My Arm Isn’t Long Enough to Get Cell Phone Service

Yeah, let’s just pretend this is me and I’ve got legs like that. (Photo by Amos Bar-Zeev-Unsplash))

We’ve been traveling for the last 30 days.

Two rental cars, 3500 miles, and eight states later, we’re back home, and I’ve got stories of bumfuzzled bathrooms, bad hotels, and bawdy folks we met on the road.

So for the next few months…you’ll be on the blog road with me, looking at how we’re all weird,  wonderful, and different and yet the same in the strangest ways.

It accidentally turned out that some of our traveling buddies were Australians.  We’d run into them in the strangest places. It seems that their summer was just beginning and they joyfully chose to spend it in the largest and smallest towns you can imagine in the U.S.  It was quite a hoot exchanging cooking techniques for grits, okra, and kangaroo.

But first…let’s talk about cell phone service.

You Need To Know This If You’re Traveling Soon

I don’t care how many color-spotted maps flash across your TV screen, let me tell you, there are LOTS of places in the U.S. which show NO SERVICE or limp around with one puny bar.  Many, many times on the trip, I scanned the countryside like Custer checking for silhouettes on the horizon.

“STOP!!!” I’d scream at Dallas Cowboy Fan, if I saw a tower and a signal bar appear for a brief moment as we topped a hill.I’d stand outside the car, which Dallas Cowboy Fan nicknamed “Gutless” and wave my phone over my head. If I was lucky, I could call a motel. If I wasn’t lucky, we’d find ourselves at the local Burro Inn for the night.

Sometimes I couldn’t spot a cell tower anywhere.  But then I discovered why.  There’s a new trend to hide those ugly ol’ towers. I only looked for towers that appeared as poles with panels on the top. If they appeared like any of the ones below, I missed them (and so did my phone).

Photo via J.Drew on Reddit

Tucson Tower (Photo via J.Drew on Reddit

Photograph by Aggie Phil at

College Station, TX (Photograph by Aggie Phil at

Epiphany Lutheran Church, Lake Worth FL (Photo by It1224-Wiki)

Epiphany Lutheran Church, Lake Worth FL (Photo by It1224-Wiki)

Photograph by Robert Voit (Amazing Planet)

I’m not sure where this is, but it isn’t fooling anybody. (Photograph by Robert Voit (Amazing Planet)

So if you see me beside the road waving my phone at

  • a palm tree
  • a billboard for a buffalo ranch
  • a pile of rocks

Just know that I’m not completely crazy. I’m trying to beat all the Australians to a hotel reservation for the night.

More next month on our adventures with Gutless

About Barb

I escaped from a hardscrabble farm in Oklahoma. I'm not sure why people think I have an accent. I miss the sunshine, but not the fried foods.
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25 Responses to My Arm Isn’t Long Enough to Get Cell Phone Service

  1. We have that last one everywhere around here. I think it looks like a giant mascara wand!


  2. I’m looking forward to traveling with you. I’m taking a cross country trip next summer and want to learn from your experiences.


  3. Barb, I’m looking forward to more adventures. You make it fun!


  4. rose l. says:

    ooh Barb, I can picture you searching for bars…on the cell phone! You are already a character enough to fill a book!


  5. Margie says:

    Looking forward to reading about your adventure!
    We winter in a community that is north of Scottsdale AZ, and the only cell phone service we could get is from Verizon. Their SIM cards are not compatible with our Canadian cell phone, of course. Our phone, with a T-Mobile SIM card, sometimes works at night if we are on the roof top patio and the moon and stars are aligned just right…


  6. Sounds like a fantabulous trip! I’m looking forward to hearing all about it. Oh, and I wouldn’t have any trouble with those hard-to-find cell towers. I don’t have a cellphone, so I’d do just dandy. 🙂


    • Barb says:

      A true pioneer. I actually think the next dark ages are going to be darker because we’ve forgotten how to do basic skills (making soap, which plants will kill us, and how to find our way out of this.


  7. And now you leave me in a quandary. Should I be barracking for my countrymen and women to get the motel room? Or for you and yours?
    I am (of course) looking forward to vicarious travel. Which is often much more comfortable.


  8. Jono says:

    They don’t even work at my house and I’m only 10 miles from town! Unless you’re in a big metro area they are often useless.


    • Barb says:

      Of course, a farm boy like you wouldn’t need to rely on a phone to figure out north from south. I’m coming to stay with you next time I get lost…(that is…if I can figure out north from south)


  9. Elyse says:

    Looking forward to reading your exploits. It’ll be great therapy.


    • Barb says:

      Oh, Elyse, I’m so disheartened…..I hope by next month that I can haul myself up and write of crossing the Midwest, but for now…I’m so disheartened that so many people voted for disrepect and hate.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. nrhatch says:

    How, oh, how, did the pioneers cross the country without cell phone service?
    Or roads? Or maps?
    Or hotels, motels, inns, or B&B’s?

    Looking forward to hearing the highlights of your cross-country adventure.


    • Barb says:

      Thanks. But I need to reiterate something you put on your blog.

      ”What are you ~ a god, an angel, a saint?”
      “No,” replied The Buddha, “I am A-W-A-K-E.”

      Let us…as we travel through life…remain AWAKE and AWARE.


      • nrhatch says:

        Yes! Remaining awake and aware (with an attitude of alert curiosity) makes all the difference in keeping our spirits buoyant . . . no matter how tumultuous the seas.


  11. Roxie says:

    I love your adventure stories! But tell me, how do you get a man to stop a car during a road trip? Mine gets the bit between his teeth and drives for hours without a break. Given enough an infinite supply of coffee thermoses and jerky, he would probably circumnavigate the globe. Thank God we occasionally have to stop for gas.


  12. digipicsphotography says:

    Hello Barb, I found out about the poor cell phone service when my oldest son took a trip to Alaska to visit a friend, followed by a trip to Las Vegas. Yes there was service in Alaska, but Vegas was a whole ‘nuther story. Our texts/calls got delayed or disconnected to/from Vegas. One would think it would have been the opposite and Alaska would have been the problem, but it wasn’t.

    Anyway, can’t wait to hear more of your adventures.


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