Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Staying Connected On The Road
While I might have left most of the comforts of home behind, I made sure that my internet addiction would be covered while traveling. I like keeping up on Facebook. I like getting my email before it stacks up into the hundreds. I like using the app for geocaching instead of preloading caches into my handheld. And I like being able to blog often and post pictures of my travels and the things I see. So I have the IPhone 4 and a new Verizon MiFi as well as my large laptop and my mini that I carry in my backpack when out exploring the city. Of course Brenda has her laptop too, so we have one small cabinet devoted to all the electronics and attachments/cords, etc. No, I don’t have a TV because I just don’t miss it when on the road. Most of what I watch is news or weather and I can keep up with all that on the internet. That is, if I can get a signal.
We started off a little over a week ago in Bardstown, KY and had a pretty good signal in the My Old Kentucky Home State Park which is practically downtown. The first night in West Virginia we stayed at a KOA that was, in my opinion, overpriced but within 5 miles of the Blenko Glass Factory that we wanted to tour the next morning. And it had free WiFi which we both stayed on most of the night. I even took the mini with me to the laundry room and caught up while doing the wash. Later that night I logged into my account at Netflix and we watched The Magician’s Apprentice with Nicolas Cage which was pretty good.
The next night in Ohio, in the heart of Amish country was better priced and also had WiFi but it was a slow signal that made loading pictures frustrating and watching a movie or the news was out of the question. So then we moved on to our campsite for Geowoodstock near Warren, PA. The campgrounds were really nice and the bathrooms/showers brand new. But to get a signal for the phone meant driving outside the park. One morning we took the laptops to McDonalds for breakfast and an internet fix. Signals were spotty throughout our stay in the area but I think it’s just that AT&T hates me.
So now we are in New York on the banks of Lake Erie and it is beautiful. But the coverage is a bit unique. To get a signal I have to stand at the front of the rv and balance my IPhone against a pillow (my hand gets tired of holding it) which will get me 3 bars and an E. If I move to the table to sit down suddenly I’m in Canada and get no signal at all because I blocked my number from picking up towers in Canada (and the roaming charges). The Verizon MiFi fares a little better but all the trees in our beautiful site don’t help. This did lead to a really fun discovery. We drove into town yesterday to find a McDonalds which turned out to be at an exit just off the New York Thruway (that’s I 90 in yankee talk). What’s cool is that you exit and park in a lot that has access to a covered walkway going over the thruway where the McDonalds is kind of in the center of the road with an identical access from the southbound lanes. Pretty cool, huh? Plus there was a geocache on each side so I got a twofer and we spent a couple of hours on the WiFi checking mail and catching up while having fries and a coke.
Tomorrow we are planning to move on to Grand Island and the Niagra Falls part of the trip. So today we drove into Buffalo to see some things and check out our next campground. We drove all through the sites, which look really level (very important) and had 3G access! Woot Woot! We may just stay an extra day and really get a fix.