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Old 07-02-2009, 12:29 AM   #1
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Utah, Grand Canyon "Round" tour and internet access in U.S.A.

Hi ALL,
Doug and I are planning a big trip which includes traveling the east coast, south coast and western states. We want to be able to use internet and were thinking we would have to depend on campsite availability. A recent posting on this forum had discussion about wireless - prepaid cards?, Verizon etc - internet and phone. We are very interested in your input about traveling with a laptop and cell phones. What system/company do you have as a provider? Which provider has the best - in your opinion - service in the US for RVers?
Part of our trip includes the Grand Canyon and area. There was also discussion on the forum about the best place(s) to stay for visiting the area. Online we have seen mention of a Grand circle or round tour of the canyon area. Is anyone familiar with this method of seeing the special beauty? We want to see Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, etc.
We would value your ideas and input.
Doug and Kathy
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Old 07-02-2009, 11:26 AM   #2
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Re: Utah, Grand Canyon "Round" tour and internet access in U.S.A.

We did the Grand Canyon this year, we hit it coming back from our FL trip via hwy 40.. Stayed in the park at their RV set-up (trailer village).. they had full hook-up and it was very convenient.. next to it within waking distance was a lodge/store/dinning area.. they had free wi-fi that was pretty good..(I actually watched a episode of Lost while my wife was in the gift shop!).. The trails are great, we walked the entire 25 miles outer rim and did the one inner trail down into the canyon (South Kaibob trail)..excellent, every vista is just crazy beautiful. I think we spent 5 days in Grand Canyon.

Near the Grand Canyon was the petrified forest & painted dessert.. amazing as well..

Also is Sedona which we stayed 3 days and wished we would of stayed longer.. very captivating - we liked the vibe of the town and there was a ton of trails and different buttes..

If you're heading east.. We LOVED Santa Fe a great place to hang out a ton of art galleries and since every women on the face of the planet likes "shinny things" a ton of shops.. About an hour outside is Bandiler National Monument..a perfect day trip with a nice hike among the ruins of the Pueblo Indians and cliffs..

All in all a great trip we took Hwy 10 out to FL hitting Sedona AZ, San Antonio TX, Lake Charles LA ,New Orleans & Florida and came back on Hwy 40 hitting New Orleans (again) Santa Fe, Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon.. We have a couple of podcasts with photos if you're interested..

April 2009 Grand Canyon (coming back)-- http://zimodecast.com/?p=238
March 2009 Sedona (heading out) -- http://zimodecast.com/?p=210




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Old 07-02-2009, 01:55 PM   #3
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Re: Utah, Grand Canyon "Round" tour and internet access in U.S.A.

Wow, your photos are "grand" Jeff!! Seven weeks, another wow!
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Old 07-02-2009, 04:08 PM   #4
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Re: Utah, Grand Canyon "Round" tour and internet access in U.S.A.

More-or-less between the petrified forest and Flagstaff is Meteor Crater. A bit commercial, but still, well worth the visit.

Me, I leave all phones and computers at home when I vacation. Pay phones, public library computers and internet cafes provide what little high tech I need. The wife likes getting some of my attention from time to time.

Ron
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Old 07-02-2009, 09:50 PM   #5
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Re: Utah, Grand Canyon "Round" tour and internet access in U.S.A.

Internet Access - for the best chances of a connection nothing beats a wireless broadband card. This, in combination with local wireless access will probably give you coverage 60% of your nights. Why not more? Mostly because you are in the boonies. Cell towers and usage is low, you are not in areas the cell companies can sell service plans. Some private campgrounds will have WiFi, this will help.

During the day I can usually find a free hot spot for an email check, or sending non secure information. I never do any type of work with private information when connected via WiFi, connected using the wireless broadband card would be a secure connection and OK. Some free locations are coffee shops and hospitality related business. I find Holiday Inn Express and Motel 6 often have free wireless in the parking lot.

For the best coverage and fastest speed I would recommend Sprint. Our office uses data phones extensively and we found they have the fastest data network. Coverage is another matter, there is no prediction of what they will have. Sprint does have a pretty nice coverage map, you can really zoom in for a specific area.

My second choice would be Verizon. ATT has a very slow network, ask all those iPhone users.
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Old 07-03-2009, 07:45 PM   #6
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Re: Utah, Grand Canyon "Round" tour and internet access in U.S.A.

Another interesting thread for me, because the Grand Canyon is an area I would love to explore some time.
Jeff, great info. Your photos are great. What gear do you use?

I always bring a phone on a road trip, a great convenience. I also bring a laptop, firstly for storing and editing photos. I do enjoy internet access for email and checking up on a few forums, though I usually find very little time for it. It is also great for finding out information for day trips too. I just use free WiFi when campgrounds have it.

For me, if I want to get away from all these modern conveniences, my preference is to take my canoe into the backcountry for a week or so, and just get away from it all, phones, computers, lights, roads, cars, buildings, hordes of people, and the like.

I never even realized you could find free hot spots. Do places like Holiday Inn Express and Motel 6 not require you to enter a password to use it?

I had looked in to getting a USB modem for my laptop, and just pay by the month for the times I would be away. But, I found out that it costs and additional $3/Gig of data for roaming in the US. This would cost quite a bit for uploading large sized photos to my hosting site. Better to use free WiFi if I can find it.
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Old 07-03-2009, 08:50 PM   #7
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Re: Utah, Grand Canyon "Round" tour and internet access in U.S.A.

Here's the Verizon Card. In our trip from Chilliwack to VA, I can't think of a single spot we didn't get coverage (ie. campground - not necessarily on the road). Little pricey if you keep it though, and no where as fast as DSL. Hot spots and free WiFi's at coffee shops and the like, are a lot cheaper.
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Old 07-03-2009, 08:56 PM   #8
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Re: Utah, Grand Canyon "Round" tour and internet access in U.S.A.

I am on the Telus network, which is CDMA like Verison, and uses their towers when south of the 49th.

Is there any way of knowing where to find these WiFi hot spots? Do you just take a chance and look for an available network every once in a while?
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Old 07-03-2009, 09:35 PM   #9
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Re: Utah, Grand Canyon "Round" tour and internet access in U.S.A.

Wifi Hot Spots, just Google those words and you will find several search engines that allow you to find free WiFi. There are several catches to this: 1) free may mean it is free only to people staying in the motel or drinking the coffee - in other words you need to have their "passphrase" to use the free service 2) these search engines for WiFi Hot Spots are compilations on user information, they may be out of date, inaccurate or missing spots. The Motel 6 and Holiday Inn Express are really free, you do not need a passphrase. A search engine for WiFi that seems better to me is http://www.openwifispots.com/Default.aspx

There are often open WiFi locations in residential neighborhoods, people do no know how to lock their access, I have some ethical problems using a WiFi not intended to be free. I do work and our local Holiday Inn Express and they purposely want to keep their WiFi open, they know there are people sitting in cars in their parking lot using their WiFi. Perhaps a belief they will be customers next time.

Did I tell you it is not safe to use WiFi? Careful what you do on your computer when on WiFi.
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Old 07-03-2009, 10:09 PM   #10
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Re: Utah, Grand Canyon "Round" tour and internet access in U.S.A.

Thanks for all that WiFi info, helps lots.

I knew it was not real secure. I do not do much for business from my laptop while traveling, mostly just email.
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