Technology on the Road

Technology on the Road

It can be tricky to stay appropriately connected with the outside world when parked in the middle of nowhere for months on end. We have been in some pretty remote places. Lue has even worked up in the Northwest Territories. I didn’t get to go on that adventure.

To give you an idea of our isolation, we stayed in places like:

Tall Cree

Cadomin
Wood Buffalo

With the technological advances that science has made available, we have most of the conveniences one would find in a conventional home. However, there are a few things with which we have become creative.

No WiFi

Mobile data is an expensive commodity. This means no binge watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix. We did that once and ended up with a $600 bill. Never again. Ever. We have since become more deliberate and conscious of what we watch. The flex plans we have with bell.ca and their service area are mediocre, hit or miss in rural areas or smaller towns. Still, better than the discount city-central service providers out there.

MiFi portable Wifi router

We also use a secondary data source. My tablet.

Galaxy S Tab 10.5 It was a total coincidence that I took this picture at 4:20, I swear!

No Signal

Where cell service is out of the question, cell boosters can only do so much. We have a mid-priced booster and it delivers a mid-range signal boost. Basically, it needs SOMETHING to work off of, so if we have a bar, it can probably boost it up to 2 or 3. However, when we are in the Bermuda Triangle of reception, there’s only one thing to do. Drive. I’ve driven 45 minutes to sit my ass on the side of a dirt road to get enough service to send a couple spreadsheets. That’s just how it is in the beautiful, undeveloped Great White North. After the bouts of frustration, it does make one re-think one’s priorities. Cause, really, there’s nothing else to do.

No Cable

The evolution of our satellite system is a tale of trial and error, and a permanent dent to my car bumper.

I am quite content without a TV and rarely turn it on when I am around it. I would rather have access to a vast library of music. But Lue likes to zone out to a big glowing box at the end of a long grueling day.

We started off with a regular satellite dish, what you would see on someone’s roof, only ours was mounted on an aluminium tripod. I got the system set up for Lue, for her birthday.

In Alberta, winds can reach well over 50 kilometers per hour. All. The. Time.

Resetting this dish was a BITCH! It would go something like this…

Lue would set it up outside, manually turning the thing in the general direction of the equator. Since we are always above the 60th parallel, it points pretty much to the horizon. I would stand inside, with the satellite setup page open on the TV, and wait until the signal reached above 75%. When this happened, I would hammer fist the wall to inform her. She would let then go of the dish. 9 times out of 10, the signal would be lost. Starting all over again…

This struggle went on for a year.

In Edson, Alberta, we happened upon an automatic satellite finding dish. You plug it in and let ‘er buck. Holy Shit. I got this nifty little upgrade for Lue, for her birthday. Needless to say, this was a huge relief. For both of us. Mostly her, cause she was the one outside setting the bloody thing up in the elements.

Unfortunately, about a week later, we had a slight disagreement while I was getting ready for work. I went to drive away and off to work when I heard a thud-crunch with simultaneous bump.

Fuck.

I had driven right over the bloody dish that “someone” had set up on the ground, right in front of my car. *Insert an exchange of glares here.*

I stormed back into the trailer and yelled, “I drove over the satellite dish.”

“Yup.” Was all that was returned.

Luckily, the thing still worked. Just not when it rained.

I eventually (and begrudgingly) replaced it with a new one, a year later. It, and our relationship, remain intact.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *