cell phones and truck stops
Just returned from a two-month run, from the East Coast to Seattle and back again. My experience with cell coverage, using an inexpensive ($50) dual-mode Kyocera phone (QCP 2035a) was excellent. Coverage almost everywhere, digital about 80 percent of the time, a bit higher near the Interstate (I did have analog coverage in large areas including southern Utah, and the Oregon coast.) I use the phone with Verizon's modem connection kit (about $70, I seem to remember) with excellent results.
Truck stop suggestion: If you're looking for a stop where you can plug in using your laptop and analog modem, the Pilot chain was the most helpful to me. I don't think I ran into one that didn't offer a data jack. Love's, Flying J, TA, Conoco and other truck stops were a crap shoot, but Pilot came through consistently. Kudos.
Glad to have your report. We have found Flying J's to be really great for data ports. Just remember to tip the waitress extra for tying up one of the booths!
I saw your posting and had to write. I am planning a 5 month roadtrip from Atlanta to the west coast via Grand Canyon area, then north on the Pacific Coast Highway and on into Alaska, returning to the Oregon or Washington coast when I am done. I have been researching alternatives for cellular/internet services and have been interested in Verizon's Mobile Office. Verizon is not willing to openly share their actual coverage areas so I was hoping you could give me more detail on your experiences. I hope to update my website along the way using FrontPage and wondered if you had any knowledge or thoughts on that. Any information you can give will greatly help my decisions.
Thank you !
Don't be misled by the advertising!
The primary reason that Verizon is reluctant to provide coverage maps is the relative scarcity of the coverage. Plus, no one is ever going to be able to connect at 19.2K using the current technology. 12K up to 16K is reasonable as long as the caller is near a network hub.
For much of the area you are planning to travel in -- you are not going to achieve data rates in excess of 9.6K as long as you are in a wireless mode unless you use one of the satellite systems.
The mobile office is a re-worked of current digital systems and the backbone does not extend much beyond the center of major urban areas.