Sunday, August 25, 2013

Hard Labor Creek State Park

One of the benefits of Hard Labor Creek State Park for us is that it is only 17 miles from our daughter and her family's home, near from Watkinsville, Georgia.

It was a pleasant, uneventful tow down from Richard Russell State Park near Elberton, and took us only an hour and a half or so. We found we won't be able to stay in any Georgia State Park over the Labor Day weekend in our RV as every campsite site is already reserved! All the campsites at Watsadler and the other U.S. Army Corps of Engineer campgrounds are also booked! Only for the Labor Day Weekend, though, then they are all practically empty! That doesn't help us, but we have a week until we have to check out, so we decided to make the most of it.

Site 26 at Hard Labor Creek state Park

We arrived at Hard Labor Creek Sate Park knowing we would have to vacate after only a week's stay. We simply hadn't made reservations early enough! Not being able to stay over the Labor Day weekend means we have to arrive at our daughter's place several days earlier than we planned, but as long as they don't mind, neither do we!

Checking in at Hard Labor Creek State Park was a pleasant experience. Registering at all of the Georgia State Parks we have stayed at in the past have been pleasant. The volunteer at the registration desk was friendly, pleasant, and made a suggestion that was worth its weight in gold: She said to turn on our hot-spot as we drove through the campground looking for an available campsite. The area is known for not having cell-phone coverage or Wi-Fi, but, she said, there were several areas that had cell-phone coverage, it just wasn't universal for the entire campground.

Taz meets a camp host piece of yard art

We drove slowly around the beautiful but narrow campground and found we indeed did have cell-phone coverage in certain areas. Let me 'splain, Lucy! Our hot-spot is Virgin, which in reality is Sprint. Our cellphones, and Ilse's smart phone, are on Verizon. Normally, the Verizon units chat away without problem while the poor Sprint connection seems to falter every time we try to log on. Many times we wished our hot-spot was a Verizon unit because we would like to be on the Internet if we can get cellphone coverage. The Sprint unit usually seems to be searching for a cell tower while our cellphones happily connect us with the world.

OK, hotspots are nothing more than cellphones that speak digital data rather than voice. Each hot-spot has a cell phone telephone number that connects it to the nearest cell-tower, just like your cell phone, only it doesn't pass information in the audible range for the human ear. Rather it translates the cell-tower stuff to high-frequency data and looks for something digital to talk to, such as your computer or tablet. It is an intermediate device – so is your cell phone – but it can handle five devices if you are on a 3G network. If you are a high-speed 4G network, most hot-spots can handle up to ten devices simultaneously. OK, this is getting deeper than I wanted. Just understand a printer can not be added as the functions of a hotspot are not the same as your router at home. Any more information will cost you $125 dollars an hour.

The nearby Apalachee River from Price Mill Road

Here is the kicker: Our vaunted Verizon cellphones were dead as doornails while our poor little Virgin/Sprint hotspot hummed away as long as the battery would last! I'm posting this blog through our little Sprint/Virgin hotspot, and will continue to check e-mails and the Internet every chance we get. The camping spot we picked not only has 3-bars – if you don't know what that means, this whole blog is a moot exercise – and has privacy, and plenty of room as we expect company during the week we are here.

So far we are impressed with this relatively unknown Georgia State Park. Clean, quiet, and well laid out with spotlessly clean facilities, we simply should have made reservations earlier!

NEXT: The Dark Side of Camping, at:

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