Bailey Island, ME
It would have been nice to have had Internet access on the road during our trip to the Region 1 Rally in Quebec. I would have submitted more reports with pictures from the rally. (UPDATE: I've backfilled a few reports below.) But our only Internet access came from a wireless network near the rally grounds called "amicus" that seemed to randomly appear and disappear.
Most of the laptop-toting attendees at the rally took advantage of the appearances of amicus to check email -- myself included. But generally, this is a practice I can't recommend. Unsecured and unknown wireless networks can be monitored by third parties with malicious intent. Your email and web passwords can be intercepted.
At a recent "hacker's conference", this was demonstrated all too clearly for some. As reported by Technology Review:
“Anyone naive enough to access the Internet through the hotel’s unsecured wireless system could see their name and part of their passwords scrolling across a huge public screen. It was dubbed the “The Wall of Sheep.” See http://www.technologyreview.com/articles/05/08/ap/ap_080405.asp
The safest way to use wifi is through a password-protected network. Most cybercafes and free hotspots don't use password protection because (1) it has been hacked, so it's not as safe as it used to be; (2) passwords mean more complexity and technical support problems that the wifi hosts don't want to deal with.
For now, I'll keep using wifi when I need to, but I'll also be mindful of what I do on it. And as a security precaution, I'll probably change my email password regularly.
Just to be clear, the Region 1 Rally was a pretty good time. The Quebecois WBCCI members seem to be less uptight about rules and procedures than some of their US counterparts, and it seemed as everyone came in the mood for a party. Add the fact that Montreal and Quebec City were both within 90 minutes drive, and the result was just fine. Plenty to do, lots of laughter, interesting people to meet, and fine weather.
Now Vintage Thunder is in Maine, resting in a friend's driveway for a couple of weeks while we borrow their seasonal cottage on the shore. This breaks our streak of nine weeks "on the road". It's nice to be in a little house for a while, rather than in the Airstream. We love the full-timing life, but once in a while it's good to stretch out, too.
Since the cottage has a refrigerator, we are going to take the opportunity to defrost Vintage Thunder's freezer and remove a chunk of ice that has been forming on the cooling fins all summer. There's also something smelling a tad funky in the fridge, so we'll clean it out thoroughly. And we'll take a vacuum to the interior of the trailer, and wipe down all the surfaces.
With that, we should be ready for our next trip, which may be Acadia National Park if we find some time in the next two weeks. Right now we are awaiting more rain from Katrina, which is affecting the weather all the way up here. It's a gray wavy day on the Atlantic ocean shore. But when things improve, I'll be thinking about a nice camping trip up to the pinkish granite of that great eastern National Park...