After our fantastic hike at Crater Lake National Park, we drove north to Diamond Lake where we planned to spend the rest of the week. With no cell service inside the national park, this was our best option for finding a solid connection for the work week. We stayed here during our previous visit to Crater Lake. Although it rained during our entire two-night stay, we have fond memories of the large lakeside campground boasting water and mountain views.
We also remember the cell service being on the slow side. This memory corresponds with more recent reviews on Campendium. We’ve had luck lately with our booster and various antennas in low signal areas, so we decided to give it a shot. Besides, there are not many other options in the area.
Our memories served us well and the campground was just as lovely the second time around (except better because the sun was out). I think there are something like 250 campsites here arranged in long, narrow loops along the lakeshore. Many sites have water views, and while some of the roads are narrow with tight turns, I think with a little planning any size RV could potentially camp here.
We drove around the two non-reservation loops and choose a large, lakeside spot in the K section. Look at that view! Look at the front yard! We hit the jackpot with this site.
This is where the low point comes in. Bluntly put, the cell service here sucks. The Verizon signal was strong, but the speeds slow to unusable. AT&T was non-existent at our site and a measly 1 bar up near the entrance station. Boosters and antennas made no difference. If you come here on vacation and need to send a few emails or check your weather app, you will be fine. But if you need to be connected for work, sadly, I would not recommend this campground.
Despite the dismal speeds, we decided to try and make it work. After all, cell signals are notoriously fickle and maybe things would improve? Also, there was a lake to paddle, trails to hike, and waterfalls to visit. How could we leave all that behind?
Things did not improve the next morning as we attempted to start the work week. After about an hour I gave up in frustration and took myself for a walk around the campground. When I returned Tim had just ended a failed video meeting. He was supposed to have two more that week, and with the upload speeds nearly non-existent it was going to be diffcult.
We limped through the rest of the day and in the afternoon set out for a drive in hopes of finding some boondocking with a better signal. Only five minutes outside the campground we found a speedier signal. Too bad we couldn’t find a place to camp inside that magical zone of cell signal bliss. We followed Rt.138 east and scouted out all the dirt roads that led into the national forest. With lots of recent logging activity in the area, these roads were well-used and full of a fine, powder-like dust. The few open spots we did find were surrounded by piles of brush and more of that dusty dirt. They were also close to the main road and not anywhere that we wanted to call home for 4-5 days. We drove back to the campground feeling defeated yet determined to make it work for the rest of the week.
Making it work meant that we spent Wednesday and Thursday afternoon at a trailhead/picnic area only a few miles from the campground. Here we found usable Verizon and AT&T. We were also reminded that having to leave the house to seek out the internet for work is not that much fun. I know there are people who regularly work from coffee shops or travel away from their campsite to use public wifi. While we have been known to do that on occasion, I can’t imagine if that was a daily occurrence. There’s no way we could have made this lifestyle work for six years if that was how we had to do it.
Also, that romantic notion about working outside is complete fiction. Between the bugs, wind, sun, cold, hot, and thick layer of pollen that covered our screens after about 15 minutes, it was not an ideal situation.
Our main reason for sticking it out throughout the week was so when Saturday arrived we could forget about the lack of internet and go play outside. Except as we approached the weekend, the weather was not looking good. First, there was a chance of rain showers in the afternoon, then there was going to be rain on and off all day, and then it was going to snow in morning, rain in the afternoon, and snow more in the evening. Not exactly ideal hiking weather. Sometimes a forced day inside our cozy home while the weather rages outside it a good thing. But, oh man, have we had a lot of those lately. So many that we ultimately made the decision to bail early.
With rain predicted to start sometime Friday afternoon and turn to snow overnight, we were up and moving early on Friday morning. By the time work started at 8 am, we had parked ourselves in a roadside pull-off along rt. 138. Cars whizzed past all day, but even the persistent sound of traffic could not diminish our joy at once again being in the land of sweet, sweet internet.