I’ve been thinking about maps.  Actually I’ve been thinking about maps and how to navigate across the country and around the world… with maps.  How to get from here … to there and then to the next place.  Not that I currently know where the "here" or the "there" will be, but I do know that once I hit the road for a big tour, I will be spending a considerabe amount of time navigating.

Most of the cycle-tourists that I have been reading about use the traditional hardcopy method..  A well worn map with colored lines drawn throughout.  Some work better from things as simple as a few scratchings on a napkin or such.  My goal is to do all my navigating electronically.  Eliminate the paper maps and depend on a sytem or downloadable maps, directions and electronic cue sheets.  Not that I’m all that tech savy and I actually prefer to explore huge maps spread out wide across a table while eating like I used to read the back of the Wheaties box during breakfast.

The switch for me is more philosofical.  I just like the idea that I can eliminate my dependacne on a system of searching for maps in order to navigate through areas that are already heavily mapped and available online.

I wish I could say that my new electronic system is simple and intuitive.  It’s NOT!  Not at all!  The following is the system of detailed steps I must use in order to navigate paperlessly:

  1. MapMyRide.com to create a personal map of the desired route.
  2. Export the tracks to a *.GPX file and download it to the laptop.
  3. Using Garmin’s BaseCamp(free) software, import the tracks and then using the Edit>Properties>Filter function, reduce the number of track points to something less than 500.
  4. Using GPSBabel (free) software and the newly created, and 500 point limited *.GPX file, upload the *.GPX track file to the Garmin eTrex Legend.
  5. Enjoy!