Tag: maps

Motorcycle Travel Ideas: Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses

Motorcycle Travel Ideas: Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses

A few years ago during a pit stop at the DeLorme store in Yarmouth, Maine – I picked up a couple maps and travels books. One of the items I brought home was a map featuring Mid-Atlantic lighthouses. Having travel inspiration on the bookshelf at home is always a good thing.

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.

Sandy Hook
85 Mercer Rd
Highlands, NJ 07732

Navesink Twin Lights
Twin Lights Historic Site
Lighthouse Road
Highlands, NJ 07732

Concord Point
700 Concord St
Havre De Grace, MD 21078


Tried and True – The Tools of the Trade on the Road

Tried and True – The Tools of the Trade on the Road

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.

paper map lover

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.

Also, I finally had the opportunity to meet up with Kathy from ToadMama.com 🙂 More trip posts to follow, so in the meantime mosey on over to read her post about our ride together.

Y’all come back now. Ya hear?


Photo Rally Bonus Hunting – Links, Books, Google Maps

Photo Rally Bonus Hunting – Links, Books, Google Maps

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.

Blogs & Websites Books

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.

Google Maps

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.

Example Google Map with Placemarks

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.

search for locations

That makes finding specific things and saving them to your map a snap.

example save to map

GPSVisualizer – Convert KML to GPX

[edit] WOOHOO! The 4/1/13 Basecamp update provides KML support!

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.

For that I use the great GPSVisualizer website.

On the surface it might sound like a lot of work, but it takes about 3 minutes to get your Google Maps KML, convert it to GPX and load it into BaseCamp.

Garmin BaseCamp

When I have a GPX file, I then drop it into Garmin’s BaseCamp. From there I can load the waypoints into my Zumo and have the ability to create routes.

I organize my waypoints into collections in BaseCamp by rally name or maybe by type so that I can easily find them on the GPS when I’m on the go.

Odds and Ends

After I’ve visited a location, I sometimes remove it from my Zumo ‘favorites’ just to cut down on the clutter or if I think it is a place I might not ever feel the need to navigate to again.

If I’m just floating around, going nowhere in particular – I let the ‘favorites’ screen on the Zumo stay visible. A quick glance will let me know how close I am to the nearest waypoints I’ve saved.

Good luck and happy exploring!

If you have any other recommendations or tips please leave a comment!


I Think It’s Time For Us To Go Somewhere

I Think It’s Time For Us To Go Somewhere

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.

Now comes the daydreaming…

Planning to go somewhere

How about you? Any trips on the near horizon?