Coming Unplugged

We knew that cell phone coverage in Canada would be an issue. My phone plan flat out does not include Canada. Rich's phone is unique in that it uses wifi for its primary access, so he occasionally has connectivity. To rectify the situation, we intended to buy a cheap prepaid phone in Canada, but such plans to not include calls to the US. Not willing to spend an arm and a leg for service, we're just going to make do.

First, we're testing the limits of our equipment. Rich figured out he can still send and receive email on his phone when there is cell service. Texting seems to work as well, on the same basis. Sounds good, but we're traveling through remote areas of Ontario. We just have to hope for signals if we run into an emergency and need to notify family back home.

Naturally, wifi is a valid lifeline. When we can find it. We suffered mediocre breakfast food and barely passable coffee one morning for the glory of a fast internet connection. We rapidly connected, checked email, published blog posts and checked in with Facebook. We've learned to work offline ahead of time, using our scarce internet time to push content to the web and download sites to read later.

Sunset over the Ottawa River

Normally we would get our internet fix in the evenings. Even cheap motels offer free internet. But campsites don't provide the same luxury. We thought we had it made when we found a cute little restaurant attached to a motel for dinner last night. Sure enough they had wifi. Unfortunately, the waitress was more focused on food than technology, and we never did get that password. But there were other compensations. Instead of lingering over our tablets we got back to our campsite in time for a beautiful sunset.

With each passing day, the withdrawal symptoms have lessened. Checking email seems less urgent. Reading at night wins out over composing blog posts. Life will go on if we don't post our latest pictures on Facebook. We've trained hard for our Grand Gaspé Cycling Tour, and this final journey to the start of that trip is preparing us in another way. The Canadian Maritimes are guaranteed to present even greater technology challenges. Fortunately, we've also learned a trick. What seems to be extinct in the US is still available in Canada. If we remember how to use it, we can still call home. Even when we're unplugged.

Canadian Phone Booth


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