Snapshot: My Navigation System

While we are on the road, my habit of waking up at 0’dark-thirty doesn’t take a vacation. Instead it is during those quiet hours when I am the only one who is awake that I spend time figuring out where the heck we’ll be going for the day. I think it’s a pretty nice service. I hope Kenny knows how lucky he is 😉

While I usually don’t leave the house with a hard route or plan in place, I do keep a list of possible ideas.

This was a typical scene during our trip through the south:

Navigation by the bathroom light

By the light of the bathroom I looked through my maps, brochures and scraps of paper I’d stuffed in my map baggie. I also checked the computer for possible pit stops like parks, attractions, giant fiberglass people – and would then then jot down a list of roads for the day.

This process has served me well over the years.

How About You?

When you head out on a trip do you leave armed with a set plan or do you travel more loosely and figure it out as you go?


Rachael is the whimsical writer behind the 20+ year old Girlie Motorcycle Blog. As a freelance blogger, she is on a mission to inspire laughter, self-examination, curiosity, and human connection. Girlie Motorcycle Blog can be found on several Best Motorcycle Blog lists.

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9 Responses

  1. Noah says:

    Bit of both methods; I recently completed a 7k+ km bike trip in India with no plan other than “ride a bike in India” when I landed. Did a day or two of research while my body clock adjusted and decided to go see the Himalayas. The plan was go up the west coast from Bangalore and come back down the middle(ish) through Hyderabad. Couple of guys (adv types from Delhi) in Himachal Pradesh said I should take the east coast down. Added 4-5 days, but it was good stuff. Could have planned it more and probably seen a few more cool things, but the I might have missed some cool things. 3 weeks on the road and, other than a couple of photos I wish I’d gotten, no regrets.

  2. I usually research the hell out of all the places and route I’m going to, and then my actual route varies, because of the people I talk to during my route and some of the things I happen to find, that I did not find in my research.

    It’s lots of fun anyway!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. Wayne Busch says:

    I do some research, but I like to leave the flexibility to adapt and abandon what I originally planned to follow my instincts. I go out with a general idea of what I’m going to do, then let it happen once I’m out on the road.

  4. Ronman says:

    I pretty much do the same thing, pretty lady. I’ll look over maps and any other information I can find on a particular area. I like to have several options in mind just in case there is a road closed. Plus I always keep a watch for roads that just call to me as I’m riding along.

    Being on a schedule five nights a week at work, I despise having a set agenda when I’m on my own time. I may have a certain destination in mind but I don’t always wind up there. I usually just see where the spirit moves me to go.


  5. Joe Popp says:

    Too often I head out without too many plans. Then when I get home I see all of the cool stuff I missed! I am going to start to plan more… I have my iphone on a RAM mount and use that as my GPS using the WAZE app. I installed a USB jack on my dash to power it. It’s great until it rains or there is no reception. 🙂

  6. Connie says:

    We use a Gazateer for the states we are in, it has helped find the curvey roads- historical sites, etc! We used it to find all the covered bridges in Ohio, WV, KY. We use the GPS only if we get lost.

  7. Lowell says:

    I’m pretty much like Rex Covington “(research the hell out of all the places and route I’m going to”), and I actually create a spreadsheet that contains info on each stop, riding distances, times, elevations, GPS coordinates, etc. where I will stop to take photos, get gas, food, etc. But I usually end up making only about 90% of the scenic stops I’d scheduled. I either just miss them for some reason or run out of time and/or energy.

    Joe Popp said he often gets home and sees all of the cool stuff he missed, that happens to me also but “researching the hell of a planned trip” and “creating the spreadsheets” keeps missing stuff to a minimum for me. But anyway you do a roadtrip is fine of course.

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