Friday, October 25, 2013

Old School Navigation

Yep.  Shoulda turned left at Albuquerque.

Honestly, this is a little embarrassing: I haven't owned an atlas in years.  For the last several years, online maps and the navigation app on my phone were enough for me.

Just look at all that adventure waiting to be had.
But now that I want to explore some more, I've discovered those tools were sadly lacking.  And, somehow, I forgot all about just how useful and fun paper maps are for planning routes.

I recently picked up a DeLorme Atlas and Gazetteer, and have been going through it carefully, looking for squiggly lines, and wondering why the hell it took me so long to get an atlas.

Here's hoping for some decent weather this weekend so I can put it to use.

(Photo Source Here.  Map Source Here.)


Erik said...

I have the Wisconsin Gazetteer. It was so handy when I lived in Prescott. There were so many great roads just minutes away. Now that I'm way up north, the Gazetteer doesn't get used much... The twisty goodness is all south of me!

Trobairitz said...

I always find paper maps and Gazetteers to be a must. We have them in the car and also on the bike when taking backroads. Just don't trust the GPS.

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

I use the Gazetteers often, but since you just may end up to our state to the east, try these.

You can download the maps by county, or do what I do, buy the paper set that covers the entire state. I know of no other source that provides detail on whether a road is gravel or paved.

Printing out the county maps is great for a tank bag, my challenge is that I can go in and out of a county a dozen times in 20 miles, so what works better for me is looking at the bigger picture on paper and then do it Roll Chart style or create a Route on the GPS.

Ottawa Rider said...

I find the problem with GPS and google maps is that they show a very small part of the entire picture. Sure, you can zoom out and in but then you lose all context of the picture and certain roads appear and disappear. Plus, I lose all sense of direction and compass points no longer have any meaning.

- Dave at Motorcycle Addiction

Canajun said...

I agree with Ottawa Rider. I am lost without the context provided by a larger, physical map. A GPS is great but only to serve as a reminder of particular turns etc while on a route already planned out on paper.

mq01 said...

in the city with high density traffic i'll use gps. but, i love my maps/atlas' and have several storage boxes worth. i hope you have good weather long enough this season to get to use it soon!

Lucky said...

Erik - So what do you do when you need twisty goodness now?

Many people have told me of the joys of the alphabet roads near Prescott.

Trobairitz - I don't blame you. The fact that I haven't had an atlas says a lot, to me, about how much backroad adventuring I've been doing...

Coop - Thanks for the link, that's awesome! I've used county topographic maps in the past and been amazed at the detail. I'm going to have to try and find some of those for this area too.

Dave - Very true. Google maps and GPS seem to be good for finding "here to there" directions, but not as much for just going out exploring.

Canajun - That makes sense.

mq01 - Thanks! I hope so too. I suspect I'll be able to use it even when the weather is crappy, though that means I'll have to be out exploring in the cage rather than on the bike... Obviously, I'd rather explore on the bike, though I suppose the cage can be good for scouting trips when the weather is dismal.