Portola Redwoods

IMG_9741It’s a good thing we have a very small trailer. We’d never been to Portola Redwoods before, but I was somewhat familiar with some of the roads, having grown up around there. For example, I remember La Honda being rather windy and hilly. That turned out to be a gross understatement, but then, it’s not like I ever towed trailers around those roads when I was a kid.

IMG_9763I was in a major brain fog by Friday afternoon, as teachers are now back in full swing. Kids come Monday. I hadn’t really looked at the route or anything, so I was just following the Acura navigation. Richard, despite previous vows, was still looking at Google Maps. At one point, when I was about to make the turn off up into the hills, he sort of strongly suggested we take “a more direct way.” Not his fault really, I should know better by now. But I listened and turned up Old La Honda Road and immediately regretted it. This road is so narrow, it barely counts as a single lane. And it has nonstop blind corners, and drop-offs, and no guard rails of any kind. No chance of either turning around or backing up once committed. Thankfully, we did not have to go too far before we came to a residential loop that provided a turn around. Sort of. Well, we made it anyway. You can bet we got some looks from cars and bikers alike wondering what the hell we were thinking trying to take a trailer up that.

IMG_9764We backtracked, slowly, and returned to the also narrow and windy road that took us to (not Old) La Honda and from there it was maybe ten miles before we got to Skyline, and then Alpine Road. Alpine down to the campground was mostly single lane, blind corners, and drop-offs. BUT, at least it was nicely paved, and it was an honest single lane, sometimes even sort of two lanes.

We got down to the park around 7 and we were both tired and hungry. Richard offered to make dinner since I had done a pretty good job not killing us. I put up the new and improved screen room awning while he cooked. Glass of white, and all was right with the world.

IMG_9751I’m going to go all fan girl about the awning now. Ever since before we even got Dory, I have envisioned a screened in area attached to the trailer, but no one made exactly what I wanted. I have spent hours pondering separate screen rooms, only to convince myself I’d never put one up. I’ve come back to this idea repeatedly and Pahaque delivered. I’m super happy. What they did was hard sew a front screen wall across the front opening. They already sell a screen wall, but it’s elastic toggle attached and there are openings along the top for bugs to get in. The sewn in seam works perfectly. Then they added screen mesh panels to the sides. I think, with a couple of strategically placed suction cup hooks, I can seal up that sucker pretty good. Even so, with the side flaps hanging loosely, there were maybe two flies that got in all weekend. And there were definitely mosquitos there. I thoroughly enjoyed napping in my zero gravity chair, feeling protected and mosquito free. I also got to do my evening yoga stretches outside while Richard was taking a shower, thus improving nighttime routine efficiency significantly. If I could sew, I would have made this exact thing for myself. Instead, people good at making things made the absolute perfect solution to spending outside Dory time with fewer bugs. If I wanted to go nuts with it, I could work on a screened skirt to go across the bottom, but really, we were virtually bug free without it.

IMG_9756Saturday we actually got my pretty blue bike off Dory (it’s been a while) and we took a trail along an old railway line. But first, you have to go up a pretty steep up and down paved trail. We walked our bikes on the steepest sections. It wasn’t very long, so it was ok. Once on the Old Haul Road trail, it was much flatter, but unpaved. We came across many a sign telling us the trail was closed and dangerous. Did we listen? Well, we worried, but continued on because other people had told us it was ok. There were a couple places I wouldn’t have tried if it had recently rained because it looked like the whole road was falling away. For those sections a bit of walking and one spot of scrambling was required, but we felt like it was all something we could handle. Eventually, we’d gone plenty far, had lunch, and turned back. We figure it was about 12 miles all told and that was a pretty good day. Back at the Visitor Center, we enjoyed M&Ms and a fudgicle. Yum. Then nappy time, then dinner. Then bug free yoga stretches, then deep sleep.

Sunday we took a different route, recommended by a ranger, along Skyline primarily, all the way to Highway 92. We totally should have gone that way to begin with. Much easier. The ranger’s eyes got all wide when I told her we’d gone up Old La Honda by accident. Those same eyes appeared when I asked if we should continue on Alpine to the coast. Nuf said. We needed to head over to Half Moon Bay to dump tanks and that was a great spot for lunch. Richard was not allowed to ask if there were available sites. First day of school Monday, so “just one more night” not an option. Summer is officially over!

