The Great Summer Ride of 2011 – Modern Routing

I’ve not been able to concentrate for the last two days.  All I can think about is June and how nice it will be to hit the road.

In the last blog entry, I had mentioned that I was going to approach this trip differently than I’ve done trips before.  True to that spirit, I’ve even changed the way I do map work.

For most of my adult life, I’ve been a paper map kind of guy.  I like the tactile feel of a paper map, the ability to let my eyes wander over the page, the “big picture” sense of larger roads vs. smaller roads, and the little visual cues that let you know which roads might be best for making good time (emphasis time) and making good time (emphasis good).  In my heart of hearts, I think I’ll always be a bit of an anachronism who prefers paper maps whenever possible.

Time for something different.

You gotta hand it to the Google people; they really know how to do maps.  I was a little leery of Google reliance after the whole Google-Buzz-gives-too-much-personal-information spectacle, but it seems that the Mountain View people have backed away from their Zuckerbergian ways.  I’m reasonably certain that I can use Google Maps without my Social Security number being transferred to a Nigerian royal family member.

Thanks to Google Latitude, I can use the connectivity of my smartphone to show my current location.  While I was reading up on how it works, I found that Google now has an app that allows you to post a map to a website, and viewers of the site will be able to see your location in real time.  I thought that sounded like a nice addition for this trip, so I’ve embedded the code in the site for when I leave.  The service is deactivated at the moment, but it’s ready to go with just a couple of mouse clicks.

When I leave in June and the map goes live, the website will look something like this:

You’ll see the map in the upper right section of the page, and refreshing the page will update my location.  Of course, this means that I need to wire the bike for full-time power to a phone charger.  Add that to the ever-growing list of Stuff To Do.  If anyone has experience with custom USB applications or has any ideas for a super-tidy install, speak up.  I’m open to ideas, especially if they’re reasonably weatherproof and cheap.

In the meanwhile, I’ve started planning my route to Mom and Dad’s in Fountain Inn.  The goal is to be at their house on Saturday evening.  I worked out a route that Google claims is 698 miles, so I figure in real-world miles that should be about 750.  Split that into two days, and you’re looking at 375-400 miles of riding each day, exclusively on two lane roads.  It’ll be a couple full days of riding… a nice way to start the trip.

Google’s original suggestions had me on US-27 going directly through the heart of downtown Cincinnati… no thank you. I dragged the trip line over to IN-1/IN-56/IN-250 around the west side of Cincinnati, and crossing over the river near Warsaw, KY.  I think this should make for a much less stressful first day, especially since I’d otherwise be hitting Cincinnati around rush hour on Friday.  Splitting the total trip in half should have me stopping somewhere around Owenton or Monterey, KY.  If anyone knows of good camping places or is willing to let a stranger throw a tent in their yard in this area, send me an email at  Your help will be greatly appreciated.  Plus, I’ll take your picture while I’m there and make you a featured story in this blog, which will expose you to literally tens of people.  This is the kind of spontaneous publicity – your name in print – that makes people.

I haven’t decided yet if I want to leave from Mom and Dad’s and head west through Georgia, Alabama, and up through Tennessee, or head north and east through North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

T minus 6 weeks and 5 days.

UPDATE: On the request of a friend, I’ve added a link to a full function map.  Zoom to your heart’s content.


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