We all know the place.
Driving south on U.S. 395 heading toward Crowley Lake, talking away on the (hands free) cell phone, climbing up the little rise past the Green Church, counting the minutes you have left to talkâ€”and sure enough.
Right after the turnoff to the little Mt. Morrison cemetery, dead spot.
If youâ€™re lucky, you can pick up the conversation somewhere near Tomâ€™s Placeâ€”but not before.
And forget cell service if you actually live anywhere near Crowley, McGee Creek, Aspen Springsâ€”all of them are in the same dead zone.
But thatâ€™s about to change.
Crowley Lake finally has a cell tower.
Built by a company called Vista Towers, itâ€™s up near the sewage treatment ponds just north of Crowley Lake and itâ€™s almost, although not quite, operational.
â€śIt looks like there will be service as of Nov. 15, with the end of the month the latest we are expecting,â€ť said Heather deBethizy, a planner for Mono County. â€śThey are still doing some work, putting a line in, waiting for Verizon to test the system, but the plan is that Crowley and the area there should have service by the end of November.â€ť
The service should cover the dead zones between Mt. Morrison Road, the road to the cemetery (and the Sierra Nevada Aquatic Research Laboratory (SNARL)), and Tomâ€™s Place, she said. About 1,100 people live in the area.
But there is one exception to the cell service offered.
The little community of Aspen Springs, tucked at the bottom of big broad-topped Red Mountain, wonâ€™t get service.
â€śThe cell tower signal will not reach Aspen Springs due to topography,â€ť deBethizy said. â€śThey live in a big hole in the signal maps, due to all the hills and mountains surrounding them. They will have a hard time ever getting signal unless they get their own personal tower.â€ť
She added that only 65 people live in Aspen Springs, making the project even less desirable to companiesâ€”too much cost for too few customers.