Total miles: 87.8, 15.1 mpg, 3 hours 22 min (including wrong way and backtrack). Site: 4, private, away from the thick of other campers, private, no solar, no cell service. Richard got 3g back at the Visitor Center which was enough to check email and texts, but nothing more.

Donner Lake

IMG_9723And thus endeth our summer experiment. Our last stop before coming home was Donner Lake. Originally, we were thinking we’d maybe last up to three weeks. I had a meeting on the calendar for August 1st and I was thinking we’d be home in plenty of time before that. But the whole work/travel thing for Richard went so swimmingly well that we just kept extending our time and adding to our destination list. So we were aiming for getting home the last weekend of July. Then, well, how about Sunday? Then, Monday. Then my meeting got cancelled and we didn’t end up getting home until Wednesday and that was only because we had forgotten to cancel that week’s Blue Apron delivery. It went really well is what I’m saying. Sure, there were things we had to figure out in order for me to not feel cut off and lonely since Richard really did work part of the time. But we figured it out as we went.

IMG_9710Which is also how we handled campsites. I truly had no idea it would go as well as it did in terms of finding places to stay without reservations ahead of time. Sometimes we were able to book the day before, sometimes we called on the road, and sometimes we just showed up. What I liked about that was that it gave us the ability to be flexible. Want to stay an extra day somewhere? You can do that without messing up a whole chain reaction of reservations. One thing is for sure: do not try national park first come first served campgrounds on Fridays or Saturdays. Popular places were much easier to get into during the week. And there seem to be enough last minute cancellations, even in popular parks, that often times things just work out. As long as you’re not counting on a great site, and you’re willing to stay in weird places sometimes, it’ll probably be fine. And we were totally prepared to stay in a Walmart parking lot if need be.

IMG_9716Donner Lake itself was a nice place to stop. There was strong LTE for Richard so he was able to fully work on Tuesday. Monday we got to be a bit lazy and Tuesday I got to jump in the lake with my kayak when it got hot. This is a very popular lake and there were people and boats everywhere. But the campground has a nice, less populated, feel.

As far as things that worked well this trip, we officially endorse Turkish towels, the Oxygenics shower head (as long as you also get a separate flow controller), and the Sun Saver Duo solar controller. Because of the new solar controller, we did not have to worry at all about charging the espresso machine battery. It also is able to pump more amps into the system when there’s sun. We didn’t use our portable grey water tank a single time. We also endorse putting a flannel bottom sheet on top of the mattress pad, which lives inside of a flannel duvet cover. The reason for this is that, at the end of a long trip, you just pull out the top and bottom sheets to wash, without having to go through the contortions of getting the mattress pad out of the cover. For future trips, we will be using battery powered, rather than rechargeable, toothbrushes. It turned out we were off grid for long enough that both toothbrushes had to default to manual mode because there was no other way to charge them up. We finished “Lost,” watched the new seasons of “Red Dwarf,” and started re-watching old episodes of “Star Trek Voyager,” before being willing to dive into “The Sopranos.”

All in all, this trip could not have been better.

Total miles: 232.2, 18.4 mpg, 5 hours 10 min. Total miles from Donner to home: 173.5, 20.3 mpg (all downhill), 3 hours 43 min. Site 8. Great site, close to the lake. Lots of space between sites. No electric, but nice bathrooms and water spigots. Some, but not lots, of solar through the trees. Good LTE for both of us.

Hickson Petroglyphs RA

IMG_9694We love finding places like this. They’re like little unexpected gems, hidden in between popular destination campgrounds. I only knew about this one because it appeared on the Allstays campground map and I was looking for something along Highway 50, roughly in the middle, between Great Basin and the Sierras.

Before reviewing this place though, I want to note that taking Highway 50, rather than 80, across Nevada has given me a whole new appreciation for our neighbor to the East. One of the things we learned about the geography of this place is that its hundreds of ranges and valleys were created as the result of stretching in the Earth’s crust when the tectonic plates pulled apart. Stretch marks. IMG_9663And that’s about how attractive I have always found the place when I’ve crossed it as quickly as possible on my way somewhere else. Highway 50 doesn’t try to avoid the ranges, so the route is more direct, though definitely less flat. That means you get to avoid all of the trucking traffic. It is known as “The Lonliest Road in America” for a reason, and I found it to be quite beautiful and far more relaxing. Now that we know about this little midway spot, I think this will be our route of preference heading East.

