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RV Caravan Becomes Reality Television

Even people who don't watch television can't help but be aware of reality TV hit-shows. Although I've never watched "Survivor", I can imagine it. It seems that our Quest-for-Community caravan is becoming the show. In fact, it looks like a 17-year-old miniature poodle is likely to be the eventual winner.

So far, we've survived being towed up mountains, infected doggie sutures, possible food poisoning, cargo doors that wouldn't close, tooth infection and pain, bad U-joints, a holding tank's drain valves being smashed against a rock, and nearly stepping on a rattlesnake.

To the hard-bitten realist, solving problems and surviving disasters is a better way to build a real community than rhapsodizing about dreamy platitudes in the clouds. So maybe all these problems are a blessing in disguise.

The latest disaster created an educational opportunity. In cellphone service-free Glenwood NM, we were struggling to find an old fashioned public phone in order to call a towing service. Rolling up to the Glenwood Trading Post, the only gas station and convenience store in town, we were amazed to find 4 bars (out of 4) signal strength.

As it turned out, the store offered Verizon's "Extended Cell Tower" service: the DSL (landline) service feeds a modem in the store that puts out voice to all Verizon phones -- even non-smart phones!-- and to Sprint smartphones, or perhaps to any device that reads wi-fi. It also puts out internet data. Amazing!

Remember that services like this don't show up on the Verizon coverage map. On top of that, the people at Glenwood Trading Post were kind and helpful to me in my hour of need. 

The moral of the story is to stop avoiding remote areas purely on the basis of some phone carrier's coverage map showing no service there.


Given overcrowded (oversold) cell networks that we've been experiencing, and their slow to non existent speed (even when 4G) due to smart phone and laptop streaming of video (movies, tv shows, games), and the expense of adding wi fi to a cell plan... I'm thinking of going back to a portable sat. dish. This makes sense for several reasons,
... low investment, especially if you buy a used unit
... a dish on a tripod can be moved around as needed to
find the sat. while the RV stays in the shade
... it always works
... now bloggers and info addicts can go anywhere
and stay as long as they want.

If you aren't moving every day, the set up is a non factor, and the cost, all things considered, is a wash.

If the "Caravan" develops a core group that stays together then the monthly costs could be shared among users.

All around the fringes of megapolis of Phoenix we were shut out of service... even tho our phones showed 4G, we couldn't even load a page until late night or wee hours. When the problem showed up several times in other areas the handwriting was on the wall.

And Finally, an RV Reality Show sounds interesting.
I don't get it. I had no problems using my 3G Verizon mi-fi around Phoenix and near Madera Canyon, south of Tucson.

You had problems with your 4g iPhone service. Is that because the 4g iPhone won't downstep to 3G when it is faster than 4G?

Of course I would love to blame your problems on the iPhone, iPad, Air or anything else made by Apple. (grin)

I see your point about the satellite with multiple people. But Verizon's mi-fi is still more convenient for overnight stops or quickie internet sessions en route.