2 month countdown- Update (Itinerary blog idea)

Texas Travel Blog

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Had dinner with world travelers, Lynn and Tom, Gabrielle & Mike. We met in 2001 on a cruise to Greece and just love them!  They travel all the time and said that the Czech Republic and Bulgaria were safe-feeling Eastern European countries, so we may hop over to Bulgaria from Greece (without the RV) and drive the RV into the Czech Republic from Germany.  Need to research.

Took the RV to Rob at Elder Automotive to have complete systems check, tune up, all new belts & hoses, etc in preparation.  I want her in tip-top shape.  My Lazy Daze friends provided 3 pages of maintenance to-do's that I faxed over to the mechanic for his help.  They're saving all the belts and hoses that are removed so I can use them as spares, if needed.  Rob also suggested I get a Logitech Webcam to be able to show him what is going on should I need to call him for advice.  He's very intelligent, comes highly recommended, and is very helpful so I feel good that he's working on Ciao Baby.  Haven't gotten all the estimates yet, which I'm sure will be "Ouch!"

For China, I emailed with Lea at Lotus Tours http://www.lotustours.net/ and was thrilled that she could help me.  She is absolutely the best China Travel Specialist in the world, in my opinion, given our experience with her during our 2000 adoption trip.  You can read my recommendation on their website.  I gave her a long list of things we'd like to do, including holding baby pandas and swinging by some UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and flying back through Europe if possible rather than all the way home to the U.S.  I know that if there is any possible, reasonable way, she can make it happen.  What a relief to have such an expert on the team!

Spent all yesterday finding Trojan T-105 coach batteries and finally located one dealer within 100 miles simply by using the Trojan website.  Within 15 minutes, Ned had run by their in-town location and bought them!  I think he's motivated to get them over to the mechanic so he doesn't get stuck with the install.  :)

Got the K12 start date moved earlier to today so we can ease into the program.  Bought 16 qt. bins at BB&B for all our books and they look so organized, one bin per person (18" long, weigh about a ton).  We've been doing Spanish online already. 

Tech issues:  Jazy's specific Dell computer stinks.  I wish we'd returned it within the first 30 days.  We have to send it back anyway under warranty as it's not running and needs a complete reformatting of hard drive.  The other 3 computers seem to be doing better, but Lia's wouldn't load the Spanish sound file the other day.  Maybe it will work today?  What a mess electronics have been!  I'm glad we started early.  Dear Ned needs to come with us as our fulltime IT guy!

Order up!  I've gotten in some travel books, the long jumper cables, the polaroid camera, the door intercom for the rig, the HP printer, and a few more books in from the library too.  Hard to find time to read them all, but I'm trying hard.

Went by the Orthodontist yesterday for Charles' retainer repair- at least another 2 years before he needs Phase II of braces.  Jazy's Phase IIwill be late as she's ready now, but we's have to wait until we return.  We considered this initially- it's fine to wait.  She'll be 14.5 by the time we return.  Lia will have to wait too, but her teeth are very slow any way.

Yikes!  Just 2 months left!  I've been working on this trip fulltime for the past 6 weeks.  I'm trying not to wait to do anything, as I want to avoid the last minute overwhelmed, panicked feeling.  Still have long lists of To-Do's on my Excel document, but it's a great way to keep up with it all.

Started a 2nd blog of my Itinerary, this one just for TravBuddy Friends.  I'm getting friend requests on TravBuddy, but I'm not sure how it all works, so I haven't added anyone.  I may just approve friends that I personally know so I can share my itinerary with a private group.  Hope people's feelings aren't hurt.  Besides, I figure if they just want to follow along, they can click the RSS feed symbol to sign up for direct emails, right?  Trying to be safe.

Now, this 2nd blog:  I've input a basic itinerary.  The great thing is that when I "validate" a location and assign a date, it graphs it on a Google map.  A "Trip Summary" check shows a *map and listing of daily places to visit*.  This is so helpful in figuring out if we have enough time in each place.  We need time to play.  So I can check the travel plan on the map and the dates and move things around just by editing an entry by changing the date.  This "Itinerary blog" is a most brilliant idea, if I do admit!  :)  (Update:  Okay, it looks like my Itinerary blog was not an original idea http://www.travbuddy.com/faq.php#2.2 and they also suggest you store places you plan to stay and travel notes on future dates- great idea!)

The only thing I wish is that the Google map were the more sophisticated version that shows the mileage and timing between stops, as well as the ability to drag the purple line to change the route.  Right now it just shows "as the crow flies" lines with no info between points.  Also, it is missing the mouse movement enlargement ability and I have to click first to get from satelite default to road map, then repeatedly click the + sign to the correct size.  But, it's nice to have a Google map connected with the dates.

That's all.  Have to get to work here.  Need to call the mechanic to see if he wants the batteries today, need to order a converter and SeeLevel gauges and Tire Safety Seal kit for the rig, and still haven't made those MD and Dental appts for us all.  My dear LD (Lazy Daze) friend, Virginia, offered to research a few things for me for the rig today.  She has been a source of information, encouragement, and creativity and I've always found her ideas spot on, even if it took me awhile to come around.  :)  It's great to have such help!  A lot of work for all this fun!


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