We enjoyed our 5 days at the Malmstrom AFB Gateway FamCamp, MT. We took a day drive to Helena to visit the Fort Harrison RV Park and also searched and found the actual "Great Falls" in Great Falls, MT. I say "found", as they are not well publicized. It's a small road to find the falls, north of town. These falls are also known as "Big Falls". We also enjoyed a day at the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. We had been here before, but we had time to really explore the exhibit this time.
From Great Falls, we traveled 90 miles north to the small town of Havre. We had no special reason to go here, other than we needed someplace to spend the night at, it was back on Hwy-2, and friends had recommended a free "fishing camp" there. The Fresno Chapter of Walleyes Unlimited have a small recreation area on Fresno Reservoir outside of Havre, MT. Their recreation area is open to the public, including their nice campground on a hill overlooking the lake. The campground is free - they just ask for donations. We enjoyed a couple nice and relaxing days here with a wonderful view of the lake from our home's windshield.
Moving further east, we spent the night at a rest area outside of Glasgow, MT. We don't use rest areas very often to spend the night, but this one was safe and quiet. Next stop - Makoshika State Park in Glendive, MT. Connie's brother, George Lane, moved to Glendive about 20 years ago. After all this time, we've never been to Glendive. So we solved that issue! Glendive is on the eastern border of Montana and North Dakota. We spent the night at the Makoshika State Park. It's a nice state park full of hiking trails. They are known for their abundance of dinosaur fossils around the state park. We didn't have time for any hiking, but we did take a driving tour around the park and stopped at their small visitors center. We spent most of the day visiting with George, the main purpose for being there.
Cell Signal Booster
We recently made a purchase that we regret not doing years ago! Since we're traveling again, getting Verizon cell service has been spotty at times. Although we have satellite Internet as a backup, Verizon is our primary Internet access. We had always meant to look into a "Cell Signal Booster". Rv'ing friends have had good success with them. We just never made the effort. After a little research, I purchased a Weboost Drive Reach Vehicle Cell Signal Booster Kit. Wow! I wished we had purchased this gadget earlier!
It's a simple system. You place an external antenna on the top of your RV (or car), place a small antenna inside your RV, attach both antennas and power to the amplifier, and you're done! The only catch is your phone or MiFi device needs to be REAL close to the internal antenna. Our primary use is for our MiFi Internet device, which we sit directly on top of the inside antenna. I plan to install the outside magnetic antenna on the roof of the RV, but for now, we just have it sitting on a high shelf inside of the motorhome.
The results? The first day we installed it, we were at the State Park in Glendive, MT. Without the booster, our MiFi was getting a cell Internet signal at 20% (-117db). Once I installed the booster, the MiFi was now getting the cell signal at 90% (-69db). A HUGE boost in signal strength. Since the signal strength was much higher, so was our data speed. We recently changed Verizon plans that now gives us "true" unlimited data (see below). Lately, we've been streaming movies and shows. We've always had "buffering" and "timeout" issues without the booster, but not this time! Currently, we are at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. We were barely able to get slow 3G. With the booster installed, we went from 3G 12% signal strength to 4G 70% signal strength!
I HIGHLY recommend the Weboost Cell Signal Booster. The "Drive Reach" is their newest product and works fantastic. All of their products get outstanding reviews. Just do your research to insure you get the correct system for your needs. There's a few very good YouTube reviews and explanations available.
New Verizon Data Plan
Regarding our new Verizon plans. We've use Verizon as our voice and primary data provider using a MiFi. We've also have a mobile satellite Internet system as a backup, which allows us to get Internet anywhere in North America, as long as the sky isn't blocked. But the satellite system isn't very quick and has a very small daily data limit.
Although Verizon (and the other providers) advertise and offer "unlimited" data plans, they are not all truly unlimited. All of the providers used to have some type of limit on their unlimited data plans. With most Verizon "unlimited" data plans, they will slow (throttle) your speeds down once you reach 22GB (or less) of data usage in a month. Technically, it is unlimited data - it's just not unlimited at the faster 4G speed. (Be sure to read the fine print).
Our previous data plan allowed us up to 40GB per month for 4 devices. All 40GB was available at the faster 4G speed. We're heavy data users and always had to be careful that we didn't exceed our 40GB a month limit. We rarely watched videos or streamed movies. But this all changed for us recently. Verizon came out with a true unlimited data plan (no throttling, speed reductions, or limits) for tablets and MiFi under their prepaid plans. We changed all of our devices to prepaid. Instead of a 40GB limit per month, we now have 15GB data limit for each of 3 devices (45GB total) and unlimited data limit for the MiFi. Our computers and TV use the MiFi. We also reduced our monthly bill by $50! Now, we have plenty of data for every device, can stream movies, and saved money! If you look into this with Verizon, be sure you look carefully at their "prepaid" plans. I noticed Verizon has changed their plans again, so the above plans may not be the same anymore.
Okay - back to traveling. After leaving Glendive, MT, we drove another 80 miles east to the Theodore Roosevelt State Park in North Dakota. North Dakota is a state Connie and I have never stayed in together. Our rule for us to claim that we've stayed in a state is that Connie and I must have BOTH stayed overnight in that state together. This doesn't have to be in the motorhome, but we need to be together. I've stayed in North Dakota before, but Connie wasn't with me. We can now mark off another state we've stayed in!
Friends have always told us we needed to visit the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. Since we needed a place to "hunker down" for the Independence Day holiday week and the park was on our route, here we are until July 9th! We've only been here a couple days and it's rained every day. Tonight, we have reservations to attend a "Pitch Fork Fondue" dinner and the Medora Musical show. We're a bit worried, as the show is outside. They say the show will go on. We're hoping the rain stops this afternoon! Wishing you a wonderful day celebrating our nation's birthday!