#Nophone day four: We couldn’t help it, we fell off the wagon!

We couldn’t do it.

I know a lot of you were rooting for us to stay off our cell phones, but it was impossible.

We took two calls this afternoon. Here’s how it happened …

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Call #1: We were being interviewed by a fellow journalist about our upcoming trip to the Wisconsin Dells. Our location: just north of Birmingham, Ala., a hilly area with spotty cellular reception.

Kari opened her Skype application on the iPhone and called the reporter. The sound quality was excellent. The interview was going well. And then the call abruptly ended.

I could tell what had gone wrong the moment I looked at the phone. We had half a bar and the dreaded “O” sign which means we weren’t sending or receiving data.

“We should get the signal back just over the hill,” I said.

Then the phone buzzed. Voice call.

First ring.

“Should I answer?” Kari asked.

“Uh, I don’t,” I stammered.

Second ring.



Third ring. Kari answered.

We finished the interview. All the while I was saying to myself “Well, I hope that was worth it.”

And then my phone rang.

Call #2: Oh, you know what’s coming next, don’t you? I think there was a little bit of the if-she-can-do-it-then-so-can-I thing going on.

I picked up the phone.

It was an old friend from way back when, calling to catch up. She runs a PR firm out in Denver and I think we haven’t spoken in five years, maybe longer. I’m really glad I didn’t miss her call.

It turns out she had some excellent advice for me. Those of you who follow this blog know I’ve launched a new column, extending my mission to advocate for consumers beyond the travel industry. My PR friend gave me some invaluable advice on how to promote the new feature.

I also reviewed the exact wording of the poll and it seems there’s a small loophole that could give me a pass on these two errant phone calls. See … the poll asked about making calls, not answering them.

Oh, I know. Who am I kidding?

The lesson learned? Maybe it’s that no matter how hard you try and are able to change your cell phone habits, it really takes two parties to undo a learned behavior. Which is to say, I can tell you that I’ve given up my cell phone, but unless you agree to move to a different service for voice and video calls we are stuck with what we have.

And what we have is not very good. Just try driving from Pensacola, Fla., and Louisville.

OK, I’m signing off from my room here at the Staybridge Suites here in Louisville. Lovely property. We are headed up to Chicago tomorrow and looking very much forward to showing our kids the Windy City.

After driving a car for 10 hours straight, I’m too tired to feel defeat. I’m going to invoke the loophole.

See you tomorrow.