Tag: apps

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?

E2E Rally Bonus Stop Planning – Roadside Presidents

E2E Rally Bonus Stop Planning – Roadside Presidents

For the E2E Rally, I’ve been thinking about how I can string together historical markers, monuments and engaging sights to ‘theme’ my bonus stops. We’ve got 6 months to dash around and pick up points. Keeping things fresh will mean that my interest will stay piqued and I’ll be more likely to play through the whole time.

With one of the E2E Rally bonus categories being “Historical Landmark,” I think this app just might help in route planning…

Ridin’ Nerdy – Roadside Presidents

roadside america - roadside presidents appIf you’ve read this blog for more than the last 3 minutes, it may not come as as shock to you that I’m a bit on the nerdy side. I like history, learning “stuff”, roadside attractions, visiting touristy and vintage locations.  I’m always on the lookout for blogs, websites and apps that weave my geeky interests into my motorcycle rides.

I’ve long been a fan of Roadside America. I use their website, iPhone app and have their GPS travel guide on my Zumo. So, it would seem that downloading their Roadside Presidents app for the iPhone would be a natural fit. The Roadside Presidents app gives you the same irreverent slant that their roadside content does – just with a Presidential twist.

Interested in checking out a statue of William McKinley’s VP – Garret Hobart? (Isn’t everyone?) What about the rock where Alexander Hamilton rested his head after being mortally wounded in a dual with Aaron Burr? Right! I bet you didn’t even know you wanted to see such a thing. That’s is precisely why this app is so important 😉

The app uses your phone’s location services to deliver up these delicious (and weird) Presidential road stops. I’m certain some of these places will find their way into my E2E Rally photos.

Maybe they’ll show  up in yours too?

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Moto Photo: The Pano iPhone Panoramic Photo App

Moto Photo: The Pano iPhone Panoramic Photo App

My iPhone is like nerd crack. It’s always in my pocket, even the one on my motorcycle jacket.

I shamelessly noted before that one of the only reasons I got an iPhone was for the Hipstamatic app. In the 6 months that I’ve had the phone now I’ve accumulated quite a few other camera apps as well. One of the more recent purchases was Pano.

Pano allows you to stitch together photos to create a panoramic image right on your phone. With minimal patience, you can put together a kick-ass panorama.

You have to be mindful of lining up the image on the screen when you’re shooting or you are susceptible to defying the laws of physics with your photo. At first you might not notice these types of anomalies. But even when you do – they just might not bother you that much.

You can see the light bending at the stitch points:

Fuzzygalore in Poquott -  Setauket Harbor

In this pic on the left, you can see the ghost edge of the tree branches:

Even with their (user) errors, I still like the pictures.

Soth at Steady on the Humble has a new masthead image of his bicycle in the snow on the Brooklyn Bridge which was shot with Pano. Can I get an amen for how great this pic is?

In the last few months I’ve taken hundreds of photos. In that same period of time, I’ve made about 15 phone calls. I almost wish this device was called something other than a “phone”.

Do you use your phone to take photos when out on the bike or are you a die hard digital camera user?

Ridin’ Nerdy: The Roadside America iPhone App

Ridin’ Nerdy: The Roadside America iPhone App

Roadside America is the online mother-load of weird and wonderful kitschy destinations. Categorized by state, the website can help you punctuate a ride or a trip with some super funky spots to stop at along the way.

If this isn’t your first time reading this blog then you are probably well acquainted with the fact that I often stop to see roadside gems in my travels. Well, thanks to the iPhone and Roadside America’s forwarding thinking – there is an app to make ridiculous road tripping even easier.  Now you can have listings of muffler men, giant fiberglass gorillas and giant balls of twine right in your tankbag without any pre-planning.

Just like the website, the app attractions contains a description, photos, a rating, any contact information and a link to Google maps to pull up directions. What more do you need?

Access Plans:

Roadside America iPhone AppSingle Region – $2.99  Pick one region of the US:  California, Northwest, Southwest, Midwest, Southeast or Northeast

50 States – For and additional $5.99 you can have access to all 50 states for 1 year.

Feature – Near Me

Using the iPhone’s location service, you can see the 25 closest attractions to you. So, if you find yourself in a coffee shop in an unfamiliar town, you can just poke a few buttons and 1-2-3… start riding towards a giant mechanical eagle that just happens to be a hop, skip and a jump away.

Feature – Themes

Feel like finding the closest Muffler Man? How about dinosaurs, UFOs or a zombie army? Well then, just give the Theme button a tap and voila! You’ll get a topical listing of your desired weirdness. This can make for a nice theme-based ride if you’re looking for something different to do.

Feature – Submit Tip

Whoa Nelly! Did you just stumble upon something that isn’t already listed on Roadside America? Well, hot damn! Go ahead and submit a tip to the site right from the app.

What Else Is There?

Search, Cities, Random, Been There, Share on Twitter or Facebook – All good stuff.

My Verdict

I bought the Northeast region. For $3, I’m happy to have a database of silliness in my pocket. I probably wouldn’t spring for the whole US unless I was planning on taking a big trip.

Using my phone as a guide, I took a ride to see Long Island attractions and marked them as “been there” in the app. That was pretty fun. I really like that it can take away the need to plan in advance and I’m all for doing less work. Would I recommend the app to other roadside lovers? You betcha!

How Do I Get It?

For more info on the app – visit Roadside America or iTunes.

Home Depot Cemetary - Commack NY
RA Tip: Home Depot Parking Lot Cemetery - Commack, NY