Sunday, October 19, 2008

The Traveling Tutors

"We're training Chuck this morning and want you to get on line and whisper to him."

This was the instruction that my cousin Dora gave to her sister Betty and was related to my learning how to use the chat room on our family's web page. It was just one of the topics covered in my tutorial with my cousin and one of the procedures addressed today.

To begin the day, Mike Bell, our RV neighbor offered suggestions on a treatment to remove water and algae from diesel fuel, the purchase of a lifetime air filter, and a simple way to keep bugs from sticking to the front of the RV on the road (spray on Pam). Mike is just the most recent knowledgeable person (former truck driver and experienced RV'er) who has gladly passed along advice and help to a novice. Our conversation two days ago covered a lot of information on the purchase of a satellite dish.

Dora and her daughter, Rebecca, joined us at the RV for breakfast this morning before heading home. Kate, who needs no tutorials in cooking but who will adopt some tweaking techniques on occasion, prepared a breakfast of French toast, hickory smoked bacon (from Benton's in Madisonville, TN) and country ham (from Galax, VA).

She used a couple of tips from Alton Brown of Good Eats on The Food Network. She let the bread dry out before using it and let each thick slice sit in the egg mixture for a soaking rather than a mere dip. The result was a breakfast featuring firm slices of French toast that welcomed the maple syrup with a long hug, slices of flavorful, smoky bacon, and country ham that was just the right mixture of saltiness and juiciness.

After breakfast, the work turned to downloading pictures that Dora had taken so that they could be included in this entry. There was discussion about taking some people out a picture and this led to learning how to crop photos. What followed was instruction on how to burn a CD so that I could save all the photos we have used in our first four months of travels. Then Dora provided hints on how to get into the family web page and open the chat room. Finally, she dropped some introductory comments on adding music to our entries.

When we talked about our experience of entering the world of the cell phone, Rebecca asked if we had the Bluetooth earpiece. We did not, but I mentioned that we did have some Bluetooth equipment that would enable us to use the phone hands free in the truck, but that I had never used it. So, that led her to get me up and running with this device.

Rebecca also pointed out several features on my cell phone with which I had not been familiar--mostly, I must say, were basic features, such as how to load frequently-called numbers and emergency numbers and how to access different functions faster.

It was shortly after 12:00 that we waved good-bye to Dora and Rebecca, grateful that they had taken time to drive quite a distance to see us and thrilled that we had time to talk and enjoy the sights.

We watched barges and towboats working on the river the rest of the afternoon. These were three of the smaller boats we saw:

The Amy Ross

The Annie Wepfer

The Lee Leavell

We still run to the riverbank when any of these boats and barges go by.

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