Looking for trails in your area or out of your area? “As the crow flys,” not good enough? Here is a collection of videos and websites to help get you into the unknown or connect that section of dirt to another section of dirt! Scouting, exploring, location, location, location! MAPS MAPS MAPS!! It’s all about sorting that GPS! Paper or digital! This is a story of my paper/digital map journey.
Adventure has been in my blood for quite some time! Maps simply fall into play when we are exploring the unknown. It had to have been really wild in the old days of early hand-drawn maps!
PAPER MAPS R 4 ADVENTURE!
For me personally, I started with good old paper maps! Yes, I’m that old! Technically, it all started in Scouting and I loved orienteering! But that was way-long ago! Fast forward a bunch of years after college and into professional life, and even at that, I’ve tried to keep it fun in the spirit of adventure!
A great plan always starts with a MAP, paper or digital!
Back in 2007, my desert riding buddy, John Schultz helped me plot a trip from Barstow to Vegas for a little publicity stunt for the then company we were working for. Here is a little video of that “stunt” HPI BAJA 5B 120 miles through the Desert.
MOTO BY PAPER MAPS
Back in 2009 I was on an XR400 and using paper maps with my buddy John Schultz up in Big Bear.
But this was the moment that hit me about how cool paper maps can be! This is a photo I took back in 2011 of Dave Druck of Trasharoo showing me his route planning as he is getting ready to tackle a big trip from Mexico to Pismo. This desert to the sea trip would tackle 1,000-miles with 857-miles being on DIRT! The trip start was on the Arizona/Mexico border below Ajo, Arizona, and end at Pismo Beach, California on the Pacific Ocean for New Years! His trip spanned over 10-days averaging 100-miles per day. This was an epic trip of connecting several overland treks all together into one big overland journey! Yes, you can physically see how tired Dave is, as he just hosted the Toys For Tots event at Camp Pendleton the day before and has 5-days of thrashing of final-prep for the Desert2Ocean trip. His trip will traverse these areas;
- El Camino Del Diablo
- Picacho Rd./Indian Pass
- Bradshaw Overland Route
- Joshua Tree/Berdoo Canyon
- Old Dale Rd.
- Mojave Road
- Lucerne Valley/Bessemer
- Big Bear/Arrowhead/Silverwood Trails
- Red Rock/Tehachapi
- Carrizo Plains
- Pozo Rd.
- Hi-Mountain Rd.
- Oceano Dunes
MOJAVE TRAIL GUIDE
The MOJAVE TRAIL GUIDE by Dennis G. Casebier – This is where paper and digital work together! The book reads like a book as it goes into great historical detail about the trail with lots of GPS coordinates listed for each and every interesting note! It’s a spiral-bound book with a full paper map included! Back in 2017, I finally took the Mojave Trail Guide book and sat down with it at the laptop. For two weeks, every night after work, page-by-page, I sat down and took all the coordinates and loaded them one-by-one into my Google Maps. It was easy yet pains-taking, but well worth it! My wife and I would soon after take 3-days to leisurely explore the Mojave Trail as Dennis intended! BUY THIS BOOK!!! Mojave Road Guide – An Adventure Through Time (Mojave Road Guide) by Dennis Casebier!
MORE PAPER MAP TRIP PLANNING
Back when I was working for Axial Racing, my final media stunt for the company also involved map planning.
Like my initial inspiration from Trasharoo Dave, I mapped out our little endeavor on my office wall. You can read more about that in this blog, and funny side-note, you will see some TW200 images in this one! Planning a SCX10 Hike over Redonda Ridge OHV Trail 1W17
DIGITAL – GOOGLE MAPS
Eventually got an iPhone, I think it was in 2005 and quickly made use of Google Maps. I was mainly just using Google Maps for my on-the-spot on-the-fly navigational exploits. I LOVE GOOGLE MAPS simply for the fact that I can add a “star” on any location of interest because you never know when-where you will be, and if there is something of interest previously marked, I can pull up my Google Maps app and see what I have highlighted nearby! Also, I am constantly switching between “graphic view” and “satellite view” because the “sat-view” will reveal what is actually on the ground such as a trial or 2-track dirt road. Then came planning…
GPS KIT for iPhone
Trip planning came when I started wheeling with other people as most of my prior trips were solo, both on 2 & 4-wheels. But later down the dusty dirt road, my offroad escapades with the Yotamasters crew, I was introduced to GPS KIT, for trip planning routes and tracking new routes. Here are some videos directly from GPS KIT: https://www.youtube.com/user/GPSKitVideos
Dan Cerchio of B&B Tank Supply, a buddy to Yotamasters is who introduced us to the app. I asked him one day, standing out in the middle of Death Valley, why GPS KIT? He basically said, he has very little time on his hands to plan routes, he has a rough idea of where to go as he has spent a lot of years in the desert already, it’s simple to use and it’s not very expensive at $19.99. “Oh, yea, it works on my iPhone and I can share routes to Androids”
I simply wanted to use what they were using so they would be able to help me quickly with it any time I needed assistance with it. As I spent more time using the app, it becomes second nature and I didn’t want something too complicated. I’ve been sold on it and have shared it with many of my friends. But too, I have other friends that have gone well beyond this app with way more in-depth apps and tools. They tend to be PC based users and
I am all Apple-based, due to my graphic design nature from along time ago.
