again Nina…..just wanted to drop a line to compliment you on your well written blog, and your recent post about adapting to changes. Looking forward to meeting you and Paul in person this Fall if not before. It’s a toasty 39 degrees at 10:30 am here in Sioux Falls.

  15. Bill & Tina says

    Hello Nina & Paul just started reading your webpage thank you for sharing your events to the world helps people when they are ready to hit the road full time or part time I just seen your most wanted 5 list and you have picked out great items but wanted to let you know about another tank monitoring system I went with and works perfect called tank edge I series so check it out also and you can keep your old tank monitor system as a backup if you wanted to.

    Click here to go to Tank Edge.

  16. Rebekah says

    I subscribed to your blog about two months ago. I subscribe to several RV/travel blogs, but I have to say, the information you guys post is hands down, the most useful for my travels and rig type – no disrespect to any of the other wonderful bloggers out there. I’m going full time at the end of May and I am very grateful for all of the information and research you two have posted! Thanks!

  17. says

    I have had the Millenicom since 2011 and it is a great product as you said. I have only had two cases where I had AT&T internet and not the Millenicom. I have the grand fathered unlimited internet on the phone so will keep it a bit longer. but keep looking at other solutions like you have.

    • libertatemamo says

      Definitely hold onto that unlimited plan as long as you can. It’s a precious commodity.


  18. says

    We are thinking of getting the Millenicom but are not ready to pull the trigger yet. Can you use it while driving down the road and do we need to have an additional antenna?



    • libertatemamo says

      Yes, you can use it while driving. As long as there’s a Verizon data signal it’ll work. We do have a booster which we use with the MiFi, but we’d have that with any system. We travel to a lot of remote places and the booster helps us stay connected.


  19. says

    Thanks again for this great information especially on Millenicom, photomatix and the Public Lands app. I was a reluctant IT manager for 25 years (English majors don’t do IT happily or at least not this one)and swore I was out of techno once I quit. I do have a droid so I’m not archaic but I have resisted social media including pin interest. I can hear your recommendation calling my name. All this software and stuff just takes so much time to figure out and use. I’d rather be outside. I do think I need to get some sort of light weight, smaller than a laptop, tablet to put the lands app and my mapping software on as the droid screen is just too small. Recommendation from you or other followers would be gratefully appreciated. PS. LOVE Antelope Island.

    • libertatemamo says

      I know exactly what you mean. I do find I need to balance my time spent on social media and my time spent inside. Blogging already takes up quite a bit of my day, so when I’m not on here I would rather be outside too! We’ll see how far I get into Pinterest, but I’ve certainly enjoyed the WA planning on there.


  20. Judy E says

    I’ve been reading your blog for so long, and glean all the information I can from it. We are soon-to-be fulltimers again, just sold our house here in Reno today! YAY! We were fulltiming and bought the house, and then decided we preferred our “wee little home on wheels”, so off we go soon.

    On another note, having read your blog for so long, today I was at Whole Foods here in Reno, and I thought I saw you there, lol!

    • libertatemamo says

      Well congrats on being fulltimers…AGAIN! The draw of the road is a strong one to those that feel the calling. I’ve actually known several fulltimers who “settled down” only to decide they wanted to get back in the rig a year or so later. Good travels to you!


      P.S. I have been shopping at Whole Foods while we were here, but I wasn’t there yesterday. My Reno twin-in-hiding perhaps?

  21. Kerri says

    Long-time lurker and fellow fulltimer, but I (almost?) never comment because I always read on my phone so commenting is a pain. (As evidenced by the fancy that I thought I sent a comment yesterday but don’t think it went through!) I abandoned my blog when it hardly even got started for Instagram because it’s just so easy/immediate (lazy). Glad to see Paul pop up in my followers list. Hope he sticks with it! But what I really wanted to say is that I’m heading to Washoe Lake today based on your recommendations. When are you leaving? If you see an airstream with a grey truck and kayak pull in, come say hi if I don’t find you first! Would love to meet you!

    • libertatemamo says

      Oh cool! We’re actually leaving today, but will probably be here until around noon? If you make it before then we’d love to meet you!

      • Kerri says

        Bummer, I got here a bit afternoon noon, and I think you guys were already outta here. Ah well, someday down the road!

        • libertatemamo says

          Sorry about that Kerri. The wind was rising so we decided to head out pretty promptly. I ended up battling the wind pretty hard for the first half of our drive. Enjoy the area! So sorry we didn’t meet.

          • Kerri says

            Yeah, it was really blowing when I got there! Good decision; hope the drive out was too nerve-wracking!

  22. Jil says

    Hey…what booster do you have for the MIFI…and kudos on Pinterest…I did not get it at all…must be my brain cells are not suited to it:(

  23. TenaciousBago says

    Nina…that stylized shot of Polly is the best! Love it…Always Love your Polly shots. Keep’em coming.

  24. says

    Thank you so much for the US Public Lands mention.. and so very happy that it’s meeting a need for you and other RVers. Exactly why we created it. *cheers*


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