September 8, 2009 | 12:01pm
You've probably heard the expression "getting off the grid" more times than you can shake a BlackBerry at. These days, completely eliminating yourself from civilization (temporarily, mind you; for other self-removals, please see here immediately) is a task almost exclusively reserved for David Copperfield and Harry Potter. Furthermore, "risky behavior" usually includes embarking on an extended trip without bringing your laptop. Madness! Absolute madness!
But this is the great big ol' state of Texas, much of which remains unbridled, untamed, and largely immune to technological advances, or so it seems. Towns still exist where general stores know you by name and run a tab for your groceries, small children walk into these establishments barefoot without chastisement, and Main St. actually is the central and only major street in town.
So, what does it mean to "get off the grid" anywhere in Texas and leave the technological apron strings behind? Grab your trusty iPhone as a gauge and see.
Destination #1: Along the Colorado River: Columbus, Bastrop, Smithville, Lagrange
Update your Facebook status or catch up with your East Coast-livin' best friend along the mucky banks of the rapidly flowing Colorado River while taking in portions of the Colorado River 100 Paddle Race
. In order to get away from your ringer, you're going to have to leave the phone in the car. "More bars in more places
"? Wah, wah.
Destination #2: Uvalde
Too tired to make it to the state park 30 miles up the road? Set up shop in Uvalde for the evening. Uvalde has greasy chain familiarity, electricity, and super duper connectivity to the internets. Sigh. Maybe tomorrow?
Destination #3: Garner State Park
Fed up with being reachable already? You'll surprisingly find zero refuge at Garner State Park
, although it is eight miles to the nearest town and it's really out in the middle of nowhere. Whether you're camping amongst San Antonian families, wading through the rocky-bottomed Frio River, or getting lost along the steep hiking trails, the answer to "Can you hear me now?" is, "Unfortunately, yes."
Destination #4: Concan, Leakey, Utopia
At last! Service in these state park buttresses is patchy at best, and downright nonexistent on the stretches of highway between the three of them at worst. Mission accomplished! Now if anyone figures out what to do in towns that are essentially closed on Sundays, have no hotels, and where the gas station looks like the hottest spot around, let someone - anyone! - know.
Destination #5: Comfort, Boerne
Sorry, Charlie. You're too close to I-10 to be off the grid here, no matter if you swing wide all the way out to Flat Rock Ranch
to kick your ass on some bike trails, or you're merely grabbing a bite in town at Tin Roof
. Oh well. Twitter missed you much during that hilly, unserviced trek from Utopia to Comfort
Maybe Radiohead has some advice on how to disappear completely
, but Houstonians, keep fightin' the good fight to digital obscurity deep in the heart of Texas.