Why I will never be a T-Mobile customer again: a photo essay

There are few companies I don’t like: United, PEPCO, Chik-Fil-A and T-Mobile.

Why?

United = horrid customer service and stupid fees that change

PEPCO = heads up their collective big-money arses

Chik-fil-A = narrow-minded PR nightmare

T-Mobile = crappy phones, crappy fees and the most epic of all fails ever — no service.

During my cross-country road trip, I had the privilege of learning first hand just how terrible T-Mobile is.

At first, when I had no service, I credited it to the fact that I was driving, oh, through the middle of nowhere Nebraska

TMobile Sucks 2

En route from Nebraska to Illinois.

. Then, when I had no service in the cities, I started to get annoyed.

What’s worse? When I did have service, it wasn’t with T-Mobile so the data I was using was no longer unlimited. When I got a text message en route to Chicago that I had exceeded my data limit for the month, I nearly lost my marbles.

“You claim to have the largest 4G network in the world,” I said as calmly as I could to the customer service agent on the other end of the line. “How is it that throughout my entire road trip I have had little to no service and having to use another network’s internet? I’m driving across the country. What is the point of having a cell phone if you can’t use it?”

So, they did one thing right: they upped my data. Even the agent understood my need for being able to access the Web. “You can’t have no internet when you are driving across America.”

Right.

TMobile Sucks 1

When we were out and about on our dive bar tour in Nebraska

TMobile Sucks 2

Driving home from our night out in Omaha. Awesome.

Tmobile sucks 3

Driving from Nebraska to Illinois … no service, no internet.

Tmobile sucks 4

Thank you, T-Mobile. How am I supposed to have a GPS if I don’t have my internet service I PAY FOR EVERY MONTH?

Tmobile sucks 5

Downtown Chicago and no phone service??

Tmobile sucks 6

Loading and loading and loading and then an internet connection error. In Maryland. Notice I was on AT&T.

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At a friend’s house in Maryland. And, once again, no service.

Tmobile sucks 8

No internet connection. Maryland. At least I have fleeting bars to make a call.

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And more. The one good thing? In Thailand, I have DTAC and have not had services issues once. Even in the jungle.

The icing on the cake??

Wonderful T-Mobile slaps me with a $200 cancellation fee when I tell them I am leaving the country for an extended period of time.

My advice? Opt for another carrier, another phone, another anything … or take the risk and see how it goes. I promise you this: if you live in Nebraska, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia or Maryland, you’re SOL for the most part.

Have you had similar issues with T-Mobile or another service?

 

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Escape of the Week: America via iPhoneography

If there is one thing I did to an excess while driving cross-country, it was taking photos.

Between my new camera and my iPhone, I logged thousands of photos.

Because the iPhone was easy to tote around, there were so many instances when I simply pulled it our from my purse (or from the arm rest when I was driving) and snapped pics.

I like to think these photos help show the beauty of the lesser traveled/boring drives through the heart of America. For even more photos, be sure to click the links.

Enjoy the “iphoneography!”

The journey begins in Las Vegas. Dave and I head north on I-15 to Zion. Our drive through Nevada is flat, with desert surrounding us and mountains in the far distance.

The drive north on I-15 past Las Vegas, Nevada

A quick 2 1/2 hour drive from Las Vegas is one of the most spectacular spots I have ever visited — Zion National Park. Our first night, we grab dinner at the Bit & Spur, a cute Southwest restaurant with views of the fiery orange rocks from the patio.

The Bit and Spur at Zion National Park

The next day, we go and explore Zion. Walking from our moderately crappy motel, we hit the entrance to Zion on foot.

Walking in to Zion National Park in Utah

The entrance to Zion National Park in Utah

Pink blossoms hang from trees inside Zion National Park

Our next stop: Colorado.

We drive for 10 – plus hours. My eyes having a hard time to stay open as we go from high desert to the Mars-like landscape of barren red rock jutting out at different levels with the Rockies (or what I kept saying were the Rockies) in the distance.

