Austerlitz, NY to Westport, NY
Westport, NY - Events of Wednesday, July 24, 2013
On Wednesday morning, we hit the road again. This time, it was a three-hour drive to our next destination - Barber Homestead RV Park in Westport, NY. Barber Homestead is located on the western shore of Lake Champlain in the Adirondack Mountains of New York.
Barber Homestead RV Park has around 40 campsites. About half the sites have full hookups and the other half have water and electric only. Four of the full hookup sites have 50-amp electric while all the rest have 30 amps. Our nightly rate with a 10% discount for paying cash was about $28.
The roads and pads at Barber Homestead are dusty gravel. The sites are mostly grass and have decent spacing for a private campground. Fortunately, there is free Wi-Fi that was fairly fast because the Verizon data service in the area was poor - it was weak 1xRTT (2G) service, which is slower than dial-up for data use. We'll have more about our cell phone and internet connections later in this post.
The campground was having trouble with their Wi-Fi transmitter for the lower section of the campground, and the repair part wasn't expected until Friday. We're glad they gave us a site right beside the office where the Wi-Fi was working well because we were both suffering from internet withdrawal with all the difficulty we have been having getting online at our previous stop. What a joy it was to finally have a reliable, fast internet connection!
Except for an occasional, distant train, the campground is generally quiet. Our location right next to the office made for a little added commotion with vehicles and RVs driving past our door and with people walking by on their way to and from the office, but it was a small price to pay for having a reliable internet connection given the poor Verizon reception we had at this stop and the last.
Many of the sites at Barber Homestead are seasonals. As with Woodland Hills where we just came from, all the seasonal sites are well kept and all have newer RVs. Many people have built nice decks and have planted attractive flowers on their sites.
We've been talking a lot recently about poor internet reception. Although parts of New England have high population densities, we knew we would be in some fairly remote areas in the mountains of New York, Vermont and New Hampshire and along the northern coast of Maine. Remote areas mean there may be poor cell phone reception, both for voice and data. Therefore, we ordered a Wilson Sleek from the 3GStore a while back.
would have preferred a more powerful, in-line amplifier that was better suited to our Pantech modem. However, the only in-line amplifier that is currently available that is good for both 3G and 4G is a
very expensive model designed for stationary use, not for RVs. Since the Wilson Sleek works for voice, 2G, 3G and 4G, that's what we chose. There are different models for different cell phone providers, so make sure you know which one you need.
The Sleek is a cradle that your smartphone slides into. It comes with a magnetic-mount antenna, a 12V power supply, and a swivel holder for your car. The arms on the side of the cradle are adjustable to accept phones of different sizes.
The Sleek is designed for smartphones, and the arms are too wide to grip our Pantech modem. However, it can be made to work with a modem by using a rubber band to hold the modem in the Sleek cradle. The modem is mounted with its logo facing the Sleek because that's the side of the modem where the antenna is located. When we use the Sleek for the modem it is in one of our overhead electronic compartments next to the wireless router. It is being shown on the desk for clarity.
We also ordered the home and office kit that includes a 120V power supply, an articulated desk-top stand, and a suction cup mount to be placed on the outside of the window for the magnetic antenna. Since we already had a Wilson RV Cell Phone Antenna on the roof that works for voice, 3G and 4G, we are using that instead of the magnetic antenna unless we take the Sleek with us in the car.
Because we had good Wi-Fi at Barber Homestead, we used the Sleek only for the smartphone and only for voice because we could connect the smartphone to the campground Wi-Fi for data.
The Wilson Sleek works, but it is not a panacea. It can take a weak signal and make it into a usable signal, but it can't take a bad signal like we had most of the time in Austerlitz and make it strong. The Sleek will raise the signal strength one to three bars. In Westport, we normally had one or two bars, occasionally dropping to no bars. With the Sleek activated, the signal went to three or four bars, occasionally dropping to one bar.
Overall, we're pleased with the Sleek, but we wish it were more powerful. An in-line amplifier for mobile use is due out sometime this fall, and we may investigate that for use with the modem. We will then be able to use the Sleek exclusively for the smartphone. One advantage to the Sleek is it was designed to be used in a car, so we can easily take it with us when we go sightseeing in remote areas.
On one of our outings, we needed a post office. Westport is a small town, but they are big enough to have a post office. They also have a nice inn right on the main street. The Inn in Westport was built in 1855.
Westport also has a park across from the inn. The lawn at the park sweeps down to Lake Champlain, so we stopped to investigate.
We walked down to the lake where there was a small beach. We introduced Freeway to the water.
In the end, Freeway got his paws wet, but there was no way he was going to jump in. Our previous dog, Molly, was an English Springer Spaniel, and she LOVED the water. She would whine if we drove across a bridge and she smelled water because she thought she might get to go for a swim. Of course, even Molly had to be coaxed into the water the first time. Maybe we'll try again someday with Freeway.
Next to the beach is a marina. There are some pretty big boats on Lake Champlain.
There are several things we want to see during our stop in Westport. We only have a few days, so we'll be busy. Look for our next post to see what we found to do.