The World Doesn’t Stop When You Don’t Have Cell Phone Service

Life off the grid isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

We haven’t had internet or cell phone service for much of the summer.

That means no chit chats on the phone with the grandkids. No checking the latest news on the internet. No tweets, no messages, no Sirius radio, no television.  Off the grid.

It amazes me the number of places where you can’t get a cell bar.

We didn’t have service in national forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula for a week, but I expected that. We’d drive for 20 minutes before seeing another car. Locals told us that AT&T had towers there. We have Verizon phones.

The lack of service was the running joke at Camp Rivervale in Mitchell, Indiana, where we replaced lights, painted and did other odd jobs on cabins as part of  a three-week NOMADS project. 

There are a lot of tall trees on Rivervale’s property, which is surrounded by cornfields. The camp caretakers told us that we couldn’t get service because the cell signals couldn’t get through the trees. Huh?

I have another theory.

Mitchell is a dead town. It’s claim to fame is that it was the home of Virgil “Gus” Grissom, a Gemini astronaut and the Carpenter school bus factory. The factory struggled for years before closing in 2001.

Gus Grissom

Mitchell’s main street has one café, three thrift stores and a lot of empty store fronts. It appears residents are selling their junk to each other.

In other words, there’s no reason for Verizon to invest in cell phone towers in the area. Who would use them?

We found that you might get a bar or two on the phone if you got up before 5 a.m. The service died by 7 when everyone else got up and began making phone calls and getting on line.

From then on phones dropped calls in mid-sentence and text messages telling us to break for lunch arrived hours late. Forget email or trying to get a weather forecast.

I had no idea what was going on in the world, which is a horror for a news junky.

So when my daughter Colleen called one afternoon for her weekly chat I asked what was happening in the world.

“Well, Trump wants to buy Greenland.”

See what you miss when you don’t have cell phone service.