Heading towards the Mars-like landscape in Moab, Utah

Finally, we cross Utah into Colorado and we get our first glimpse of the magnificent Rocky Mountains.

Driving on I-70 through the Colorado Rockies

Suddenly, I am awake. Thrilled to be in such a spectacular landscape.

I-70 through the Rocky Mountains in Colorado

From Denver, we head back up to Keystone for a conference. While I wait for our conference to kick-off, I spend time wandering through the main street of the charming ski town of Breckenridge.

The resort town of Breckenridge, Colorado

In Keystone, we are treated to high altitude and a sunset to rival some of the best I’ve ever seen. I’m sure that had something to do with the peak with little bursts of lingering snow set against the pine trees and pinks and blues of the sky.

The sun sets behind the Rocky Mountains in Colorado

I said “see you soon” to Dave in Keystone and then began the rest of my road trip with Erica. In the middle of the night, we drove from there to Denver, and in the morning we were off through the flat roads of Nebraska (and Colorado).

A photo from I-80 in Nebraska

Sunset off of I-80 in Nebraska

Eventually, we stopped in Omaha and enjoyed the awesomeness of the city and a dive bar tour.

A visit to a dive bar in Omaha, Nebraska

A visit to a dive bar in Omaha, Nebraska

The next day, we head out to Chicago via I-80 and Iowa. I’m surprised and delighted by what we see out of the window. It’s beautiful.

Driving on I-80 through Iowa

Driving through Iowa on I-80

Iowa from I-80

Of course, as we get closer to Chicago, traffic stops. Which gives me time to hang out the window and take some pics.

The Chicago skyline from a distance

A photo of the Chicago Theater in Downtown Chicago

Another look at the Downtown Chicago skyline

After Chicago, we headed south through Indiana …

Windmills in Indiana

… to Louisville. Of course, we took obligatory shots at Churchill Downs and of the charm in Downtown Louisville.

Downtown Louisville's main street

Our second night, we hit up Holy Grail, a church-turned-bar near my friend’s place.

The Holy Grail in Louisville, Kentucky

No visit to Louisville is complete without trying some bourbon!

A bourbon sampler in Louisville, Kentucky

After two weeks of driving cross-country, we finally headed to Maryland, stopping to see my brother first in Frostburg.

An old hotel on Frostburg, Maryland's main street

And then, eight hours later, we were to my house. And the next brief chapter of my life began.

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The charm and quirk of Louisville, Kentucky

“Louisville is so cute!” I coo to Erica as we drive through the giant, tree-lined streets. “It reminds me of Atlanta!”

While totally out of the way on our road trip, I included Louisville on the route for two reasons: one, because one of my good friends live there; and two, because it was a place I had considered living when I returned from my long-term travel. Of course, Las Vegas won out, but it was the only other place I wanted to go. Even without seeing it first.

Aside from visiting Churchill Downs, seeing the city through the eyes of a local is something both Erica and I want to do. Thankfully, my friend Karen and her fiancé volunteer to take us on a little exploration of the city.

We head to West Main Street to explore the quaint and charming city.

A street in Downtown Louisville, Kentucky

A piece of street are in Louisville, Kentucky

Another photo of Downtown Louisville, Kentucky

Located on Main Street is the Louisville Slugger Museum. With record attendance two-years in a row, today there is a crowd of people outside. Inside, they will learn about the history of the museum, as well as tour the factory and more.

The entrance to the Louisville Slugger Museum

A stack of bats on display inside the Louisville Slugger Museum

The machines to make bats inside the Louisville Slugger Museum

Just outside the museum is the World’s Largest Baseball Bat — a must for photos.

The World's Largest Bat, Louisville Slugger, in Louisville, Kentucky

And then, there is the quirk. Erected in May 2012 in front of the popular 21 C Museum Hotel, this Statue of David is a replica of the infamous Italian one. Standing at 30-feet tall, the enormous gold figure is not easy to miss.

