Tag Archives: via points

“That’s For People Who Can’t Read Maps!”

On the Texas Independence Trail

On the Texas Independence Trail

Map of Day 2 Ride Route

On our “National Park Motorcycle Ride” in July we stopped for gas in Gardiner, Montana.  When I started my bike the GPS announced “Turn right in fifty feet”. The woman filling up her car on the other side of the pump I was at exclaimed… “What was that!” The guy filling his truck behind her exclaimed…  “That’s for people who can’t read maps!”

To be honest I was a little annoyed… and I wanted to say something back. Fortunately, I couldn’t think of a good come back. It was probably a good thing I had left well enough alone. Thinking back I know there was a time I might have said the same thing. I didn’t have a GPS and I couldn’t figure out why I needed one. I probably would have never bought one for myself… What changed that you ask? My lovely wife bought me one for Christmas! When I got it I smiled and said thank you… thinking I would probably never use it… Besides it was just some fancy electronic gadget that I would have to learn to use. Yeah, it had only a few buttons… buttons that did many things and to know what those things are require reading the user’s manual…  I know some people consider me a bit of a geek but I, like most men, don’t like reading user’s manuals… and besides reading a map was much easier… right.

How did I end up learning to use it? To make a long story short, shortly after I got my GPS, I was put in a situation where I had to use it… In a city I did not know and I needed to get to many places. The GPS got me to those places without a hitch. Now the GPS is an invaluable tool of my travels.

Now back to the guy who said… “That’s for people who can’t read maps!” This is how I might have responded to him and other people like my former self.

Can you get this from a map?

  1. Find motels near you.
  2. Location of the nearest gas station.
  3. Restaurants nearby.
  4. Hospitals
  5. Shopping
  6. Parks, museums etc.

Can a map give you real-time information as you drive? Like…

  1. How far it is to your next turn.
  2. How far it is to your destination.
  3. Whether you will be exiting right or left from a freeway
  4. Does it give lane assignments for proper exiting?
  5. If you miss a turn can a map get you back on course (without stopping)?

Actually, to use a GPS effectively you need to know how to read a map. You must be able to read a map to plan routes… to add via points and add roads of your choosing and not just go from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’. A GPS is just a tool just as maps are tools. A GPS is just a better tool…

The other advantage of using a GPS is you don’t have to read it as you are driving or riding. Reading a map while riding is hard… Unless you know the route by heart you will need to refer to the map. Reading those little road names are not easy and distracting…

Now I’ve got that off my chest… What can you add to this?

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I hope I see you down the road somewhere… Ride safe…