Today was going to be a ‘tie up loose ends’ kind of day. The plan was to take the long way to Lake City, FL, which is about an hour’s drive (if you stay on paved roads) from the campground. Once there, I would find a McDonald’s (or Starbucks) and use their WiFi to update the blog using the laptop. I’d also planned to bring laundry along and wash/dry if I got the chance.
Why would I drive that far just for a WiFi signal? couldn’t I have gone into Fargo where I would’ve had Verizon service, and then setup a hotspot with the phone, and update the blog using the laptop? The short answer as it turned out was yes. However, there were a number of reasons why I didn’t do it that way.
- The ride to Lake City itself was a big part of the plan, I wanted to meander around, including going into the National forest.
- I didn’t think that the hot spot would have given me enough ‘juice’ to download the photos onto the blog. On my Verizon plan (which I’ve come to regard as ‘it sucks’), after you use 15 GB of total data, speeds when using hot spot slow down to only 600kps, which is dial up slow. Since I usually go through that much data quickly each month, I didn’t even think about using the hot shot option, I thought I had already exceeded the limit.
- I wanted to get a square meal and I wasn’t up to doing it myself.
And why did I pick Lake City, FL?
- It’s hard to find WiFi and especially free WiFi. It’s difficult to find in large cities and next to impossible in rural areas. I remember when travelling in Africa how Internet Cafes were such a big deal, they were everywhere, not so here in the USA. McDonalds is one of the few places where it’s offered and free. Lake City has two McDonalds.
- Lake City is South of the campground. It would have been just as long (miles) to go to any town with a McDonalds whether I went West, North, or East. I hadn’t been in this area so I thought it would be fun to see some of it as I was doing errands. Kind of like work and play at the same time.
- I guess I just wasn’t ready yet to say goodbye to Florida.
Well, things don’t always go as planned and in my case, things seldom go as planned.
I started out later than originally planned. The alarm failed to go off, yeah that’s it, the alarm didn’t go off. Because of that, plus add in the detours I took, which ended up taking more than twice as long to get there, it would have put more out over 10:00 pm, so it had to be a pass on the laundry.
The drive to Lake City was enjoyable. I got off the paved highway and took dirt back through the National Forest for approx. eight miles. It turned out great, first, the views and vibe were so cool, and second, the dirt turned to asphalt, becoming a county road that eventually brought me into Lake City.
Found the McDonalds and after ordering a soda, found a seat and pulled the laptop out of its bag. Turned the laptop on, clicked to connect with McDonalds WiFi and ta-da, IT WOULD NOT CONNECT. I just drove 50 miles through the freakin woods, and it won’t connect… I was frustrated but remained calm, I didn’t want people looking at me with that ‘what’s wrong with him look’ as I’m having a mental melt down, talk about embarrassing.
I’m not sure why it wouldn’t connect. After leaving Micky D’s and getting in the truck, I went online with the tablet and tried to find out what the message I was getting meant, in the end I never did find out what the problem was. Sometimes its hell being computer illiterate. It was on to Plan B.
Plan B was going over to the Longhorn Steak House where I had decided to have dinner, but first, sit in their lot and try and update the blog in a kind of jerry-rigged (not sure what that means but I’ve heard it used before) manner. I thought I could copy and paste from word to the blog, then download the words using the hot spot, and go back using the tablet to download the photos. Time consuming to be sure.
Caught a break. I tried just for kicks to see if I could download a photo using the hot spot and sure enough, it worked, what’s going on I thought? Did some checking and found that I hadn’t exceeded the 15 GB threshold, so the photos were shooting through at high speed, that’s why I said, I could have done all this in Fargo. It made for a faster process but still one that took some time. After about an hour sitting in the lot downloading, I decided to break and go inside the steakhouse.
Overall, it was a good experience. It reminded me of an Outback Steak House with a pseudo western theme instead of a pseudo Australian one. It defiently was a step up from McDonalds.
Went back to the truck and spent another 90 minutes finishing up downloading. The sun had set by the time I was ready to head back to the trailer.
The ride back was mostly in the dark, but I only had to take a couple of roads and they were in great shape. I like the reflective tabs on the road, they really light the road up. One of the problems back home that I have when driving in the dark is it being hard to see the center line because they’re so faded. The reflectors on the road tonight almost look like lights illuminating the road.
I was hoping to see some life forms on the way back but alas, didn’t see anything. Good news: Made it back by 10:00 pm curfew.
Even though things didn’t go as planned, everything worked out in the end, I’m thankful for that.