Summer 2022 has flown by us already, we are back on the road and now looking back at a recap of the summer. We look forward to staying connected with the Amazon Glow over the winter.
Once again summer in Wisconsin comes to a close and we have pushed off to meet up with friends in the Eastern part of the United States. We arrived in Wisconsin on April 16th, 2022, and departed on September 16th having had a full summer. Jason reported in at work as required for the fall semester, we made a trip up to the Hayward area for a birthday celebration, we made multiple visits to the zoo and Oma made millions of priceless memories spending time with the granddaughter and family. Now as we depart we hope that an Amazon Glow will help to keep us connected.
As we noted in our previous blog, travel from Northern Missouri, up through Iowa, and into Wisconsin came with some unexpected severe weather in the form of high winds. We did finally make it to our summer home on Saturday, April 16, 2022. Fortunately, we were able to meet up with the family for a quick Easter egg hunt before the weather hit Wisconsin. Jason was itching to get back on site at work because of an ongoing fiber optics project at the university.
We decided to drop our expensive Unlimitedville Verizon service when we left Florida, and in April we added Starlink satellite Internet to our arsenal of connectivity Internet options. This leaves us now with a grand-fathered unlimited AT&T Internet plan and the Starlink for service. When in Florida we also get a Spectrum cable modem for the duration of our time there. We also tried a Google Fi SIM, but in our area of Wisconsin, that was not worth the cost.
We made a big investment in safety for the motorhome by proactively replacing the aging drive tires on the motorhome. We used the Escapees tire discounts to take off about $500 in cost from the total.
May was beautiful in Wisconsin, giving us several opportunities to get out and enjoy why Minnesota and Wisconsin are great places in the summer. It started with a wonderful visit to the zoo with the family and wrapped up with family camping over Memorial Day weekend at Highland Ridge Army Corp campground outside of Spring Valley, Wisconsin.
Throughout the summer Barb is alternating between Wisconsin and Minnesota to spend some days with the daughter, granddaughter, and their family in Minnesota.
That leaves Jason and the cats back in Wisconsin while Jason continues to work on-site at the university throughout the summer on their projects. Jason also flies for the first time since the pandemic by going to Cisco Live in Las Vegas for work, getting multiple COVID exposure phone notifications when he returns but doesn’t get it himself.
Starlink continues to work but it is clearly getting more popular and is slowing down since we got it in April.
We take a few days and travel to Northern Wisconsin for Jason’s birthday. We have fun on US Forest Trails around the Chequamegon National Forest in the Hayward (Wisconsin) area. We even met up with Barb’s sister and husband with their baby Jeep (a Jeep Renegade) to enjoy some trails ending the day at the Spooner Rodeo.
Oma and Opa got really brave and babysat a 3-year-old, a dog, and the house for Allie over a full weekend! It goes well, no one gets tied to a chair with string. We head over to Jason’s parents for a family reunion, one that has not happened in a long time and was really overdue. Jason’s parents love Starlink enough that they also have it now at their homestead that cannot get any other broadband Internet services.
To round out the tire replacements for the two rigs we got new tires on the Jeep. One thing is for sure is that tires in the post-pandemic era are still extremely expensive and hard to find!
Oma and Opa are feeling super confident now and take Ceci for a last hurrah to the Como Park Zoo. The university fall semester is now underway and Jason is no longer required on campus. Mid-September we go over to the Interstate Power Systems for our final repairs on the chassis (driving) A/C of the motorhome before we head out from “home” now.
The Amazon Glow was recently released from Amazon and honestly is an amazing technology. The self-contained device is a video “conferencing” device with a physical interactive component. Using projection and motion tracking technology the child sits in front of a device that contains an approximately 7″ tablet on the front of it.
The child sees and can interact with the image projected down on the table in front of them on a provided white mat. While the surface is not touched sensitive the device tracks the child’s hand and it interacts similarly to a touch screen. The adult is remotely using their own smartphone, presented on the tablet in the front on the screen and through a companion app. The adult is able to interact with the child through the device and it does surprisingly well at centering the adult in a close-up shot.
While there are some significant bugs yet with the technology, it is still very amazing and the potential is enormous. We can interact with Ceci remotely over the Glow and it is more than just a face-to-face conversation that is boring to her. We can interact with her and be part of her “screen” time where she can learn and interact with us through games, or we can tell stories and they come to life with her interacting with them.
This is not an endorsement, advertising, partnership, or any kickback from Amazon. We simply think this is an amazing technology to close the gap for a remote Oma or Opa, distant mother or father, or any time a child is isolated from loved ones.