Thursday, March 8, 2012

IPhone, Trip Advisor, and Jocko's, Nipomo, California

usbackroads products--IPhone, Trip Advisor and Jocko's

This about smart phones and the net.  These two items can make your usbackroads travel much more interesting.

I was doubtful when Susie announced that she was getting an IPhone 4S.  Apple is a great Chinese company with excellent designers and business managers in Cupertino, California.  But, Apple has never been a backroads company.  Their new operating system Lion is great.  All you need is a high speed internet connection to download and install.  No DVD installation disks!!  Most people are not fortunate enough to live in north-central Washington where 100 mbps and 1 gbps fiber service is available to 80% or so of the residents.  If I lived in rural California I doubt we would be as happy with their products.

No external antenna jack on the IPhone.  Antenna sensitivity?  Lets just say be careful how you hold your IPhone.  And for an urban phone there is no 4G available!!!  So really not the best phone for backroads, but it has a simple and well designed operating system.  There might be better smartphones for backroads, but Susie just wanted the IPhone.

So why would you want a smartphone?  GPS for the phone complements the GPS in your vehicle.  Not a big deal.  Having the hotspot connection works really great for traveling.  Not having a external antenna jack and amplifier does limit its usefulness.   Access to the net and services like Trip Advisor change everything.

You can check gas and diesel prices as you roll down the road.  You can check to see if diesel is even available at certain stations.  If you good at aerial photo interpretation you can use Google Earth to see if you want to pull into that service station with a 40 foot 5th wheel.

It has really made a difference in lunch and dinner spots.  I once took a trip from Wenatchee to Los Angeles with a friend.  I was tired of fast food and bad restaurants so I decided to stop ONLY at Taco Bell's for food and ONLY order their Taco Salad.  I also forgot my CD collection so we spent the entire trip with Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys and their Hall of Fame Album.  Fortunately, my friend is slightly deaf and I suspect he turned off his hearing aid after awhile.  However, I now know ALL the words to ALL the songs on that album.

Check Trip Advisor for restaurants in your vicinity.  This is how we stumbled onto the Wharf in Medford.  Reading the reviews in Trip Advisor gave us enough information that it would be our kind of place.   Today, we were looking for a dentist to reseat one of Susie's crowns and a lunch spot close to their office.

Jocko's came up on Trip Advisor.  Well, bad reviews for service.  Seems people had to wait a long time in the evening to be seated.   The place looked like a classic falling down bar and restaurant.  It was lunchtime and their parking lot was overflowing.

I can tell you the salad was pretty bad,  the garlic bread was acceptable,  my fries were greasy, but the beans that came with the order were good.   The wine list was fairly priced, but nothing special.  The place is just about steaks and that made up the for mediocre salad and fries.  We will  go back for the steak and maybe just skip the lettuce and fries.  Exceptional steaks....really exceptional steaks.  The cheeseburger was not bad either.  That IPhone photo of cheeseburger and fries shows what $8.25 will buy you.  Try finding that at your local fast food outlet.

So we are finding better places to eat and reasonable prices while supporting local, small business in the communities.  The IPhone makes it all easy.  And it even took the pictures for this blog entry.

The internet gives GOOD small businesses a real competitive edge in today's world.  Try Trip Advisor or some of the other rating websites as you travel.  Those fast food coporate boys are going to lose a lot of business.

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