Public campgrounds like those managed by the National Forest Service or Corps of Engineers are great for nature lovers (like us), with peaceful forests, birds-a-singing, privacy, and placid lakes. Camping in such places is just good for the soul.
But being far from cities and interstate highways, what these campgrounds often do lack is strong cell signals. On the road, we get our internet using "Mifi", which is wi-fi provided by a Verizon Jetpack device we pay for monthly. This little device is basically like a cell phone with no voice capability, data only.
In the remote campgrounds we enjoy, today's fast "4G LTE" signal can be hard to come by -- and you quickly learn not to take it for granted when you do have it! In many of the places where we've stayed, we've been lucky to get two bars of "3G" signal (slower but generally usable if you're patient). Sometimes the signal even drops down to "1X" -- an even older, slower technology and nearly impossible to use to go online.
Some campgrounds are so far off the beaten path that you get no signal at all. Coleman Lake Recreation Area, as wonderful as it was in other ways, was one of these.
So, we started testing. We took our little Jetpack with us on bike rides and hikes until we found a signal. We found several spots miles away from our site where we could pull in a signal, but we wanted something closer and more convenient, so we could briefly check email and do a little travel planning each day.
Eventually we found a spot just a 3/4 mile hike away, up higher and more open than our campsite. We could generally pull in two bars of 3G signal here, which was just enough to get by for about thirty quick minutes of internet time. Score!
Would you go this far to go online?
Emily & Barry
We're a long-married, early-retired couple who are currently traveling as nomads with no fixed home base. After years of living in North Carolina (Emily's home state), we spent 18 months living oceanfront on Ambergris Caye, Belize, a year road-tripping the US in a Honda CR-V, a year in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, and are now roaming North America in our 32' motorhome, Pearl, following warm weather whenever possible.
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