Up until today, we have been using the East Bay Recreational Park District’s hot spot for our Internet connection. I was able to get the user name and password from our only neighbor. Our only neighbor is a group of hard looking men in their 30s that return to their campsite each day around 5 PM and leave around 7AM. I had walked over there the evening after we arrived and asked if they knew the user name and password to log on. Between gulps of beer, the head honcho of the group, with a streak of mud on his check, shared that information with me. Armed with that information, I returned to our bus and logged in. It worked pretty well and I was phat, dumb and happy, surfing the Internet and using Skype to make phone calls.
As it turns out, these gentlemen from whom I got the sign-in information from are fire fighters and they had been given the Internet sign-in user name and password from the park administration while they are working around the park. While we do not have any fires around us, they must be working to expand fire breaks and clear away dead wood around the park. As you probably know, a couple of months ago there were a series of very deadly wild fires burning thousands upon thousands of acres here in Northern California and now there are a number of wild fires burning in Southern California.
California has always been ripe for wild fires because it gets these seasonal high winds that can blow for days. If a fire does start, it quickly spreads because of the high winds picking up and tossing the live embers 100s of feet downwind, scorching whatever that can burn that is in its path. Friends of ours have been posting pictures and videos of the fire that is near the Geddes Museum in Los Angeles which shows rush hour traffic creeping down the freeway, heading into what looks like the Gates of Hell. Wow!
I had been using the Internet thinking that it is available to all park guests and that it was an open system. Apparently, it is not and I had been using the exclusive portal for the fire fighters. Ops! Who knew?
It has all caught up to us now as I can no longer sign-in using that user name and password. Furthermore, being deep in the valley between two long, tall ridges, we cannot get an Internet signal nor cell phone signal. The day of connectivity for us while nestled in LeuC in this beautiful park are over.
This means each morning I will need to take our rental car and drive out of the park to the top of one of the ridges to pick up Internet and cell phone signals from a local tower. While it is a pain in the arse, at least we can communicate with the world at least once a day.
During our 10 years sailing around the world, we faced this problem many times. We eventually bought the new technology called Iridium Go when it came out a few years ago and this partially solved our Internet connectivity issues. Using the Go, we could get 24/7 our weather reports, emails and post our daily blogs. Prior to the Go, we would buy a local SIM card for our cell phone at each island we sailed to or rely on using our SSB radio as a modem to hook into the Internet while making long blue water passages. Unfortunately, the SSB connection did not work all of the time, being impacted by weather conditions around us or around the Internet station which we were trying to connect with, wherever it was located around the world.
Being back on land and with the great Internet infrastructure that is present in the US, we have been spoiled while roaming around with LeuC. That is now over for the month that we will be camping here at the Del Valle Recreational Park…
Bottom line of all of this, if you need to contact us, you will need to leave us either an email message, a blog comment, or a voice mail on our cell phone. I will be able to collect and respond to whatever messages you leave us once a day, each morning when I make the daily trip to the top of the nearest ridge.