Scanning around the map, reading the names of the lighthouses makes me want to visit them. How could you resist a place called Point No Point? Between you and me, that seems like the name that should be hanging on my office door. Then there is the gelatinous sounding Solomons Lump. Unfortunately that one isn’t accessible by land, which may be just as well. It sounds like it could be infectious.
I don’t know what initially sparked my affinity for lighthouses but they are one of my “go to” stops when looking for things to visit. Maybe it has something to with their implied independence, perseverance and strength against the elements. No matter how small in stature, the mighty lighthouse keeps shining its light when things get nasty.
So far, I’ve only visited a few of the lighthouses in the Mid-Atlantic region. But maybe that will change. Maybe this year I’ll find myself seeking out a few more.
Yes, GPS is indeed wonderful. I use it often but more as a ‘where have a been’ or ‘I need to get someplace very specific.’
When I’m putzing around for pleasure, I don’t often rely on GPS for navigating. I stick with the old standby – paper map, highlighter, a sharpie and a scrap of paper. It never lets me down and is as easy as pie.
This past weekend we took a much needed road trip to West Virginia to stretch our legs a little. While there, I found a county map in a gas station which for me is like the holy grail. County maps zoom in on the local roads that your higher level state maps don’t often feature. You know, the little wiggly roads. That was $5 well spent.
With photo bonus rallies being in the forefront of my riding-mind lately, I thought I would offer up some of the resources that I use to find interesting locations to ride to and places to see.
Blogs, Websites & Books
There are so many corners of the internet that can help to fuel your desire to get out and explore. The following books, blogs and websites are just some of the ones I find helpful in searching for places to visit.
I have also found that searching sites like Flickr, Pinterest, ADVRider also offer some good inspiration for thing to research and visit.
If you have a location in mind that you’d like to visit, chamber of commerce, city or town websites often prove to be good places to look for historical landmarks.
You can also try Googling for interesting KML files and maps. For example – say you’re interested in Old Long Island Burial Grounds. Perhaps someone has already done the work for you and was kind enough to share it with the world.
Sure, nothing beats good old fashioned riding by the seat of your pants, serendipity and exploring – but these links might help you get on the road to something you hadn’t thought of before.
If you’re anything at all like me, you spend an awful lot of time sitting at a desk each week. During these (seemingly endless) hours, my mind wanders to thoughts of places that I’d like to ride to.
And… just as soon as the ideas enter my mind, it seems they’re on the way out again. So, I’ve taken to marking these spots onto a custom Google Map. I then export the placemarks and put the waypoints into my GPS.
Creating Custom Google Maps
Google offers the following video on creating your own maps:
After you’ve created your custom map, you can go back and add, delete and edit entries at any time. Just select your maps from ‘My Places’ on the left hand side of your GMaps screen.
I created a map for the E2E Rally that I keep adding placemarks to so I don’t forget where I want to go. Eventually.
Just something to keep in mind when using Google Maps – if you just enter a word or phrase like saaaay – “post office” into the search field, it will pop up a ton of locations that you can then click and Save to Map.
That makes finding specific things and saving them to your map a snap.
Google Maps allows you to export your custom map points out to a KML file. Since I cannot use a KML file in Garmin’s BaseCamp to ultimately load into my Zumo 665, I need to convert the KML file to a GPX file.
I feel like Kenny and I haven’t gone anywhere or done any riding in the longest time. Of course, it was winter. Sort of.
But, it’s time; time for us to think about hitting the road. The next few weeks are set to be busy ones with things like getting married and whatnot but after those “I dos” and “to dos” clear off my list, we’ll be hitting the road.
We’re not going anyplace monumental like say Chris and George who are each heading to Alaska this year, but we have every intention of having a great time somewhere in the southern states nonetheless. What will make our trip monumental? Well, that remains to be seen.
With this past Sunday’s rain, I found myself in the house all day. It was the first time I’ve been cooped up in ages. I managed not go completely haywire by whiling away some of the time looking at maps, researching things on the web and getting a loose idea of where our trip might take us. I broke out my big America Rides wall map and began to jot some ideas down.