Author Topic: Communication from the road  (Read 5534 times)

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Offline chipg

Communication from the road
« on: February 21, 2008, 01:18:37 pm »
My son and I are planning a cross-country trip for this summer (northern tier) and are wondering what options are out there for communication with the people at home.  

Also, my son has dedicated the trip to raising fund and awareness for food allergies, as his 8 y.o. cousin has a potentially fatal peanut allergy.  Because of this he wants to keep a blog updated, and do some e-mail along the way.  

I am pretty much a technophobe but do have a cell phone (T-Mobile, if that matters) and am willing to update.  Also my son, well, he is 17, so he will be of help in the tech world.  

I would love to hear what has worked (and hasnt worked) for other tours.


Offline ptaylor

Communication from the road
« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2008, 10:46:30 pm »
I kept in touch in two ways.

  • Cell phone. Not very dependable since a lot of the NT is outside cell phone coverage, keeping your phone charged is an issue. Text messaging worked fairly well.
  • Public libraries. Your ACA maps tell you what towns have libraries: they all have Internet service for free usually. You can keep up on e-mail or post to your blog.


This message was edited by ptaylor on 2-21-08 @ 6:48 PM

Offline tytrike

Communication from the road
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2008, 12:57:55 am »
I camp with a trailer so bringing my 12" Dell 710m works out ok as far as packing safely.  It has a clear screen, lots of memory and drive space AND ESPECIALLY has fast WiFi.  Between random Access Points (in the strangest places at times) and Town Libraries Internet Access is acceptable. For phoning, I subscribe to Skype, an internet-phone provider AND bring a Headset with mike.  I use my gmail e-mail account rather than my home providers e-mail as it sometimes doesn't work.
A PDA size gizzmo is pretty useless.  I shouldn't comment on cell-phone  as I don't use it because of lack of service in remoter places.

Rides West Deserts, Mountains
Rides West Deserts, Mountains

Offline staehpj1

Communication from the road
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2008, 09:29:55 am »
We did the TransAmerica, but I imagine things are similar.

We found cell coverage to be spotty, but managed to call home every several days.  I didn't pay much attention to pay phones, so I am not sure how frequently they are available, but they are probably an option if you want to call home more frequently than you have cell coverage.

Computer access at public libraries is an option.  We didn't find it to be as handy as we anticipated though.  Small town libraries tended to have short hours on limited days.  Bigger towns had time limits and waiting for a terminal.

WiFi at public libraries may be a better option, but there is no way that I want to lug a laptop across the country.  Heck we were sending things that weighed a few ounces home.  Next tour I plan to take my N800 (PDA sized tablet).  That way I can compose emails in camp in the evening and send them when I have WiFi access.  Entering text is slow, but can be done in the evening in camp when you aren't rushed.  If it is too slow a folding bluetooth keyboard might be an option.

I am not sure why, but we found gmail to be VERY slow in many of the public libraries in the west despite the fact that their connection seemed pretty fast to other sites.  I am not sure if that would have been the case with other web based email options.

Offline driftlessregion

Communication from the road
« Reply #4 on: February 23, 2008, 08:39:35 pm »
I had pretty good luck with Verizon on the NT a couple of years ago while others with me didn't. Not total coverage by any means but better than the others.

Offline bogiesan

Communication from the road
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2008, 09:40:49 am »
Here's what we used to do just ten years ago: Send postcards.

david boise ID

go, ristretto, FCP/AE
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Offline JimF

Communication from the road
« Reply #6 on: February 29, 2008, 11:19:57 am »
I used a pre-paid phone card (Pin Plan) on the TransAm, which worked very well. Almost every town has a pay phone. Using the 800 number simplifies calling and is much less costly than pay phone long distance charges, plus the inconvenience of carrying all that change. Have a great trip.