maps: how do they work?

when i started this journey, almost a year ago, part of the appeal of The Crusher was going to home country and navigating the wilderness by myself. yes, i’ve wandered the sheltered expanses of Iosco County and Bruce Crossing, but never more than 10 miles from my family. 10 miles was huge when i was a little girl adventurer, but now that i am a Grown Woman Adventurer, i was thrilled by the idea of getting a map and learning where i’d be riding at for 100 + miles.

i love maps. i love to look at paper maps with topographical data. i love pinching my fingers on the mileage scale and guessing how far i am from somewhere else. i love rotating a map to know which way is forward. i love that north is not up and east is not right.

grown up adventuring (and one peewee) in south east ohio last month…

although i now have a gps unit, i’m still known to write my turn-by-turn and roll it up on my handlebars. this is a leftover from my time as a motorbike adventurer before gps was something people actually used. i tried to find a picture, but basically you write your turn by turn on a long narrow strip of paper, wrap it around your handlebar & tear a bit off each turn as you go. an elegant solution to the mapping problem from a simpler time.

because Crusher is a Big Adventure (and GPS unit was on the mandatory gear list) i decided to learn how gps maps really work. after some failures, this is what i came up with:

i bought a Garmin Edge820, compatible with Garmin’s Connect software. You can import a map and put waypoints in it, but there are no gps coordinates and often the waypoints were not exported correctly to the device. for example, on a 40 miles test ride, my 820 correctly identified 2 out of 3 checkpoints. a little google-fu revealed that the connect software is not fully functional for gps mapping. thanks, Garmin, for locking my device out of the fully functional Explore app. i’m glad i bought this thing used because i’m going to hesitate to give my money to you directly after this fiasco.

it looks like a good map, but i assure you it ain’t worth a single shit.

i asked my Crusher Family how they were using their Garmin devices which led me to the Gaia application.

i don’t usually create GPS maps, so i read some how-to about Gaia and it turned out to be pretty easy. i imported my Crusher approved route, added my checkpoints, exported to the 820 and, oh marvel of marvels, everything is present and correctly located on the device.

here’s my waypoints in gaia with my route hidden because if you’re not going to actually Crush it this year, you don’t need to know how we get to these places…

i’ll be testing a few maps out over the next week to make sure that my waypoints are correctly located using this method and that my turn by turn offers a (silent) notification that i am approaching one.

i’ll still bring my turn by turn paper, probably in a sandwich bag in my pocket. and i’ll make sure this map is secure in my offline data on my phone because you can never be too prepared… there are angry moose out there…

officially, i will be crushing the last weekend of september- on course either saturday-sunday (26-27) or sunday-monday (which will be Yom Kippur). More updates coming soon.

Special thanks to Deals Gap Motorcycle Resort, for sponsoring my Garmin. don’t get me wrong, i DO like it, i just wish Garmin’s software supported it a little better.