Oh, yea, that’s Dan’s other point as the GPS Kit app is an Apple-only app. Not a problem for me!
RIDING WITH NICK of TILL DEATH DUAL US SPORT
Nick of Till Death Dual Us Sport obtained his Yamaha TW200 unknowingly to us around the same time Jason and myself got our TW200’s. Too, Nick lives in between us, but more between myself and Saddleback (our local riding hill). With the formation of the Yamaha TDUB Club and meeting up with Nick, we’ve become riding buddies and I have to say, he is the “techno-wiz” when it comes to the digital front! The first thing about “mapping” that caught my attention from Nick is his awareness of everything around him and too, where exactly we may be standing or riding. “Oh, this is “so-and-so’s” property and such. I asked, “WHAT APP IS THAT?!” Nick stated that he was using the GAIA GPS app to find-see-know such information. While he uses Google Maps too, he also uses GURU Maps Pro with California Trail Maps loaded on top.
GURU MAPS – Formerly known as “Galileo Offline Maps”
In conjunction with GURU Maps…
Nick uses California Trail Maps to overlay their routes into his GURU app.
NOTE THE “53,790 miles of motorized dirt roads and OHV trails!” That’s here in CALIFORNIA! I only have 8,000+ miles on my TDUB so I have some riding to do!
PAPER IN 2020!
With all this digital GPS tracking, it’s 2020 and I’m still buying paper maps!
Because the folks at BDR and Butler Motorcycle Maps made me so! Let’s start with Backcountry Discovery Routes. BDR is a non-profit group of folks dedicated to creating films and documentaries to promote adventure since 2010. Along with dirt road, they also created designated or prescribes routes for motorcycle enthusiasts providing detailed GPS digital info along with printed maps via the folks at Bulter Maps. BDR started in their “backyard” in their backyard with a Washington overland route as I learned about them through socially following Touratech. I was surprised when they started branching out and especially cheery when they released the SoCal edition! Hey! That’s my backyard! I paid the small fee to watch the initial docu-release and also paid to get the map! THE MAP!
• Backcountry Discovery Routes: https://ridebdr.com/
The Butler Motorcycle Maps crew comes from all walks or shall we say all-rides; dirt, road, cruiser, adventure, new and old! They make a full gammet of different maps so peruse their site as you may find something for you there outside of the BDR maps!
• Bulter Maps: https://www.butlermaps.com/
MORE SOURCE INFO to get lost into!
MOTOTREK – Reliable Maps, Apps and GPS Navigation (Proven Advice)
Lifestyle Overland – THIS is the BEST Outdoors Navigation App EVER
TrailRecon – 10 Ways to Find the Best Off-Road Trails
TRAILSOFFROAD.com – Find the Perfect Offroad Trail
venture4wd Gaia GPS for the Aimless Overlander
Post Tech – How to use Maps.me
TrailRecon – How to use Google Maps Offline – Trail Navigation Tip
iOverlander – Find Your Next Destination
iOverlander is a mapping project started by overlanders Sam Christiansen of Song of the Road and Jessica Mans of Life Remotely. It began with the simple desire to combine many of the current overlander accommodation listings on the web. Of course, one thing turned into another, an iPhone app was born, and so was this website. We’ll be confined to spreadsheets no longer! Many travelers have dedicated their time, ideas and most importantly their GPS coordinates. Thanks to all of you!