IMG_9679Hickison Petroglyphs Recreation Area is off the highway just to the East of Austin, maybe a mile up a gravel road to a small campground. There are no services and the vault toilets are… well… it’s a free campground so you can’t complain too much. There is a short interpretive trail that will take you to some of the rock carvings. The nice thing was how remote the place feels from everything. We shared the campground with two other campers and I’d be surprised if it ever fills up. The sites along the edge have wind screens over the picnic tables and a nice view of the valley. At night, the only lights you can see come from the stragglers on the highway. The stars are nuts. We really enjoyed this spot.

Total miles: 190.6, 17.9 mpg, 3 hours 50 min.

Great Basin NP

IMG_9579I have to say, one of the things I have been most pleased with on this trip has been the fact that altitude is just not nearly as much of an issue as I thought it would be. For about a year, we’ve been mindful of the elevation in any campground we wanted to go to because I had an unpleasant experience at Lake Tahoe. This trip has proved, I think, that I don’t need to be worried about it. I will still take precautions, like not drinking alcohol, and downing tons of water. But if I can be fine up at 10k, it’s all good.

IMG_9582We weren’t sure if we were going to make it all the way to Great Basin on Thursday, or try to get in early Friday. There’s really not a lot along Highway 50 though, so I just kept driving. We got to the visitor center in Baker around 3 and they said there were sites, so we headed for the largest campground at Baker Creek. To get there, you have to traverse about 10 min of gravel road. We found a great site with lots of solar and an amazing view, with just the small downside of being very unlevel. That’s where the BAL Leveler shines, as does the Caravan Mover. After a little creative stabilizing, we were in and very happy campers. IMG_9580Oh yeah, except for the fact that I whacked Bruce’s front bumper again, this time on a rock. I tell myself that he’s still a happy car because he gets to go to national parks rather than to the mall and soccer practice, like most other luxury SUVs. He’s a luxury camping car, and that means he’s gonna get battle scars. Sorry. And I promise I’ll get that fixed!

IMG_9627Thursday evening we got a surprise! As we were sitting inside Dory, another Alto pulled past us in the campground. I was so excited, I ran outside to flag down the owner. Luckily, he was not at all put off and turned out to also be from California. The family is super nice and was thrilled to be introduced to the Altoistes group. We have seen one other accidental Alto, way back in Acadia, two years ago. Then recently we saw a Safari Condo van in the Tetons. But all other Alto sightings in the wild have been arranged. So this was a big treat for us.

IMG_9600Friday we had the whole day to explore, except Richard needed to get in some good work at the outset. Not a bad remote office at all! I couldn’t get tickets to the cave tour until Saturday, so we decided to do the Bristlecones hike in the afternoon. This trail started after climbing up the park road to 10,000 feet at Wheeler Peak. It wasn’t a long or difficult trail, and the payoff was a huge grove of hundreds of Bristlecone Pines. We’ve seen a couple before, but never a grove like this. Many of them are thousands of years old!

We had dinner that night in a place called Kerouac’s. Years ago, when Richard biked from home to Zion, he made his way through Baker. He remembered having dinner at Kerouac’s and pitching his tent in their back yard. They still aim to provide a welcoming atmosphere to travelers on the road. Nice place, highly recommend.

IMG_9651Saturday we got to do the Lehman Caves tour and that was a highlight of this whole trip. I learned all about how the cave decorations are formed and also that a terrible movie was made in the 60s called “The Wizard of Mars.” I have not watched it. If you do, you can’t blame me for the loss of over two hours of your life. Apparently, the producers were allowed to flood the cave for filming. But then, in the 20s, the caves were used as a speakeasy and high end party or wedding destination. No one knew back then that it took thousands of years for the formations to grow, so Lehman told guests they could break off whatever stalactites they wanted, to take as souvenirs. He thought they would simply grow right back. You can see rooms in the caves that must have been impassible with the dense, hanging ornaments. Many of them were simply cleared out to make room for people to gather and party. Our tour guide also told us how the shift from the Forest Service to the National Park Service was a tumultuous one. I never knew this, but the mission of the Forest Service is about utilizing natural resources, whereas the National Park Service’s purpose is preservation. That’s a conflict I was unaware of, but it explains why there was so much “FS” graffiti on the ceiling of the “Inscription Room.”

