Monday, April 13, 2015


 Google Earth, Google Maps and GPS Rout planning can be a daunting Task, though at first glance it seems so simple, “if you want to travel from California to Alaska just put in your start point and end point and it does the work for you” well as it turns out it is a timely process of Picking the sights you want to see and the setting way points on the Roads you would like to ride on the way, A straight line or fastest route is not likely the one you will want to take. After you have selected your rout you will then need to either make legible maps with step by step directions (Google maps will do this part for you quite well) or if you’re taking a GPS you will need to transfer the rout in to a GPS or GPX file for import to you GPS unit.  Its all a time intensive process, but not without its reward, in fact I mention Google earth because if you also open your rout in Google Earth you may find some unexpected treasures!
As you look deeper/closer to each road you have selected you will also see alternate routes that get you to the same place, it is quite common that I find a much better road or an embedded photo left by another user that ultimately has me change my plans for a much better road. Its these little things that can make a good ride in to an epic adventure.
You can get overwhelmed so it’s good to just take one section at a time for the longer trips, and know its well worth the effort in the end.
Below is a Draft of the Rout Plan for the 2015 Alaska Adventure, as you can see we cover a lot of ground, so the trip is divided up into Days. We will have both GPS units loaded with the maps routs and way-points and hard copy maps with the rout outlined on it.

As a Note: in 2013 I did not take a GPS but it did print out each days plan with detailed turn by turn directions, I found that after so much planning I actually did not use the Maps or directions on a regular bases, rather I would look at them in the morning and focus on particular destinations, if I got wondered of course (got lost) I could always go back to the map. This year the number of special roads and sights that are just off the main road, that I have planned the GPS just makes sense.  

My Mapping Starts with Google maps, setting way-points as destinations. This helps me plan each days overall mileage and basic rout, I then remap the entire rout in Garmin BaceCamp to create the initial GPS Rout.  Its after this step I go back to Google maps and Google Earth and start looking for those unique roads and sights, I can then go back to BaceCamp and re plan each Day according to the new Plan.
Sounds like a lot of rework, and yes it is, but BaceCamp is the tool I’m using to load my GPS and it is not nearly as up to date or as detailed and Google map and or Earth.
Note: I have found the numbering your way-points in BaceCamp will make the process of creating and modifying routs much easier. I will use a 1 for Day one and .0 - .1 and so on to numerate each way-point for that day, it works for me!
In the End I create Google Map, Google Earth and GPX Files for each person on the trip,  they can load there GPS Print a Map for the family and print one to take along If they would like.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015


Alaska has a pull no other state has, their seems to be a sense of freedom, a sense of Adventure, its quite a basic feeling coming from ones sole I think.
Thinking of the earliest explorers, of any land, there was this sense of a need to explore, travel and seek new horizons they all had in common.  Early explorers traveled over sea and over vast expanses of land to head this call of adventure to find new land, a fresh start meeting new people and maybe  gain some new hopes and dreams along the way. For them it was a commitment to a new life giving up every security and every sense of a home they and their families may have developed over the years.
Today that commitment to and sacrifice is not the same, but the call is still there, I think adventure is a primal part of every persons sole, though some have a way of pushing it down to suppression and others, like me, cannot resist the temptation to Go…

Alaska is the last frontier, meaning you can still be a settler within the state, you can also walk off in to its wilderness and never return, living off the land and likely never seeing another sole again. Alaska is so large Texas would get lost in its thick woods and glacier filled valleys and you would still have a place so lager you could lose most any states in the union with in its boundaries and never see it.
Adding to the sense of adventure from the US, you must travel through another country to get to Alaska, and for people living in the US that is unique.  Much of Alaska is untouched by Man, and animals live in harmony with the land and most without contact with human, in fact, in most city’s just a few feet outside city limits you are 100% back to nature in all its glory.
For these reasons Alaska is quite unique in its draw to Explorers and Adventure seekers, it’s truly an amazing place!

Why Ride to Alaska? You can definitely Fly in and Ride to all the sights and cut the mileage down and make the trip a Whole Lot easier! I can actually see the reasoning hear, but I just don’t seem to want to do it that way (the majority of people Ride to Alaska rather than Fly in and ride). I think this has to do with the above reasons Plus and this is a big one you would miss out on the ever changing landscape, you would not have the sense of accomplishment and “there is a whole lot to see between here and there. The Biggest reason to Ride may not be so obvious at first, and if you are new to Adventure Travel, I will let you in on a secret, its not just the sights and all this nature! and yes I would do it for that alone but “it’s the people you will meet” as alone as you might think you will get, as remote as you might fill, you’re going to meet some of the most interesting people in the world.

If you are alone they will approach you…  it starts like this - where are you from, where are you headed, how long have you been on the road,  I’ve always dreamed of doing what you are doing.

If they are local they will start pointing you to some of the areas coolest things around and asking if you need anything, if your looking for a place to eat or stay and they will get you pointed in the right direction. If you stay around long enough you are going to learn the history of the areas the person is from and much more.

If they are a fellow traveler it will go more like this, which way are you coming from, how are the roads, was the weather OK, where is the next gas stop. Again stay around long enough and you will get to know them there story and much more. People are so open and so friendly.

If you are traveling with a group, most locals seem to stay clear and wait to see what is happening and most travelers will keep it short, to the first few questions above.

If your with a group it becomes your responsibility to draw out the locals, once you do they will open up, a group is intimidating and as dirty as you will be! you will all look like a bunch of hooligans!

It’s amazing to me when I’m alone or with one other person how many people open up and share there life with me, it is the most amazing thing and is one of the tings keeping me in love with adventure travel.

Book Recommendation:
Travels with Charley (In Search of America) by Mr. John Steinbeck