Tag: trip planning

Google Maps – My God, It’s Full of Stars

Google Maps – My God, It’s Full of Stars

Over the years I’ve been asked many times how I “find” stuff to visit while I’m out riding. It is a mix of serendipity and old-fashioned administrative work. The former I can’t help with other than to say keep your eyes open to the world. The latter? Use what you already have at your fingertips.

When I read about a place that interests me or if I see a photo of something I like – I will Google it for more information. Once I find the basic area or an actual address, I’ll then look it up on Google Maps, checking the street view when possible. That’s when I’ll favorite or star it on Google Maps for safe keeping.

If you’re signed in to a Google account, the stars on your map will be available to you, across devices.

When you open the Google Maps app on your phone, it geolocates you by default. If you’ve starred a place in your current vicinity then navigating to it becomes easy peasy. Just click the star and get directions.

I find these mapped favorites tremendously helpful if I’m passing through an area I’m not familiar with. I might’ve read about something two years ago and long since forgotten the particulars about it. One glance at the map and the little star gives me a clue that some point of interest is nearby and maybe I ought to go and see what it is.

Having that personalized bank of stars just floating out there on the map means there is always something to see.

How to Save Favorite Places on Google Maps

One feature that I like is that you can change the icon for your starred favorites. For example – maybe you don’t want to remove the star from the map but you want to note that you ‘ve already been there. You can change the star to something else to indicated that you’ve visited it.

Last year I bought a Lifeproof case and an X Grip for my phone, making it accessible on my handlebars. This made using Google Maps even easier. I can pull over, see what’s nearby and get directions piped into my helmet via my Sena headset. Isn’t technology amazing?

Seen, Unseen and the Route 66 Encyclopedia

Seen, Unseen and the Route 66 Encyclopedia

Route 66 holds sway over my imagination. I know, it’s just a road. And yet, for me something about it transcends that. I can’t be alone in this thinking because it has evolved in to a cultural icon. Maybe it has something to do with being built on ideas, hope and possibility.

Though I’ve traveled parts of 66 in Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma – in many ways I am more sure than ever that so much was unseen. There is a feeling of a secret beyond the veil and a need to look closer, look longer. Coming home from those stretches of road, I am more curious about what I saw than when I left. Now I know there is a story to be told about what I saw versus going in search of answers about a story that I’d already known. It may seem semantic, but to me there is a difference.

A few months ago, I bought a book called The Route 66 Encyclopedia by Jim Hinckley. The book does a great job of intertwining history, photographs, references to old travel guides and materials. It is.. encyclopedic, really. Peppered all throughout the pages are delicious bites of history for the 66-curious.

When I first got the book, I thought it might inspire me to seek out the things in its pages. But when it arrived and I gave it a cursory look-over, I put it aside and there it stayed for a month or so. For some reason, I didn’t want to know about what I was going to be looking at prior to my trip out to Oklahoma.

When I returned home from my road trip, it was only then that I’ve been able to turn my attention back to the book. Now I want to know about what I’ve seen. What was that crumbling facade? What was in that blank space? How did that town spring up in the middle of nowhere? Now those blank spaces have shape, line and form and I can learn about them. If I did it in reverse the ideas would have been too abstract to appreciate. Or maybe too overwhelming. There is so much to feel in a couple thousand miles. Maybe pre-programming myself was subconsciously too much? I dunno. I’m just riding the wave.

Lifelong Pursuit of Fun List: Time To Start Planning for 2016

Lifelong Pursuit of Fun List: Time To Start Planning for 2016

Every morning a writing prompt from The Daily Page greets me in my mailbox. The intent is to encourage me to write something, anything each day. Ostensibly the encouragement is for this blog, but 9 times out of 10? I scribble something in my journal instead.

But today we have a winner! A topic that seems blog-worthy and quite timely as 2015 begins its wind down.

Where do you want to spend more time?

 

Well, that is a huge can of worms. Wait. I don’t mean that I want to spend time in a can… with worms… I mean that I want to spend time everywhere! Except work.

I guess I’d better get crackin’ on adding the bookmarks I’ve saved and notes I’ve scrawled on scraps of paper to my to-do list. That post will be coming up soon. As will a recap of things I managed to pull off in 2015. Many of which were a surprise to me.

backbone rock tunnel

 

What about you? Where do you want to spend more time? Have you got some curiosity that you hope to satisfy burning you up inside? Perhaps you want to spend some time “nowhere.” That is a worthwhile pursuit.

For the past couple of years I’ve earmarked a few things on my Lifelong Pursuit of Fun List and made loose goals (more like hopes) to try to see them before the calendar rolls over. Sometimes I am able to pull them off, sometimes not. The best part about that? It doesn’t matter. The wishin’ is just as important.

The “I Never Go Anywhere or Do Anything” Photo Gallery

Assorted photos of visiting places through early 2014. A work in progress.

-removed-

Upcoming Road Trip Administrativa

Upcoming Road Trip Administrativa

This weekend, I did not ride my motorcycle at all. But I did run some upcoming trip related errands.

Kenny and I made our way over to the AAA office and picked up our International Driving Permits. The IDP doesn’t give you a license to drive anywhere. It simply interprets your US license into other languages. For $15 it could save you a headache while abroad. Plus, it offers you yet another chance to carry documentation with a hideous photograph of yourself on it. You can never have too many of those.

We also picked up some el cheapo base layer gear. And by el cheapo I’m mean strictly in price, it is actually very nice. I grabbed 2 Under Armour shirts, 1 long sleeve, 1 short sleeve off of the clearance rack for $10 each. Being “last season” has it’s perks.  So that squared away my riding shirts for the trip. Wash & wear is in effect.

fuzzygalore under armour trip shirts

I spent some more time highlighting and marking off roads and areas I hope to check out on my maps. Getting a brand new highlighter is far more exciting to me than it should be. It’s so yellow!

fuzzygalore highlighter heaven

OH! I found a plugin from Cleio & Co for WordPress that will help me manage my bucket To-Do List.

Currently, I have bookmarks, scraps of paper, notes, draft posts tucked all over the place with places I’d like to go, things I’d like to do, stuff I want to see. Managing it from a single point, marking dates against completed items and being able to link posts to the item is a nice feature for a list-maker like me. Now I just have to go through and add in all of my To-Dos. And most importantly, I can’t wait to tick some of them off in the next few weeks.

Want to see what’s on the list so far?

Lastly, my SPOT tracker showed up last week. I set it up, tested it out and will be sharing the link when we shove off. Anyone who is interested can ‘ride along.’

Do people really check those SPOT links out? I do check on my friends when they share theirs. Especially if they’re headed to a place I’ve never been.

So that’s what’s happening on the trip front.

Did you get out and do some riding this weekend?

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