While much of the U.S. is broiling under record-setting temperatures, Montana is about to be washed away in the continuing heavy rain, and Arizona is on fire, we have hit the weather jackpot in Eugene, Oregon. Up until today, we wondered if summer was ever going to arrive!
After another round of wine-tasting in the Umpqua Valley on Tuesday, we arose early on Wednesday morning to be on the road to Eugene by 8 am – no problem when the sky is light before 6 am. We had a short drive - under 70 miles - to be at Carrier and Sons on the north side of Eugene by 9:30 am.
I mentioned a short time back that our living room slide was a bit out of adjustment, which we discovered when extending the slide resulted in an ugly cracking noise – the oak trim coming apart on an upper corner. Since we were pleased with the work Carrier and Sons did for us in 2009, and since Eugene is “on our way” to wherever we are going, we decided to stop in and have them adjust the slide and repair the trim. As before, the crew at Carrier was friendly and capable. We ran a few errands while they worked on the slide, then picked up our home and headed to our site at Armitage County Park (click here to read our review and see photos) in early afternoon.
This morning, we awoke to SUNSHINE! We arranged to stay in Eugene until Tuesday – and there is NO rain in the forecast. Whoopee! Good weather for grilling, walking along Eugene’s great system of bike paths, washing the vehicles (Odel), and reading the Kindle (me).
Speaking of the Kindle…
After being turned down for a library card during an extended stay at an RV park, Judy (Travels with Emma) wondered on her blog whether she should think about a Kindle. Judy, here is my experience, which might be of interest to you.
I have always been a reader, though less so in the past several years. Mostly, this is because my eyes are simply too tired at night to read as long as I used to. Nevertheless, we carry around a lot of books, taking up space and adding weight to our rig. An ebook reader seemed like a good idea, but I was not motivated enough to do the research and decide which one would be best for me. Besides, what if I didn’t like reading on an e-reader?
My sister Sydney loaned me her Kindle when we were in Sacramento, and I liked it – a LOT. Foregoing my usual thorough research (Kindle? Nook? other e-readers?), I threw caution to the wind - I ordered one myself (the WiFi only version, since we have a Verizon MiFi card), and now would not be without it. Though there are a few things I prefer about physical books, the pros outweigh the cons (by far), particularly for travelers.
* Photographs and illustrations are better in books. The Kindle doesn’t display images particularly well, and they aren’t always displayed in the correct relationship to the text. I can’t imagine buying a cookbook in electronic format… but who knows?
* Going back to find and re-read a page on a Kindle is annoyingly difficult. Sometimes I want to check on what I thought was a clue in a mystery, or remind myself of someone’s relationship to another person… fairly simple to flip through the pages of a real book, not simple at all on the Kindle. Also, not easy to flip back to a map or illustration (which probably won’t display very well, anyway). I miss the sense of “context” you have with a physical book. Reading one page of a book on a Kindle reminds me of looking at a little map on the GPS: you are viewing a small piece of a big picture, without a really easy way to find something not contiguous to your current display.
* You can pass the physical book on to another interested reader, who can do the same. The inability to EASILY share books – with as many friends as you want to - is, to me, the biggest drawback to an e-reader.
That said, if I had to choose just one method of reading - either physical books or the Kindle - the Kindle wins, hands down. Why?
* You can adjust the text size! When my eyes get too tired to focus on small print, I just make it larger.
* You can carry an entire library with you – portable and lightweight. The three feet of space I usually use for books to be read or traded is now available for other “stuff” (gosh, maybe I can leave it empty). With the cover I purchased, my Kindle is about the same size, shape and weight as a paperback printed in quality format (rather than “pocket” format) – very comfortable to hold.
* Newly published eBooks are less expensive than newly published print books, and there are hundreds and hundreds (thousands?) of book priced at “used book” prices, $5 and less. Hundreds more are FREE, including many of the classics. The choice of free books is far larger and FAR better than the selection you find in the “take one, leave one” library at any RV park.
* You can download and read a sample (usually the first few chapters) of a book before deciding to buy. If you want to continue reading when you get to the end of the sample, buy the book. Otherwise, nice to know you aren’t interested BEFORE you buy it.
* Highly portable. Take it along with you to the laundromat, to the doctor’s office, anywhere else you might find yourself with time on your hands (I read it in the lounge of Carrier and Sons yesterday while Odel went to the hardware store and Scoopy was in the shop). Lightweight and easily portable… and if the book you are currently reading doesn’t lend itself to short bursts of attention, switch to another book, or read samples you have downloaded.
* Unlike a computer, the Kindle is not backlit. Far easier on the eyes than reading a computer; for that matter, easier on the eyes than reading a printed book (especially since you can adjust the size of the text). I find the contrast of the background to the text to be very kind on the eyes, particularly sitting outdoors reading in the sunshine… far less glare than a white page.
When I bought my Kindle, I also got a book-like leather cover (photo above) with a built in LED light so I can read in the dark without additional lighting (remember, no backlighting) – handy in bed or when boondocking. The cover was costly, but I love it. It protects the Kindle easily, and feels wonderful in my hand.
Though Kindle currently doesn’t support e-books through the public library system, they have announced that library books WILL be supported sometime this year. Since I don’t have a library card (needed for library lending of eBooks), I don’t really care – and with a dozen yet-to-be-read books waiting on my Kindle, I don’t feel like I am missing out.
Yes, the Kindle is a great addition to our electronic toys… and now, I’m going to go sit in the sunshine and enjoy it.