11.01.2007,8:22 AM
Where am I??
Back in the old days of sophmore college classes, when I had designs on being a forester and out in the woods seven days a week, I took a semester of orienteering. I learned how to read topo maps, use a compass and azimuth, and other hand held devices. In those days global positioning devices were only in the hands of the military. Or very wealthy.

Now GPS's are common everywhere: cars, phones, bikes, boats, hiker's mitts. Many models to choose from and "where do we go?" A close friend and riding buddy often strikes out on paved roads, finds gravel roads to explore and ends up in the middle of "Where am I??" When it's time to return home he wakes up his GPS and hits the"Go Home" (but pay $200 or more) button.

My recent "Where the hell am I?" escapade on the Colorado River trip, and the "Where are we?" pondering on the back roads of Tennessee a few weeks ago have convinced me I need a GPS. We will absolutely need one when riding the Trans-America Trail.

No matter how techie and fancy those devices are they don't replace good basic orienteering skills: map and compass. Skills I have not used in decades and my then fancy $75 Silva compass is long gone. So it's time to refresh those skills and acquire new ones. I'm joining the techie generation: I'm buying a GPS (next year). I'm also replacing my long-gone Silva compass with a better one and less money.

I am registered for two GPS and compass classes in the local area. A fellow rider has offered to loan me his Garmin GPSMaps 60csx. This model is highly recommended by many on the Adventure Riders Forum (ADV) for reasons I will expound on later. This will permit me to learn to use a GPS and also try out this model. I'm thankful to Kurt for his loan.

A few riders on TWT have requested feedback on both the classes and the GPS. I've obliged and will post reports here for everyone.


posted by Macrobe
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