Things I’ve Missed While On The Road

If you read my blog at all, you know I’ve been RVing up the Pacific Coast Highway for the past 6+ weeks. We just experienced a mechanical problem that forced us to have our RV towed and worked on by a shop in a more major town. While it was in the shop, we were forced to check into a motel. Within 24 hours of being checked in the motel I started realizing some things I’ve really missed while I’ve been on the road. Some are obvious and I knew about them, but others didn’t register until we were there for awhile.

Fast and Reliable Internet

I knew this was going to be a problem before we even left. In fact, it was the one major worry I had – since it was kind of an unknown how coverage would be along our route. Needless to say, Internet access has become a real problem on this trip. Over the past 6 weeks there hasn’t been a period where I’ve had decent Internet speeds and a reliable connection. I’ve been using a combination of RV park Internet and my Verizon Aircard / Virgin Mobile Aircard – all of which have proved to suck. Being in the hotel was a welcome break since the Internet worked great the entire time.

It wouldn’t be a big deal if I didn’t make my living with the Internet. For me, not having Internet access is equal to a retail store locking their front door. Very frustrating.

Food

While we’ve had amazing meals on this trip, I’m struggling with my diet while on the road. It’s been harder the further north we head as the Farmers’ Markets become few and far between. It just isn’t season up here yet. We’ve been getting amazing seafood, but we’re lacking in fruits and veggies which have become the cornerstone of my diet. I also find myself eating stuff I wouldn’t otherwise eat since it’s easy to make excuses. Stuff like “well, I’m on vacation” or “I won’t be back here again”. I end up getting things like fish and chips or fried shrimp that taste great, but I regret later. Our hotel was directly across the street from a Trader Joe’s and I instantly realized how much I’ve been craving a good organic grocery store.

Working Out

Working out has become an issue on the road. We haven’t been completely sedentary – in fact we’ve done a decent amount of stuff. However, it’s been limited to hiking and some biking, which don’t really get the heart rate up. The hotel we stayed in had a gym and I took advantage of it twice. It was a welcome change to go for a run and come back completely sweaty and out of breath.

Space

Even though we were only in a hotel room, it’s still bigger than our RV. Just having space to stretch out and not feel like the walls are right on top of you is really nice. I miss having several rooms to move around in and have some space to myself.

Long hot showers

This is something else I didn’t realize I missed until we got to the hotel. I have to tell you, it was nice taking a 10-12 minute shower with the temperature cranked all the way up. We’ve been limited to low pressure, not so hot, 3-5 minute showers in the RV. To me, nothing is refreshing as a nice long hot shower.

Overall

I know this post sounds like I’m complaining, but it’s quite the opposite. I’ve really enjoyed this trip so far and if it weren’t for Internet access issues I could see staying out on the road for a long long time. It’s been a great experience seeing so much of the country. However, I can tell the Internet issues are going to be what ends this trip. I’m not sure how much longer I can deal with it…..

6 Comments

  1. I remember the week that we were at “The Journey’s End” in Belize and you hacked into the access point in our favor.. That was a CLASSIC!!

    Reply
    • Hey Ali, hope you’re doing well. That was so long ago, I forgot about that. What an amazing trip that was – a lot of fun.

      The things I’ll do for Internet! :)

      Reply
  2. LOL MJ I’ve seen the pics of your “RV” and man my first home wasn’t that nice. So please smack yourself for me :) Seriously thought, I can understand what you are saying. Living in an RV like yours will be the closet thing I could ever do like “Camping” – I just love technology too much, and like you make a living with the net. I’m gonna guess when you are going through Canada you can forget about decent net until you hit AK

    Reply
    • Randy,

      Yeah, I totally agree, this is nicer than my first apartment too. Again, I wasn’t complaining about the space, I just realized that it was nice to stretch out when we were in the hotel.

      To be honest, the lack of Internet has worn on me enough that I think we are going to change our plans. We are going to make a final decision on that next week.

      Mike

      Reply
  3. Mike, I’ve found three things to be invaluable on my trip as far as technology goes. I am also an Internet guy, and my connection needs to be as good as I can make it. I’ve found the following works quite well (for us):

    1. Get an app called Coverage? It is almost EXACT as to what kind of covereage you can expect where you are staying (when the blue part is only kinda blue, you can expect about 2 bars in that area – darker, better – lighter, pray for 2G). I have used it throughout the trip to help plan my stopping points. It is put out by a couple of full-time Rvers that are programmers, so I figure their sense of what I need is pretty good. It is available on multiple formats at http://www.technomadia.com/.

    2. I found that having two opposing companies for aircards is invaluable. I have an ATT card and a Verizon aircard. Right now, in Eureka, my Verizon connection is so spotty there are times when I don’t have cell service, but I’m getting a very solid 2Gb Down with my AT&T card. I’ve had it the other way several times – having the option really has made the difference. I haven’t tried any of the other providers, but I figure my providers will take me up to Canada without a problem. Not sure about after that…

    3. I’m sure you are on a network, and have found my Cradlepoint router an important part of the puzzle as well. It has multiple inputs for cards (both my cards fit at the same time), has automatic failover for the connections, and an RJ-45 out to power internet to a wired network. Overkill – yeah ;) but I like my connection to be as good as I can get.

    I’m sure you’ve got your trip fairly well planned all the way up the coast, and I’ve seen the coverage maps – they are pretty tough. I have also tried to use campground internet, but found that it is generally unusable during peak hours. I usually only hop on to it after 12AM or during the lunch-time hours when most campers are away from the park. I thought when we started that it’d be easy to use their networks, but have found them powered just strong enough to be acceptable when the park is a quarter-full. I’ve only had that exception one-time – and that was becuase the park owner was an Internet guy, and ran two 10Mb connections into 43 spaces. I liked that place. :)

    As for the rest of your post – all I can say is I agree, but I’ll take the tradeoff for this lifestyle. As always – have a safe trip. I hope everything works out with the break-down. We’ve had a couple of our own – I know how it can be.

    Robert

    Reply
    • Robert,

      1. I got Coverage? (thanks for the tip) and it’s been a big help. However, this week I’m in a spot where Coverage? says I should have a strong signal, but my Virgin Mobile and my Verizon aircards are both getting crappy service. Of course the park’s internet sucks, so that’s not working either.

      2. I have two cards, but I haven’t tried AT&T.

      3. I have a Cradlepoint router, but not the upgraded one your have. I have one that is one notch down. It has the wired port, but not the failover port. I might run out and grab that today.

      Hope your trip is going well!

      Reply

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