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Yea, NY 17 (ha, um...Future 86) goes through some very rural areas and is a really nice drive. Way back in 2004-2005 I actually held a very long call on Sprint along that road, I was quite impressed.
That stretch is actually even EVDO now, as opposed to I-80 through PA which is STILL somehow only 1x.
I spend my summers up in the catskills. I drove up this weekend, my wife was pretty much on the phone the whole way and Verizon had rock solid coverage and 3G data. I Used to have sprint and had good service on the 17 itself and in large towns like Monticello and liberty. However places like fallsburg and ellenville near my summer home had very spotty service and I used to roam on Verizon. Problem was with roaming data was on 1x. Finally I had the touch diamond and touch pro and the settings were either sprint only or auto and that drained the battery very quickly since it kept jumping from Verizon to sprint. I finally figured out a way to download a patch forcing it to roam. The last 2 years I had the AT&T iPhone which actually worked better there then in NYC. This year with my Verizon iPhone I had great service (tower in south fallsburg 1,500feet) and another on on SAMs point (2,300feet) I'm at 1,430 so anyway that's my story.