Monday, October 20, 2014

The BEST thing ever! ...and Katie photos

First I'm going to show you one of the best, if not THE best (other than solar panels, of course) thing I've bought while full-timing.   The ALFA antenna!

This little gadget was highly recommended to me - well, not this particular antenna, but the ALFA brand antennas in general.  So I went on-line and found this one; they have many different models, but I figured two antennas were better than one and this model has two antennas, so I bought it on-line from   (Please see our right side-bar; I've added it there and also in our store, The Palms Shop.  The tab for The Palms Shop is at the beginning of the post on the left side, right above my profile.

So, anyway, I had this delivered to me at Elephant Butte State Park and when it arrived, I immediately took out the CD, installed the antenna program, and hooked it into the USB on my laptop.

It has a USB cord that plugs into the computer and the antenna can be free-standing, or you can take the USB cord off the antenna and plug the antenna directly into your computer.  I've tried both and like it right plugged into the computer better - no cords in the way.

We've moved to Leasburg Dam State Park, and I have it on right now, powering my Internet.  I'm working on this post, downloading podcasts and monitoring my e-mails as I write this, all on the park's free wi-fi.

Using my Verizon phone as a hotspot, I get 2 bars for the park's wi-fi, and it's spotty.  Using my new ALFA, I get 4 bars and it's a 100% link with 81% signal strength.  A steady signal.

Looking at the networks in my area with my Verizon alone, I see two networks.  The ALFA is shown as "WI-FI 2," and it shows 8 networks in the area.  Only the park's open network is free wi-fi, but I'm thinking when I'm in Quartzsite, or in a parking lot near a library, fast food restaurant, Starbucks, etc., I'll easily be able to pick up a free signal.  And when checking the Verizon only signal, my phone is in it's Wilson Sleek Amplifier cradle attached to an upgraded Wilson antenna on the roof.

One thing, though.   Using my links will bring you to the web page where I purchased my ALFA antenna, and right now it's shown as "OUT OF STOCK.  Currently unavailable.  We don't know when or if this item will be back in stock."

If you are interested in a great antenna to pick up free wi-fi, there are many different ALFA antennas available  Just put ALFA ANTENNA in the search bar at and see if another model would work for you. 

HOWEVER - I did find a web-page in that has these in stock.  It's a UK seller, though, and the price is shown in POUNDS.  I don't know if that would work for us here in America.

I am so excited about this antenna.  It's so easy and works so well, and now I can download audio books and podcasts for free, as well as catch up on some of the TV shows I've missed without using my own data.  How cool is that???   YES!!!

By the way, I have unlimited Verizon data, I'm grandfathered in.  Lucky, for sure!  But I have a 3G phone that I use as a hotspot, so if I go over a certain amount of data I get throttled.  Sometimes I can't even get on-line. Frustrating, so I try to keep my data as low as I can.  Still, I always use a lot and hopefully with my new ALFA that won't be a problem anymore. 

I've been saving photos of Katie, and this seems like a good post to add them to, so here goes:

Katie really enjoyed our time at Elephant Butte - she got to visit with her doggie friends, and I also put out her fence and let her stay outside by herself.  I hooked her leash to our table a couple of times so she would be outside while I was checking things on the roof, etc.  She likes that.  Look at that big smile!

Here's Katie taking her chew toy from the fenced area into The Palms:

She likes to sleep with her nose tucked in:

Good morning, little Katie!

Katie liked the bone that Riley had, and she and Edna both took turns with it.  I decided to get Katie one of her very own.  Unfortunately the Wal-Mart in Elephant Butte didn't have any good bones in their meat department, so I checked out the pet department and found a nice ham bone (for dogs), and it was under $5, good deal!  

The first two pictures were taken yesterday, her first day with the bone.  I put down a little rug in the kitchen, it's her "ham bone rug" and the bone has to stay ON IT.  Katie does well keeping things where I want them to be, and so far this is working.  She's an avid chewer with rawhide toys, and apparently with ham bones, too.  She tore into this thing, and after about 10-15 minutes I took it away, wrapped it in wax paper and put it in the fridge.  I did the same thing today. 

Since she has a sensitive stomach, I don't want her getting sick from this.  When she gets a rawhide toy, she will chew it until it's gone - no way could she do this with a bone this size, but I'm afraid she won't stop in a reasonable time frame.  And this way, it will be a short treat every day, and last a long time.  And best of all, it won't make her sick.  She LOVES it.

I took this picture this morning from behind her, and the whole time she was working on the bone her tail was tucked under her.  I wonder what that means?

I never wanted to get her a "real" bone because of the greasy mess it might leave, but with the rug on the linoleum tiles, there is no mess.  And so far her stomach is doing okay.

Here is where we are in the overflow, dry camping area at Leasburg Dam State Park.  Holly on the left, me in the middle and Jeanne on the right.  I would rather back in so I can see the road into the area, but because of the solar panels it was better to have the engine forward so they would get more sunshine. And actually I have a nice view of all the desert bushes out the front windshield.

It's so quiet and dark here at night.  We had a big storm last night, which was pretty cool, and Katie and I slept like logs.  We get all the good over-the-air TV channels and good Verizon/Internet.  And free wi-fi.  Holly walked up to the Visitor's Center this morning to use their wi-fi and she said it was great, very fast.  (So, even if you don't have an extra antenna like my ALFA, you can still use theirs if you're parked close to the VC, or take a stroll there.  It's a small park and an easy walk.)

We woke up to warm sunshine, so nice.  Right now it's after 3:30 in the afternoon, the clouds have come in, and there is massive thunder outside - time to move the welcome mat under The Palms.

From me and Katie, have a great Monday, everyone!  :)