Here we will discuss our primary mode of transportation and communication. Our current thought is an RV large enough to be a portable classroom. If we took the length of our trip and our home school objective out of the equation, I would prefer a 4WD Class B motor home for it’s ability to go anywhere and be parked anywhere as well as it’s ease of operation and fuel economy. However, for a lengthy trip as we are considering, through all kinds of weather, with a 105 lb dog who needs lots of exercise and stretching room and also his little cat friend, we will need something a little bit bigger. We can either get a large RV and tow (or drive) a second vehicle for short convenience trips while staying in an area, or tow a large RV trailer. I prefer the former but cost and features will determine the outcome. We would likely purchase a used RV.
Communication. Of course we will need Internet for school as well as for staying in contact with everyone. What type of laptop and ISP will provide this best? Will we want satellite TV? I already own a short-wave radio which can be fun to listen to when nothing else comes in. What about satellite or digital radio? Car to car? We have cell phones but those do not always work in remote wilderness areas. FRS/GMRS radios are great for car to car but what about an emergency? Ham or amateur radios are ideal for that. My wife and I were licensed once upon a time but allowed the license to lapse. So we would need to take a class again – this time with the kids - and get new radios. Yippeee!
Mapping software and devices for planning our route as well as for documenting where we’ve been. I have an old hand held GPS receiver (Magellan SportTrak Pro) which still does what it was designed to do. It is great for hiking, cycling, geocaching, waymarking and geotagging. It can be used for vehicle travel but is not ideal for that, so I will be looking at vehicle GPS units. For mapping software and programs, I have Microsfot Streets and Trips and also use Google Earth for road trip planning. I am, however, still a big fan of paper maps – although I now need a magnifying glass to see all the details on the good ones. Thomas Guides are, without a doubt, the most user-friendly and detailed street maps available. My current favorite gadget/toy, however, is my Nikon CoolPix P6000camera
which my wife gave me for my birthday. It is a camera with an integrated GPS receiver which allows me to post photos on Google Earth. Another device I wouldn’t mind having (but don’t really need) is a GPS logger. This is basically a tracking device. It doesn’t track in real-time but it keeps a log of everywhere its been (without taking pictures!) which can be uploaded to Google Earth at a later date and time. One brand I have been coveting is the TrackStick.
Safety. With a hospital emergency room and two paramedic/fire stations in very close proximity to our home in Southern California, we take safety for granted. However, if we choose to stay in a wilderness area for any prolonged period of time, a quality first-aid kit will be important.
- Magellan Roadmate RV (geeknewscentral.com)
- Magellan announces RoadMate RV9145 GPS device, offers campground navigation for $330 (engadget.com)
- VehiclePath Convenes First Customer Advisory Board to Shed Industry Insight (prweb.com)
- South America GPS Tracks in Google Earth (Samples) (lincolnshome.wordpress.com)
- Some Tops To Know About RV Batteries (boldstate.com)