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Roughing it

The other day I ran into a guy who runs a local campground. During the course of our conversation, he mentioned some of the problems and complaints he has to deal with.

For one, he was extremely annoyed at Comcast, and their monthly charges for the cable hookups he has at each camp site.

Then he started in on the customers.

Several of them complained that their satellite reception was terrible in his campground.

Another guy was unhappy that the campground's free Wi-Fi signal was not strong enough to penetrate his trailer -- he had to go OUTSIDE to get decent reception. This guy was so upset by this shockingly bad service, he left a day early.

I used to dislike the whole idea of camping. Obviously, things have changed substantially since I last considered the issue.


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Comments (29)

That's funny, we camp to ge... (Below threshold)

That's funny, we camp to get away from technology.

Weirdos. We camp to take a... (Below threshold)

Weirdos. We camp to take a break from technology.

"Another guy was unhappy th... (Below threshold)

"Another guy was unhappy that the campground's free Wi-Fi signal was strong enough to penetrate his trailer -- he had to go OUTSIDE to get decent reception. This guy was so upset by this shockingly bad service, he left a day early."

I think you're missing a "not" in there somewhere... as in "Another guy was unhappy that the campground's free Wi-Fi signal was not strong enough to penetrate his trailer..."

grammar police

I'll let you aff with a warning this time.

This sounds an awful lot li... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

This sounds an awful lot like the kinds of problems that the earlier settlers had, only instead of satellite and wi-fi reception, they had to deal with wild animals, viscious savages, and the chance of starvation. That makes it a toss-up.

Steve L has it right. Our e... (Below threshold)

Steve L has it right. Our early settlers would day "I missed the stage coach, I'll catch it next month." Technology is stressing us out. Futureshock is here. ww

My sympathies to that poor ... (Below threshold)
MAJ Arkay:

My sympathies to that poor campground owner. Far too many people today think "camping" means taking all one's technology along. Me, I'm happy if there are hookups for electricity and water, and a dump station nearby, having graduated over the years from tents to an RV with a real bed. Everything else is nice, but not required.

That "camper" needs to look up from his computer and see the real world.


If there's a trailer involv... (Below threshold)

If there's a trailer involved, it's not actually camping.

I'd like to know what they'... (Below threshold)

I'd like to know what they're watching on their TVs with their cable hook-ups - Marlin Perkins' Wild Kingdom?

I notice that no one compla... (Below threshold)
Dave A.:

I notice that no one complained about the cell phone reception.

Too bad.

Oh, don't get them STARTED ... (Below threshold)

Oh, don't get them STARTED on cell phone reception.

Far too many peopl... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Far too many people today think "camping" means taking all one's technology along.

And judging from the size of the rigs on the road, taking all one's furniture along.

What's really annoying is that many of these rigs take a full sized pickup to pull. Once in camp they unhook and drive these oversize vehicles on the scenic but often narrow windy roads in and around major parks. Few want to sit behind one of these mobile roadblocks breathing diesel fumes, but if you have the mordacity to pass them they get all offended. Get a clue, if people are on your ass pull over and let them pass.

My dad was a huge camping n... (Below threshold)

My dad was a huge camping nut as my brother and I grew up. To this day, it's my favorite way to spend a weekend. But the most advanced technology we ever brought along was our tent, a gas lantern and a coleman stove. I've upgraded since then and bring a bic lighter rather than matches and a can of "Off" rather than one of those twirly-shaped mosquito repellent thingys. (Remember those sitting on the dash in the car at drive-in theaters?)

Good! Fewer people like him... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Good! Fewer people like him in the woods, the better of the woods shall be.

Man he be ravaged by a pack of rabid chipmunks...

I thought the whole concept... (Below threshold)

I thought the whole concept of camping was to escape the everyday world? I was happy to find out as I drove down Route 81 in VA and then across the Shenandoah Valley last week on my way to Goshen Scout Reservation that after a while my cell phone ceased to receive a signal and before too long even my FM radio couldn't pick anything up.

The end result really was several days communing with the boys and realizing just how little you need to stay mentally aware and active.

The Duchess and I travel in... (Below threshold)

The Duchess and I travel in our RV a good bit, and frankly, as a blogger of several sites, one of my primary searches on campsites is WiFi.....

I even have on order a signal booster which claims 1,000 feet range with a booster to make the signal stronger. We'll see.


My roommate is a city girl,... (Below threshold)

My roommate is a city girl, and I'm slowly breaking her into the whole "camping" thing. We started out in the backyard in a tent so she knew she could flee to the house in terror if a chipmunk hopped by or something. So far, she seems to really enjoy it.

We got into a discussion over whether or not using modern conveniences is really camping. My conclusion: if you go camping where there is electricity and/or running water, then you're not camping. Thanks for playing, goodbye.

LOL. I just thought of some... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

LOL. I just thought of something that's semi-related to this:

My wife just took a friend of a friend who's thinking of moving out here for dinner and drinks.

Before she got here, the woman said she really wanted to try Maryland crabs.

We live in Seattle.

:-) LOL

Is this the thread where we... (Below threshold)
Farmer Joe:

Is this the thread where we try to out-macho each other with how little we take when we go camping?

