Getting Real-er

The List

As I do with any trip I take, I create a packing list. These are the things you think you remotely maybe could should vaguely painfully deniably possibly might need in a million years.. Regardless of how silly, seemingly stupid, ridiculous, important, unimportant, crucial, critical or meh.

Everything I pack, meets all of those criteria.

I listen to a lot of motorcycle travel audiobooks and the one common theme is “Don’t pack more than you need” and “Make sure you pack it if you think you might need it”. Which creates something of a conundrum. I’ve heard these travelers say at one point, “I really wish I hadn’t left that thigamajig on the kitchen table, the thing I thought I wouldn’t need in a thousand years”. Lo’ and behold, they need it. Do I need to pack the squishy red rubber ball? No. Will I need the squishy red rubber ball? Uh, hmmm… don’t know, probably not, but you never know. Maybe. Pack the squishy red rubber ball.

I’ll let the list stew for a day or so and ponder things that I may never need but will put on the list. I also handed it to my wife for her to scrutinize, laugh at and edit, concluding with the comment: “You forgot, winter jacket and lawn furniture”. We’ll see about that. Now, on to other important things…..

Doing it…..

In my previous blog I went on about planning. Part of that is getting my GPS ready for the task. Is it ready for the task? Um, most times. Well…. sometimes. Okay, fine, no. Up until about 6 months ago, apparently, I was doing it wrong. That is the process of mapping and setting up the GPS for the trip. Turns out it is not far from using a sextant and navigating by the stars, only with cables, annoying beeps and a snooty British Woman telling me to “Make a U-Turn”.

Apparently, if I don’t set Waypoints at every freaking turn, crack in the road, pebble and convenience store, Snooty British Woman will yell at me repeatedly until I either comply or shut her off. I learned this on my last foray to points south. Although I set all of my “stops” for fuel in the GPS through Garmin BaseCamp, which generated a “route” to said “stops”, Snooty British Woman had her own ideas on how I should get to these places and yelled at me for hours on end even though I would arrive at the desired location. She would insist that I go back to where I should have turned an hour ago and follow her route. Sort of a backseat driver with the personality of a dish rag, yet with pleasant manners. She was denied her insistence.

That has all changed now. “I’ve got it nailed down.” he said with an air of superiority, yet knowing full well he was at the mercy of a device with an IQ a few points higher than that of himself.

With a fresh update to the mapping software, I beat down this foe with a might clickity click and off I went creating the route of my intended direction. Though arguments with inanimate electronics devices would take place, I employed my mighty powers of good over evil, that would be the Harley Davidson Ride App, and lay slay the beast that is my Garmin Zumo GPS by basically pulling fast one. While it wasn’t looking, and you do have to do that, I quickly set about to complete the task successfully.

It is common knowledge that if you sneak up on a device, regardless of what it is, what you failed at in previous attempts would then succeed since it didn’t see you coming. This has been proven time and time again, lending credence to the notion that what electronics do, they do on purpose.

Take that Basecamp!!

The Harley Davidson Ride App kicks ass. Plain and simple. In the app I created a ride, setting my starting point and destination. The app drew a squiggly line between the two. Ah-HA! Then, in tandem with Google Maps, I found all the stops I needed to make, zoomed in, selected “Search this area” and found the gas stations I had to stop at. Right click “Add to route” and TADA! That stop would insert itself into the route. Freaking genius. I did that for all my stops until I had the completed route.

Then there’s this cool button that says “Export GPX”. Gasp!!! What?! We mustn’t let Snooty British Woman catch on to this diabolical plan. Once I downloaded the GPX, I went into Garmin BaseCamp, and set about sneaking in this file into the mapping. BaseCamp was illusive on how to do this so, after a quick consultation with that Asian fellow Yoo Toob, the method became clear and soon I was dragging files from one invisible place to another. Moments later, a bright magenta line appeared on my screen that matched that of what was on the HDRA. Just to be sure, I investigated aforementioned magenta line and to my surprise, it held all of the pre-determined waypoints as plotted in HDRA. Success!! To my knowledge, Snooty British Woman is none the wiser since BaseCamp has only come to the front steps and not rung the bell.

Now to enact the most dangerous maneuver of them all. Importing the routes into the GPS while evading Snooty British Woman. There is this button on the top menu bar in Basecamp that says “Send to Device”. When clicked, the highlighted route in “My collections” is sent, without the aid of Amazon, Fedex or the USPS, to the GPS through the open window its bathroom and sets itself down on the kitchen table.


“Oh, look. New routes on my table, I suppose….” Says Snooty British Woman. “…wait a minute. Where did these come from? I don’t recall allowing these in. Drat! I’ve been bamboozled!” She exclaims.

She must now obey my petty human whims to her complete and utter dismay.

Of course, this could all go sideways should she successfully ponder some dastardlier plan that would throws my navigation into disarray. Sadly this will not be realized until I am actually on the road with the intended route enacted on the GPS. Fortunately, I have an ally. The HDRA will be running as well, tracking me and leading me. The two will be at least 14″ apart on my handlebars, so I doubt there will be any interaction between the two, but one can never be to sure. This leads me to the biggest question of all. Who will lie to me first.

Fortunately and thankfully, my handwritten paper instructions will not ever lie to me. And with that realization, Snooty British Woman simply scowls a distained “Make a U-Turn”.

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