IMG_9656Saturday afternoon, Richard pondered riding up the Wheeler Peak road. But first, afternoon espresso back in Dory. Our timing was such that right when we got back, a big hail storm moved in, so we hunkered down and enjoyed being safe inside, rather than biking in hail. After an episode of “Star Trek Voyager,” the skies cleared and we decided to venture just one more short hike before the end of the day. So we chose the Baker Creek Trail as a little 3 mile loop. IMG_9657If you look closely at the trail map on the trailhead sign, it would seem to indicate that the return trail, bottom part of the loop, crosses Baker Creek at several points. This is untrue. We happened to pass our Alto friend on the trail and he gave me his trail map. Everything we did made sense on that map, and did not make sense on either the sign posted at the trailhead, nor on Galileo Pro, which is what Richard relies on at all times. Going up the trail was a steady climb, and I’m really slow. I could say it was the elevation, but I think I’m just slow. So it was getting kind of late before we finally hit the bridge and junction to start heading back down. IMG_9662I was expecting it to be all downhill, and it wasn’t. And that caused Richard to look at Galileo Pro, which told him we were on an entirely different trail. So he panicked and insisted we go back the way we came. I maintain that if we had continued just another hundred feet, we would have seen the next junction, a clearly marked sign, and probably a moving sidewalk that would have taken us right back to Dory. With cocktails provided along the way. His way meant we had to go all the way back uphill, then downhill along a million switchbacks, easily tripling the distance. When I’m mad, I am a super speedy hiker. This is dangerous information for Richard to have. He just did his best to follow, thinking, “You go girl!” as I tore off down the trail at a record pace. Even so, it was well dark by the time we got to the campground. My hiking backpack now has flashlights and I have made a decree that we will no longer hike without paper maps.

Sunday we headed out again, but we were both tempted to hike the other side of the trail, just to see. We’ll have to leave that for another day. Great park, definite highlight. The stars are outrageous with no light pollution and a high elevation.

Total miles: 288.7, 17.7 mpg, 5 hours 56 min. Site 36 Baker Creek Campground. This site was great, though not very level and you have to go over 3 miles of good gravel road. Sites 23 & 24 looked nice. Site 20 was huge. We thought this one had the nicest view and was close enough to the creek to hear, but not see. The upper loop is all tent sites. The Upper and Lower Lehman Creek campgrounds are paved and we saw some bigger rigs there. All the campgrounds have vault toilets, but they’re nice. No showers or power, but water spigots. There is a dump near the Lehman visitor center.

Brigham City

IMG_9562Reluctant as we were to leave the Tetons, I will say, we got to enjoy a very beautiful drive.  Heading south, down Highway 89, we followed the Snake River for a good long time. Eventually, the route takes you past Bear Lake and then up a significant, sustained climb. Once you finally descend, the grade is more gentle and you end up going through Logan Canyon in Utah. Wow, what a lovely area this is! In fact, overall, Utah seems to have more than its fair share of beautiful scenery.

IMG_9559We blew through the city of Logan as we exited the canyon and made our way to a one nighter in Brigham City. This place was called a “Journey KOA,” which apparently means it is geared towards one nighters. I’m not exactly sure how that is different from a regular KOA, but it was certainly cheaper. Nevertheless, they had laundry facilities, and wifi, and we took the opportunity to run a hose down the toilet to see if we could get the sensor to stop always reading “2” or “3” even when we have just dumped. The procedure worked for all of about ten minutes and it read “1.” Then we used it one time and it went back to “3.” Oh well.

One thing I’ll report on the recharging front: since Richard installed the duo solar controller, we have not had to even think about charging up the coffee battery. That is a definite win. Our electric toothbrushes on the other hand…. Richard is looking into a 12v solution for them. I did point out that I was pretty sure manual toothbrushes existed and could be used in a pinch.

Total miles: 224.7, 19.5 mpg, 5 hours 47 min.


Grand Tetons NP

IMG_9478This place will certainly go down as one of our all time favorite parks. The scenery is just breathtaking and there are so many things to do. Still, it does not feel overwhelming or crowded like Glacier did, even though there were lots of people.

