Dry Camping without Cell Service? No Problem.

We left Las Vegas knowing that we were driving backward in time. To the era some of you may be familiar with, the dark ages when THERE WERE NO CELL PHONES!* 

The Pads, Death Valley, dry camping, no cell service
Good bye cell phone.

For several spectacular days we went dry camping without cell service at The Pads, where the vast majority of RVers, vandwellers and hobos don’t stay long because they don’t know what to do without a wifi signal. 

Every day we awoke with gratitude for our RV DataSat internet system. This allows us to still work and earn a living. But we had one less type of device to ding, ping and buzz us throughout the day. It was heaven!

dry camping without cell service, Death Valley, RVing
Online but no cell phone? Paradise.

Sure, we could have used the RV DataSat VOIP system compatible with our internet system. But we didn’t. Before we left Vegas I changed our voice mail to essentially say “Don’t leave a message here during the next ten days, because we won’t call you back.” And you know what? Nobody left a message! 

Without the phone ringing we enjoyed long, productive afternoons on our terms. We could focus on real work without any unexpected distractions. Jim and I hardly spoke to one another all afternoon as we became caught up with the peace and quiet we desperately needed after Las Vegas madness. And it didn’t hurt to dry out a little too.

dry camping without cell service, Death Valley, RVing
This is where you’ll find the best boat drinks in Vegas.

From the fabulous Golden Tiki Bar with it’s tropical blender drinks and live jazz . . .

dry camping without cell service, Death Valley, RVing
And the jazz men live here too.

to the fun chaos of Fremont Street . . . 

dry camping without cell service, Death Valley, RVing
While on a scavenger hunt, she ate a cauliflower in a bar.

Our minds needed a rest and we got it by turning off the damn phone. Yeah, we still worked many hours. But it was fun to relive what it was like WHEN THERE WERE NO CELL PHONES.

dry camping without cell service, Death Valley, RVing
Solitude is a state of mind, right?

Like many good things our tranquility came to an end. This week we find ourselves caught up in California chaos, which we’ll be a part of until May. One of these days I’ll look back on that time at The Pads and remember: the phone has an “off” switch. I just might use it again.

dry camping without cell service, Death Valley, RVing
Now if only the #NoDroneZone existed everywhere.

*with props to Bruce Springsteen who uses this tagline to describe what life was like on his many cross-country road trips during the 70s and 80s. He writes about it in his awesome autobiography Born to Run.

10 thoughts on “Dry Camping without Cell Service? No Problem.”

  1. Hey Rene! I do love the idea of being able to go places Verizon can’t take us. I’m a complete newbie to satellite internet from a mobile sense, so I have some questions:

    1. Is the dish permanently affixed to your roof? If so have you had any damage from tree branches?
    2. Do you have to re-position it manually, or does it position itself automatically? Or does it not need to move at all??


    • Hi Maya. Yah you and Ryan would be good candidates for a system I think. To answer your questions:

      1) Yes, permanently attached and automatically raises, find the sat, then lowers when we’re leaving. No damage from tree branches scraping against it, but you don’t want to park underneath a tree anyways or you’ll get a lousy signal, if at all.

      2) See above. Our link about the RVDataSat system will tell you more. And you can always email us with any questions. It’s our second sat system and we’re users #1 for this one (literally the first RVers who went online with this particular system).

      • That is so neat! Thanks. I wouldn’t park under the tree, but you know how it is driving on some streets to get to your destination, and having to lower it manually each time would probably get old. You scrape on branches no matter what you do in some places.This system sounds like a definite consideration. Something to put on our wish list for sure.

        • Maya, you wouldn’t drive with it up, it’s too much wind resistance. BUT, lowering and raising is literally the click of a button on your phone, laptop or the controller. It’s ridiculously easy to do.

  2. Isn’t it amazing how much enjoyment we can get without all that phone crap?! 🙂 I have taken a couple (and another one coming up) of vacations where there was no cell service. No withdrawals from it either!

    • I agree Sherry. It’s easy to tell yourself to turn off the phone, but how many of us ever actually do it? I sure don’t. Only until there’s just no option to gab on the phone do we truly turn off and get all the benefits of being at least a little more unplugged.


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