Personally, I like my creature comforts. I camp because it seems to be what you do at motorcycle rallies. So I'm pretty limited, in that I can only take what I can fit in my panniers and strap onto the rear seat of the bike. That said, a laptop often goes with me, and WiFi is a definite selling point as far as I'm concerned.

In general, I am of the min... (Below threshold)

In general, I am of the minimalist camping approach. On the other hand, I could see taking some of my technology to the extent that I wanted to work or whatever.

Last time I camped was in 1998, on a 3000 mile, 11 day trip to a familiy reunion in PEI and then a drive around Nova Scotia. I couldn't afford hotels, so I bought a tent and way too many provisions, and found that provincial park campgrounds are particularly cheap... and particularly sparse in amenities. I stayed in motels in Calais one night each way, a hotel in Nova Scotia one night, and in my car parked behind brush off the side of the road one night.

Anyway, I sometimes try to imagine what if I were doing that now, how different that I'd have a cell or Blackberry, and that I'd want to bring a laptop. Besides how different to have the kids along...

Is this the thread where... (Below threshold)
Peter F.:

Is this the thread where we try to out-macho each other with how little we take when we go camping?

No, more like who's the biggest techotard/techonerd that doesn't get the concept of camping and leaving the "real" world behind for the peace and quiet of nature.

And when I go backpacking or on a remote hike, the only pieces of technology I bring with me are my GPS, cell (which I NEVER turn on) and my .45, in case something wants to attack/eat me.

What was the name of this l... (Below threshold)

What was the name of this local campground?

The Paris Hilton Campground & Spa?

I thought the the point of ... (Below threshold)

I thought the the point of camping was to get AWAY from my TV, computer, and cell phone for a few days. My typical camping trip consists of a tent, fishing pole, and a cooler that I put in my car at night so I don't get eaten by a bear.

The point of camping is she... (Below threshold)

The point of camping is shelter while resting. From what and how are often optional.

On a voyage au Quebec depui... (Below threshold)

On a voyage au Quebec depuis longtemps, on reste au cote du route, quelques jeunes paysans, bouvant, on avait menacant, mais, a cause qu'on a parle Francais, comme ci comme ca, toutes ont venu bien.

LOL kim -- ca c'est la vie ... (Below threshold)

LOL kim -- ca c'est la vie avant garde!

I guess the point of camping is whatever the campers are looking for. But one would suppose that wireless and wifi access in the mountains of NH or VT (or anywhere) would have to be suspect, and so those who would actually complain about it (assuming the campground doesn't advertise "excellent wifi/wireless access" should be buried up to their ears and fed marshmallows.

They should have just pitch... (Below threshold)

They should have just pitched a pup tent in their back yard.

My sister's idea of roughin... (Below threshold)

My sister's idea of roughing it is staying at a Motel 6 instead of a Marriott. I realized how polarized we are on that issue when I gave her a ride to Starbucks the other day - she was suffering from Virginia Starbucks withdrawals during her visit to New England, but I digress: long story short, she had to roll up my passenger window AND manually lock the door of my 2000 Dodge Caravan, and I could see that she was a bit rusty on both - I had to actually walk her then-ten-year-old daughter through the window rolling last summer when they were in town, as she had NEVER seen a hand-crank on a car window in her life.

And it's just WRONG to have cable access or wi-fi anywhere near a campsite! At Acadia National Park in Maine, they won't even allow a cell phone on the property, from what I'm told.

Forget yourself for a minute - don't you think maybe the rest of us would like a quiet evening around the campfire without hearing you barking into the cell phone?

Well, my brother and I just... (Below threshold)

Well, my brother and I just went camping two and half weeks ago. Mathers Campground, Grand Canyon, AZ.

We brought our tent, a screen tent, chairs, our iPods, car chargers, and the laptop for WiFi(Which Grand Canyon doesn't have, but very useful in airports and hotel rooms). We didn't really use the iPods while hiking, nor the laptop. Hell I didn't even shower for 3 days! Peeeuuuu! But having the tech there was nice just in case we needed to check directions, or show confirmation emails.

And believe me, NOTHING beats beer basted steaks cooked over an open wood flame. Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm.

The Canyon is absolutely amazing.

Never experienced 120+ degree weather before. Lemme tell you, HOT doesn't describe how hot it really is.

My son, FastLaneFlash, is "... (Below threshold)

My son, FastLaneFlash, is "camping" at Combat Outpost Viking, Iraq. The closest "camp", Camp Baharia, sends a Px truck maybe once a month, which is great, unless you're on a multi-day patrol in 120 degree heat when the truck arrives. I guess you would have to classify what he and 149 of his buddies are doing as "exploring". Does this count as a "recreational activity"? I'm sure son would be glad if it does.

FastLaneFlash and I have committed to hiking the rest of The Appalachian Trail, which has its southern beginning less than 20 miles from home, when his tour is over. We'll get back to you on what it's like to spend more than three weeks (our longest trip) in the wilderness with your only possessions on your back.

Cable tv, satellite hookup, cell phone reception? I'm so glad these modern marvels keep people tethered to civilization and out of natural areas, where I don't want to see them anyway, when I'm out there. Solitude is something some of us seek, while most others, thankfully, are terrified of it.






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