We headed out early Sunday and drove about sixty miles north, following the Snake River, until we got to Gros Ventre (which means “big belly” I am told) Campground. Our anxious fingers were crossed, hoping that because it was a Sunday and we were there early, we’d get a site. And guess what. We did. No problem. Richard asked specifically for a site with lots of solar and they put us at the end of A loop, in site 73. It was perfect. There was a view of the Tetons in the background and enough solar to keep the battery charged, even after a full day of rainy skies. We were pretty giddy.

IMG_9457We had the whole day to explore and had reserved three nights. We first went to the Visitor Center in Moose to get the lay of the land. We then drove up the park road to the northernmost park, just to check it out, stopping for lunch on our way at the Jackson Lake Lodge. Lizard Creek is a smaller campground and we came away deciding we preferred our spot because of the great solar and view. Lizard Creek would be very nice also though, close to Jackson Lake, and with more of a woodsy feel.

Every inch you drive in the Tetons is stunning. The Grand Tetons were apparently named by a couple of “lonely, isolated men” and it translates to “big breasts.” So there you go.

IMG_9471That afternoon, we took a short hike up to Taggart Lake. The trail followed an idyllic creek and wound its way through beautiful alpine forests, dotted with wild flowers everywhere. The trail was easy and spectacular. The park apparently needs to put up signs that pictorially indicate it is not ok to pick wildflowers, because that information was only posted in English. However, the dog symbol with the big red line through it was ubiquitous, and that didn’t stop some people from bringing their dogs on the trails. Oh well.

That evening, we went into Jackson for dinner in a Thai place, called “Thai Me Up,” that was pretty good. We did a little shopping in town, then back to Dory for a deep, sound, sleep.


IMG_9480Monday we had big plans. Some of them worked out, some did not. Richard’s plan had to do with biking from our site, up Signal Mountain, and back down to Jenny Lake. My plans involved kayaking at either Jenny Lake or String Lake, so we’d be able to meet up there (the lakes are next to each other). On my way however, I ran into our Finding-Dory-in-Zion Altoiste friend, Shannon, who just happened to be at the same national park at the same time as us. Again! She was waiting along the side of the road for her husband to do an impressive alpine run, so I pulled over and chatted with her. Richard just so happened to bike up to us as we were standing there. Group pic!

Shannon, had a lot of insider information about the park, so I started thinking about shifting my plans a little. Unfortunately for me, one plan after another started getting thwarted. I tried the “secret” launch point down a gravel road at the bottom of Jenny Lake. But it was full. I then tried to force the car into a spot that only sort of looked like it could be a spot. I heard a crunch and realized I had run the front passenger side bumper into a log. That was very upsetting. There wasn’t a whole lot of visible damage, but it’s there. Drivable, yes. Functional, yes. But I scraped Bruce up and that really threw me.

Then I tried the normal parking areas at both Jenny Lake and String Lake. Big nopes there, as there were so many people trying to do the same thing, they blocked off the parking lots from further traffic. I did not feel like hauling my kayak the distance I’d have to park away from the lakes, so I then tried to see if I could put in at the Jackson Dam and do the five mile easy float Shannon had told me about. I drove all the way up to the dam, but there was zero cell service and logistically, I couldn’t figure out how to make any of that plan work with Richard’s plan. So I gave up and drove back down to find him at Signal Mountain.

IMG_9488His day was going quite well. I was cheered by seeing a huge elk right by the road and Richard, feeling kind of bad for me at that point, said that he’d drive me anywhere and drop me off if I still wanted to try kayaking. So we headed back to String Lake and I went for a cleansing afternoon paddle for a couple of hours. This lake is perfect for kayaks, as there are no motorized boats allowed. It is also very long and thin, as the name would suggest, so there’s lots of shoreline to stare at. By the time I was ready to get out, the crowds had thinned and parking in the lot was no problem.

Dinner was takeout Chinese, which was perfect after a long day.


IMG_9544Our last day in the park was rainy. Besides the fact that it made the river float plan less likely, it suited us fine. I had purchased rainy weather gear after our experience in Zion and I was eager to try it out. Plus, the rain made for nice, cool temperatures and fewer people out on the trails. All good. We took some good advice and went up to Phelps Lake, but first we stopped at the Laurence S. Rockefeller Preserve. This is a must do experience. I’ve never seen anything like it. It is a beautifully architected visitor center, with a room dedicated to a full surround sound nature experience. I swear, you will believe you are in the middle of a wilderness rainstorm in that room. Every detail, down to the natural light and cast bronze railings, is just beautiful.