The Statue of David in Louisville, Kentucky

Another perspective of the Louisville, Kentucky's Statue of David

A look from the back at Louisville, Kentucky's Statue of David

My favorite part of Louisville, though, it what lays outside of the main streets — the homes. Gorgeous, palatial homes dripping in Southern charm can be found here, complete with front porches to take in the summer nights.

A home in Louisville, Kentucy

Have you visited Louisville? What were your favorite spots?

Editor’s Note: This post is a part of the #winosontheroad series. Over Yonderlust and d travels ’round went road tripping and exploring America from Colorado to Maryland in June 2012. Be sure to check out all of the posts of life on the open road.

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A visit to Louisville isn’t complete without Churchill Downs

Here’s a quick lesson:

If you mention Louisville ever, ever, make sure you don’t pronounce it “Louie-ville.”

Seriously.

It’s like when people from Nevada hear other people pronounce the state’s name as “Nevahhhdahhhh.”

As someone who lived in Nevada, hearing that is like nails scratching down a blackboard. Knee tingling awful.

Back to Kentucky. The name is pronounced “Lool-ville.” Only, it’s not that easy. You’ve got to do that “ool” in the back of your throat, all guttural.

Aside from having a name that bothers my throat, setting up shop in this quaint semi-Southern town was the perfect ending to our road trip across America.

The drive from Chicago to Kentucky (I don’t even like writing the name of the city because even thinking about it gives my throat sympathy vibrations), is entirely uneventful. Indiana is … Indiana. We shoot across the state fairly quickly, crossing the Ohio River into Kentucky just as the sun begin to sink, turning the city into a pretty picture of pinks and blues.

With a few hours until my friend we are staying with, Karen, gets out of work, Erica and I have some BBQ and enjoy the golden hour over the charming restaurant-lined main street.

Those, my friends, are some tasty fried pickles.

Erica and I have a few goals for the Louisville leg of our journey:

1. Don our best dresses and fascinators and head to the horse races.

2. Tour the disco ball factory (the town is home to the largest maker in the world).

3. Drink bourbon. Which for some reason, my whisky-loving mind cannot do.

We, as a duo, accomplished only one of those things. Half-way.

On our first full day in Louisville, we wake up and head to Churchill Downs.

It’s a hot day. The sun is out as we park our car in someone’s parking lot/yard and head into the grand building, and later, the grand stand.

The guy running the lot offers us tickets in the stands for a whopping $5. General admission is $3, so we decide being in the shade and in the stands is worth the $2.

Then, we cross the street and head into the complex.

 

It’s not nearly what I imagine. In my mind, I expect to see women dressed to the nines, extravagant hats perched on their well-coiffed heads, sipping Mint Juleps with ice that clinks gently as it settles to the bottom of the glass.

Yeah. That doesn’t exist. Except for maybe during the Derby.

Today, the people are normal. Shorts. T-shirts. The only hats people have on are baseball hats (and the fedora I threw on my head in an effort to look cooler than I am).

It’s not crowded, either. Even though the parking lot looks packed, walking into the track results in a crowd where the horses hang out before the race, and by the betting area.

The stands … they’re pretty much empty.

Erica and I have no clue how to place bets. I’ve only bet on horses once before when I was living in Las Vegas. My friend, an odds-maker, walked me through it. Today, he does the same, sending me text messages on how to bet and what to bet.

Then, after betting $2 on the winner of the race, we head up to our seats to watch.

Giddy, we clutch the little pieces of paper in our hands as the horses are brought out and strut around the starting line.

Then, they’re off. Galloping. Thunking their hooves onto the peachy dirt.

We lose.

Fortunately, we stick around for two more races …

… and win.

As we leave Churchill Downs, we’re still happy. Still excited. And, our day is young. There’s a murder mystery party to attend.

Editor’s Note: This post is a part of the #winosontheroad series. Over Yonderlust and d travels ’round went road tripping and exploring America from Colorado to Maryland in June 2012. Be sure to check out all of the posts of life on the open road.

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