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Question Of The Week

Internet Solutions for the Road

I picked Verizon over AT&T as it provides much better coverage in many of the remote and rural areas of the USA.  As the technology advanced, I switched to a Verizon MiFi device and have had three devices over the last five years.  The cost varies with the plan you might choose, 5GB at about $50, and 10GB at $80.  If you are using an iPad or tablet device, you might find the larger 10GB plan the better choice.

With each year the availability of internet access, through my Verizon MiFi device, improves in quality and availability.  Using an app on my iPhone, I can determine pretty well where I will find available Verizon coverage prior to my arrival in those areas.  With this information I can often let my family and friends know, before hand, that I will be inaccessible during the times I am traveling through these areas.

I have had internet in backcountry sites (accidental findings on my iPhone when selecting music on my iPhone), while backpacking in Yellowstone, when I am not able to get any at trailheads.  You can find great places to use your iPads and laptops without sitting in a lobby or in front of Panera by being creative and going to remote locations.

One of my favorite spots to use my Verizon MiFi device is, with an ice down beverage filled cooler, folding chair, laptop and my iPod Shuffle, sitting on the shore of a lake in Wyoming, many miles from any town or Panera.  I just use the flat straight shot, across the lake’s surface of a distant Verizon cell tower signal for my internet connection.  It wasn’t necessary to ride my motorcycle thirty-five miles into town to get internet service.  Cell and internet service was not available back at my remote boondocking location eight miles north of my temporary makeshift lakeside workstation.

Many locations throttle down their free Wi-Fi service, to combat those streaming movies and the such.  I take in my own Verizon Wi-Fi into places like McDonalds, not to use their free WiFi, but to steal their electricity!

For a few years, before I went totally solar, I had to be watchful on my use of battery reserve and looked for places to plug in.  It was easy to learn what to look for, like public parks (outlets in the group picnic shelters), by pop machines, late at night outside WalMart and Discount Tire Stores.

I always carry a good electrical drop cord and folding chair and my Verizon Mi-Fi!  My only tip is to watch out for the guys that clean the parking lots late at night, with leaf blowers!  Happy Trails!” – Bryan Appleby, 2008 Ford F550, 2009 Lance 1191

“We usually have a pretty good itinerary of our travel route, so using the website, www.wififreespot.com, I download a list of the cities and towns with free Wi-Fi spots ahead of time and save them to my desktop (since you can’t see the site until you have Wi-Fi).  The list has been very reliable with libraries, coffee shops, and all sorts of other public spots.  Free, free, free!” – Jane Hall, 2005 Ford 250, 2005 Eagle Cap 8.5

“I use Sprint’s Wi-Fi.  I’ve taken it to Alaska, but found the cost of sending photos while in Canada to be too much.  I have also used internet at campgrounds.  Sprint’s Wi-Fi has served me well all over the United States.” – Rod Krumlauf, 2003 Chevy Silverado 3500, 2004 Lance 1161

“The device I use is a Clear Spot Voyager Wireless hot spot that’s $35.00 monthly.  It works well if you like that sort of duality with a notebook.” – Wilbert Griggsby, 1992 Ford, 1990 Lance 8 foot camper

“Verizon still has an unlimited data plan.  I use my Galaxy Note 3 with 4G.” – Jim Dunlap, 2013 Ford F250, 2012 Lance 855S

“We both have the Apple 5C iPhone but, in the evening when we write, we use the Verizon Jetpack for our laptops. For the Jetpack’s 10gigs, the cost is around $70.00 a month.  There have been very few places in our travels that we have not had service.

Before we had smart phones, we pirated from a few unsuspecting places.  We appreciate them all.  We have used McDonalds, Starbucks, truck stops and a cable company in a small Texas town.  Thank goodness for free Wi-Fi!” – Craig and Julie Miller, 1999 Ford F350, 1997 Lance 990 legend

“Almost all of our camping is in remote off-the-grid locations.  We go there to get away from technology.  We do carry cell phones for when we do have reception, but most of our campsites don’t.

I want to add, though, that we always have a backup party back home.  They know where we are going in case we break down and they don’t hear from us by a specified time.” – Brian Hagen, 2000 Dodge Ram 1500, 2012 Palomino Bronco 1251SB

There are also some great tips from readers on our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TruckCamperMagazine

 

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