IMG_9509Likewise, the trail that takes you gently up to the lake is so nicely laid out, with lookout points and boardwalks that allow you to fully immerse yourself in the spectacular surroundings, it has to be one of the most beautiful trails I have ever seen. There were meadows filled with wildflowers. The rushing river cascaded over rocks as the trail followed it up to the lake. And then, the lake itself, with the Tetons as a backdrop, appears as a reward at the top. We decided to do the loop around the lake since it wasn’t looking like kayaking was going to happen. The gentle rain steadily increased and I can confidently say that my jacket and rain hat both do the job quite nicely. It made the hike very enjoyable, as opposed to wet and cold.

fullsizeoutput_10b9A highlight of the hike was spotting a comically adorable little tailless mammal, jumping around in the rocks. I thought I’d seen something about Pikas in the Visitor Center, and sure enough, we were lucky enough to not only see a Pika, but chat with it for a few minutes while it jumped around and amused us with its huge cheeks. Very fun.

The hike ended up being close to seven miles and I was pooped. For the record, I was actually pooped at six miles, but Advil does wonders for sore feet. I still wanted to at least see the stretch of the river float area, even if I wasn’t going to get in the water this time. It looks like it would be very fun as long as you can work out how to manage the drop off and pick up. You would also need to be pretty aware of the take out point, or you could find yourself in the “Intermediate” section of the river. Not something I’d want to try. That goes on the list for the next time we visit.

This is definitely a park we’d like to come back to. Just wonderful.

Riverside Park, ID

IMG_9435Today was a good example of how things work out, one way or another. We have been armed with lots of resources for finding possible overnight campgrounds, but have been playing it one day at a time, hoping for open sites, or first come, first served locations. This works out pretty well actually, unless it is a Friday or a Saturday. So on this particular Saturday, we were heading toward a very popular destination for summer campers – the Palisades Reservoir on the border between Idaho and Wyoming. Our plan was to head toward the general vicinity and stop at places as we went.

The first place we actually stopped, Riverside, was not listed at all in our resources. And the place we wanted to go, Calamity, appeared to have lost its most direct route, in favor of a six mile gravel access road. So we checked out Riverside, but we unable to locate the camp host. Still, it looked like there were places free. We decided to head up the road just a little to the next place because it was right on the reservoir. There we spoke to a camp host who not only told us they were full, but also told us that our next several options along the way were full. So, we decided to go back and go with Door #1 at Riverside.

This time the camp host came riding up on his golf cart and started …. helping. This guy was a character. And he was also probably the highest individual I have ever met. He even pointed out how dilated his pupils were, so that I’d understand why he was able to deal with impatient campers in such a laid back manner. It’s a good thing the maximum speed of his golf cart was slow enough that I didn’t worry when he took me around to all the campsites so I could choose one. In the end, we had a nice site secured, and a best buddy of a camp host. What could be better?

IMG_9433We had some time left in the day, so we drove across to the other side of the river to look for hiking trails. We didn’t find any. But we did find a constant scattering of RVs and campers over there, who seemed to have just found nice spots and set up by the river. We weren’t sure how that all worked, like do you need a permit to do that? Can you do that anywhere? Or how would you know where it was ok? So many questions.

IMG_9436For dinner, I grilled up some bratwurst and asparagus and we watched Ospreys taking off from their nests, high up on Osprey poles. That was new information. Apparently it’s a thing to put up tall poles for Ospreys so they don’t nest close to power lines. After learning about that, of course we started noticing all of the Osprey nests on top of power lines.

We need to start a clothing line. Instead of the typical “Happy Camper” motif with cute little trailers and smiley faces, we want to have a line called “Anxious Camper.” It would have a smiley face too, but maybe with worry lines or something. We do tend to worry about nearly everything, despite the fact that it does all work itself out, one way or another, every time. I mean, we still enjoy the experience, we just have a lot of free floating anxiety that usually only disappears after a five mile hike. Like we’re neurotic dogs who need to have a run every day to calm us down. We’re working on it.

Total miles: 208.8, 17.3 mpg, 4 hours 32 min. There were hookup sites at this place, but we took one closer to the river. There was pretty good cell service. Verizon has been consistently better than ATT for this whole trip.