Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hoping to Leave Northern Nevada Today....

Suffice it to say that our stay here in northern Nevada has been interesting.  We are at an RV park, about 30 minutes east of Reno, in the town of Fernley, NV.  Our objective here was to take our new Canadian purchased iPad Mini (a gift from our kids) to a local Verizon store to install a cell SIM card to give us internet access anywhere.  Our iPad would also become the WiFi hot spot for the other computers. Simple process right?  Well...... not really!  

After spending better than 6 hours re-formatting the iPad to the new IOS 7 operating system and trying to run the SIM card, we got a promt stating our our iPad was locked and only the service provider could unlock it.  Which service provider you ask?  It is new!  It has never been with another service provider.

It turns out that Canadian iPads and cell phones are locked for Canadian SIM cards only. That is according to a message I got from Rick Doyle this morning. To unlock it, one must download an 'unlock software'.  This seems to be a Canadian issue because, I am told, US iPhones, iPad Minis and iPads are already unlocked when purchased.  

I am writing from the Starbucks - next door to the Verizon store we were at yesterday - waiting for the doors to be open so that Charlie, the wiz tech here, can hopefully unlock my iPad mini and get that SIM card up and running.

RVers are well aware of the overstated but very poor WiFi service RV parks offer.  That has been our experience too. Once here, near Reno, we chose to fire up the iPad as a hot spot to give us unrestricted access. One final try this morning before we shove off....for points further south.

More on the success or failure of this enterprise in the next blog.

Sunday was a very good day to leave Red Bluff, CA, to travel the Sierra/Nevada mountain highway #36 into Reno.
Highway 36 east from Red Bluff, CA.  We left early and, it being a Sunday, most folks were sleeping in or off to church.  Negligible traffic was our gain.
Highway 36 is a smooth, two lane road that offers some different topographic views compared to the common I-5 south, past Sacremento towards Bakersfield.  Not only that, this highway is smooth, unlike the bouncy and annoyingly rough I-5 south from Red Bluff. It was nice to change things up on this drive.  It is our goal to spend several days in Pahrump and Death Valley.  That's why we opted to cross into northern Nevada. Sure glad we did.
Nice views from elevations approaching 7,800 feet.
Some parts of the highway call for slow speeds, due to tight switchbacks, but they are easily maneuverable. It was not a white knuckle drive, by any means. And, I am not a nervous driver either.
Some switchbacks never see the sun and there are "Ice covered surface" signs posted.  Good thing too.  We did drive over iced up sections.
Early on our drive east, a 1/2 ton, 4X4 truck, passed us.  The driver was in a hurry.  About 90 minutes later, he was in a deep ditch crevice, speaking with a recently arrived State Trooper.  He had lost control on the black ice and his truck landed on its roof after rolling a few times.  It was totaled!  The driver appeared to be OK.  The 'Black Ice' signs were clearly posted! Heed to speed and you'll be fine.  Ignore and it's at your own peril. 
Beautiful high mountain forests at above 5,000 ft elevation.
These low lying clouds formed over Lake Almanor.
About one hour west from Reno was a beautiful rest stop.  The timing was right for us to take a break and munch on lunch.  It was very mild out.  Temperatures hovered in the high 50's to low 60's.  Not bad temps for these high elevations.

About 1/2 hour west from Reno, we chose to top up the diesel at Hallellujah Junction.  You can see that there is plenty of space for a big rig here.  Gotta like that.
Before arriving at Hallelujah Junction, we drove near the town of Doyle, CA.  Now.....we instantly thought about our RV and blogger friends Rick and Paulette Doyle. Rick & Paulette's RV Travels  Knowing that Rick's parents had left Manitoba, for Vancouver Island, when Rick was a young lad, perhaps another family member moved to Northern Nevada and established the town of Doyle.  We're surmising of course......but, hey, nothing wrong with surmising!  That said Rick, there is a north eastern California town with your namesake.      
Reno....from the cab of our truck
We knew in advance that our preferred overnight RV spot was going to be the Desert Rose RV Park in Fernley, NV - about 30 minutes east from Reno.  We drove through Reno and, before long, we were in the quaint - but well populated (20,000 folks) - service town of Fernley.
Almost out of Reno....
We pulled into the Desert Rose RV park to be met by a fantastic host.  That lady exudes energy, interest, respect and accommodation.  What a treat!  She got on the radio to request our escort to the site and, before long, we were rolling to our spot.  True to their WEB site information, the park did have some long pull throughs.  We rolled into spot #152.
In the last blog I teased readers on the fact that we were surrounded by 'Amazonians' in this RV park.  Well, we are!  The park is almost chocker block full of long term RVers who are working at Amazon; assisting with Christmas rush orders.  One RVer told me that he will earn about $7,000 for a few months of work.  The work is repetitious and quite boring....but, as he stated, it buys a fair bit of diesel.  Hard to argue that.  We did see the huge Amazon warehouse here.....and we can see why it needs so many contract employees to fulfill orders at this time of the year.
All set up. Nice spot.  The park is older but well organized and clean  The folks here are genuinely pleasant.
We booked for two nights - to be able to set up our iPad - as mentioned at the beginning of this blog - and here I am this morning, sitting at the Starbucks next to the Verizon store (opening @9:30 am) hoping......and hoping....that we can collectively unlock the iPad, install a working SIM card and be done with this erroneous task withing an hour or so.  Failure to rectify the iPad problem will have me leave the Verizon store, head back to the RV park, hitch up and get out of town without an operating iPad hot spot. 

We'll see what transpires!

That's about if from here for now......!

Thanks for dropping by.....


  1. Good luck with your I-pad hope you can get it working soon.

  2. It will be interesting to see what happens with your iPad. Verizon is a kind of mixed up system, the way I understand it their phone service is CDMA and the data stuff is GMA. All our Canadian carriers are GMA now. As for unlocked I know you cannot buy a iPhone 5S that works on the Verizon system that is unlocked.

  3. Good luck with the Unlock Process. I think it will be more difficult than you are hoping for unfortunately. We've purchased our Ipad and Nexus phone directly from the manufacturers in order to have them unlocked. It's worked well for us so far.

  4. Rene-I posted a reply to your comment on our blog but I was using my cellphone and it appears the reply did not post. Millenicom is a re-seller of unused bandwidth from Verizon and Sprint--our aircard utilizes Verizon towers and works anywhere Verizon does. Here is a link to Jack Mayer's site, he is extremely well versed in the ins and outs of communication issues while traveling.

  5. wouldn't it be nice if we all had a town named after us!! lucky Rick!
    too bad about the issues with your Canadian ipad..hope you get everything resolved soon!

  6. We enjoyed that little park in Fernley when it was fairly new. Nice place. Also, I hope you enjoy Pahrump as much as we did, it was a very nice place when we stayed there next to the winery.

  7. We have been having lots of issues with locked phones. JB figured away around his.

    If you head to Arizona you will run across a little tiny town called BRENDA. haha

  8. Can't say I've ever heard of Doyle, CA and I don't think it's any of my long last relatives either. Interesting though.

    Too bad about the iPad lock thing. Apple computers are notorious for their proprietary methods. It's just one more reason why although I love my iPhone and iPad I'd still never buy an Apple computer.

    Cellphone carriers are to blame as well as they probably insist that Apple configure the devices this way when they get them from Apple.