Back on the Grid

Spending five days “off the grid” was not as bad as I thought. I survived and even enjoyed it.

Well, truth to be told, it wasn’t five full days.

It was 90 hours and 43 minutes.

On the Road…

Lake George

Last Wednesday we drove five hours to Rogers Rock State Park  at Lake George NY.

DH drove and I navigated. I used Maps for directions and Waze for traffic hazards and police sightings. I texted friends, played a few games, and Googled. For example, DH wanted to know, “What’s the name of the mountain near Rogers Rock?” and “When is full moon?”

I knew I Was Losing It…

I read that there was no cell service at the campground but suddenly, about 20 miles south of the park, the signal disappeared. There was a little blip of service when we passed through a small town but after that, nothing. I checked for bars and my phone showed the words, “No Service.”

I felt a little queasy.

But then, as we entered the campground, I picked up a WiFi network!
Its name was, “Not Free WiFi.”
I chuckled in spite of my disappointment.

I kept hoping.

At check in I asked the ranger, “Do you have WiFi?”
He laughed. “Nope. And no cell tower either.”

Augh! This is real. I’m officially “off the grid.”

Socializing without Phones…

After we set up our tent, we walked around the campground. As was planned, my sister and her family were there. They were first-time campers but set up their site like pros.

My sister’s neighbors and friends had lakefront sites. That night we joined a group of them for a campfire and drinks by the lake. The only light was from the fire and flashlights – no phone screens.

I noticed how the sounds of the night creatures mingled with the human voices. The lake shimmered in the moonlight with a darkness and beauty that I might have missed if I had a signal.

Let’s Pretend…

When DH and I finally crawled into our tent, we were tired. But I must admit that before I went to sleep that first night, I plugged my iPhone into my portable charger and played Jelly Splash until I ran out of stars.

Coming Clean…

As it turned out, I had service twice during the trip. On Thursday, my sister and I drove to Ticonderoga (about 10 minutes north) for ice and beer. I used the opportunity to check messages and text my sons.

Family photoThen on Saturday, DH and I, with YS (who arrived on Friday night), went boating on Lake George with my sister’s family. As I took photos with my iPhone, I was surprised to find a signal in a few places. I used the blips to send a photo to my mom and to OS.

 

Pros and Cons…

The best things about being “off the grid” are having time to talk to family and friends in person without the dinging of cell phones, and to be away from the political “BS” in the news. I also had some uninterrupted writing time without Internet distractions.

The worst thing about being off the grid for a few days is not being able to check in with family members who are not with you.

Back on the Grid…

As we drove home on Sunday, I enjoyed the scenery of the Lake George area.

Then, as soon as I got the first decent cell signal, I checked messages and my Etsy shop.

Whew! I’m back on the grid.

 

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  • DH = Dear Husband
  • YS = Younger Son
  • OS = Older Son
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Off the Grid

DH and I are venturing into the Adirondack Mountains to camp, in a tent, for five days. We have prior camping experience, so this is not a big deal. The campground is on Lake George and has great views. I’m sure the change in scenery will be inspirational and I’ll be a better writer because of it. But… there will be NO cell service and NO WiFi.

What? NO cell service? NO WiFi?
Whatever will I do? GASP!

I haven’t been “off the grid” for more than a few hours… in years. I’m getting a wee bit nervous about it.

I’ll take my devices anyway. I’ll have my iPhone and iPad as well as battery back up chargers… just in case I can pick up a weak signal in some corner of the campground. Of course I’ll be able to use them while DH drives on the way there and then again on the way home (5+ hour drive each way).

I need to download several of my favorite podcasts, a few guided meditations, and a couple of books on the Kindle app. Maybe I’ll even find a yoga video to download. If I can find things I can use without a signal, maybe I won’t suffer too much. Then I’ll just have to keep the batteries charged. I’m sure the ladies’ room has an outlet that I can use if necessary.

To combat my anticipated technology withdrawal, I’ve packed a few notebooks, a sketchbook, a novel, and my new book of Hemmingway’s short stories (purchased after our recent trip to Key West). I’ll take my new camera with lenses so I can practice my photography skills. And I have a quilt square to embroider. Embroidering by candlelight should be fun! (I’m joking about the candlelight… I have a very bright battery operated lantern.)

Or perhaps I should just concentrate on the camping experience. The hiking, the canoeing, the campfires, and sitting by the lake enjoying the sounds and scenery. I could be inspired to write my best short story ever, a fabulous essay, or another great blog post.

Being “Off the Grid” could be the best thing that ever happened to me… or not.

To find out how I survive five days in the “wilderness” (without technology), check back next week. Better yet, subscribe to my blog.