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Old 11-21-2013, 02:05 AM   #1
One Fat Roach OP
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maps

I like paper maps. I don't think I'll ever get a GPS. I did a lot of in state rising this summer and it was pretty much my first year of riding highway and back roads and dirt.

Im looking to do some rising next summer but Im wondering if there are certain maps (besides benchmark) to use that highlight backroads and secondary roads. Also, do I just buy individual maps ? Or find ones that are less detailed but include a region of say 3-4 states?? Im about to start hunting on amazon.

Thanks in advance
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Old 11-21-2013, 03:11 AM   #2
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I joined AAA and get their 'free' maps. They have most of the maintained dirt roads. I also use Benchmark and DeLorme for the Rocky Mountain states, but they are map books and hard to carry.

If you really want to explore the great west aboard a dual sport motorcycle, you really should have a GPS that creates and holds tracks made by others. You also should have the laptop software to handle your tracks and GPS maps. The reason is because you can acquire tracks of trails well proven by riders right on this forum. I started with a Garmin CSX and Basecamp software for my Mac. Now I have a Montana, but the old 60 was certainly adequate. It's not hard to learn how to use these tools. I'm no geek, yet I figured it out after using it a little bit.

As an example, here is a road called Smokey Mountain. It stretches 100 miles or so through the Escalante wilderness from Big Water, UT to Escalante. I spotted this road on my AAA maps. Then I went to my Benchmark. It looked like it went through. So I went to my Basecamp software and traced the road making tracks every couple hundred yards. I loaded it into my GPS and flew to AZ to try the road as part of a longer trip.

The road had some sketchy sections because it ran through a wash for about 15 miles and there were no tire marks due to recent rains. All I had was my tracks to follow on my GPS.









This fellow has a giant loop through 5 states almost all dirt. You can buy his tracks and just plug and play. You couldn't do his route without tracks. You would spend years scouting sections and then linking them, which is how he made them. Very affordable and worth every penny. But you gotta' have a GPS that handles tracks:
http://www.backcountrybyways.com/
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Old 11-21-2013, 08:20 AM   #3
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An outfit called GTR sells some pretty good cheap maps for individual states. They show major dirt roads but not the minor ones you see on Benchmark maps.

A big advantage of having a GPS is if you make a wrong turn, the GPS will tell you where you are. This used to be a big problem in the pre-GPS days.

Dirt roads out west are rarely marked. And there are more roads on the ground that show up on maps. This makes navigation difficult using paper maps. You really have to keep track of mileage between turns.

Another good source of free maps are travel management maps. They are becoming available free online as pdf files for BLM and national forest lands. But you have to find and download a different one for each management district. The forest services calls them MVUM maps.
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Old 11-21-2013, 09:45 AM   #4
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I to like paper maps, IMO there is no better way to look at an area and plan a trip.

I do have a Montana and like it better than any GPS I've had before.

My planning tends to be pretty flexible, I like taking it easy and when I go by something that looks interesting stop, or take the turn to see where it goes. Having a paper map with me lets me use the GPS to figure out where I am and if it is a way I want to go.

If I want to go to a specific place the GPS gets me there, its when I am wandering, that I like the combination of both.

I also find it very time consuming to use basecamp to plan a route on very minor back roads due to the zoom level needed to see the road. And then when I hit the real world Basecamp didn't know about the gate with the No Trespassing sign.

I like the National Geographic Trails illustrated maps, the Benchmark atlases, the Delorme Atlases, Forest service maps, Topo Maps, and others. the Trails illustrated are my favorite if they cover the area, Waterproof tear resistant, and show many of the gates etc.
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Old 11-21-2013, 11:50 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by machinebuilder View Post
If I want to go to a specific place the GPS gets me there, its when I am wandering, that I like the combination of both.

I also find it very time consuming to use basecamp to plan a route on very minor back roads due to the zoom level needed to see the road. And then when I hit the real world Basecamp didn't know about the gate with the No Trespassing sign.

.
No doubt zooming to 2/10ths on CityNav NA makes planning a little slower, so I start with paper maps too. But actually tracing the tracks on Basecamp isn't hard. But like you said, you don't really know what you are getting into unil you're there. Same for paper maps...

I plan during winters in New England. I do it all in my study with paper maps and Basecamp. Most often I acquire tracks from somebody else who actually rode the route. Come the season, I fly out west and start riding whatever routes I put together.
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Old 11-22-2013, 02:41 PM   #6
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Maps for planning, GPS for navigating. Would be almost impossible for me to do a lot of what I've done without the GPS.

.... fit-fangered in Droad via Tapatack
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Old 11-22-2013, 05:46 PM   #7
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You guys bring up points I never thought about. Looks like I may buckle down and pick.up a simple GPS. I would like the ability to download someone else's tracks so I could follow them.

The main reason I don't like them is because when I've ridden with folks who lead and use GPS we end up taking many wrong turns and getting lost, which is the bad part. The bad part is them freaking out and trying to correct the mistake. If we take the wrong turns, so be it, just relax, I try to.tell them. Ita just been.really annoying when they rely TOO MUCH on their GPS.

Guess I have some more homework to do this fall. Thanks guys. Any suggestions on simple GPS with the ability to use other people's tracks?? I've never looked in to any before

Edit: found the GPS for noobs thread. That's a good start
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This is an adventure, not a field trip!!

One Fat Roach screwed with this post 11-23-2013 at 01:44 AM
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:37 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kobukan View Post
Maps for planning, GPS for navigating. Would be almost impossible for me to do a lot of what I've done without the GPS.

.... fit-fangered in Droad via Tapatack
yes that is how we tour...and we make our own paper maps.

i bring a 9" netbook (Dell Mini 9 running Windows 7, Mapsource & city navigator maps) with me in on tour w/ a Garmin 60CSX. i look at the big picture with our maps and Benchmark (our maps are built w/ Benchamark base maps) and then use Mapsource to design that route and take me that exact way I want to go. in the real world, signs don't match with map labels and often signs are non-existent.

as for paper maps a Benchmark Atlas is gonna give you great details for a full state package all in 1. AAA are great too, but you'll need to collect alot of them. i have stacks of them. Latitude 40 maps works in certain areas. Our maps highlight the best roads, but you need a Benchmark for full details.

in the end...with no GPS our maps (if we have the state) and a Benchmark will get you most anywhere out west. A smartphone and google maps is key too if ya have one.
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Old 11-23-2013, 10:50 AM   #9
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sounds like those guys are doing routes not tracks plus they do not know how to use their units. they probably did not add enough points (via points) along the way and thus the unit re-routed. or they just picked an end point and told the gps to take them there.

routes are points connected along the way but the gps can interpret how to get to each of those points in different ways. if the route was created with maps that are more detailed or different than on your unit then your unit will take you the way it sees on its maps. routes do tell you to turn left or right and such.

tracks are hard lines from point to point. you follow the line on the gps.
there is no auto-routing just a line to follow. even if your gps does not have that road showing a track will still show as a line to follow.

i create routes with my laptop and gps as it's faster to create than a track. if i'm recording a ride to share it's a track however. both my mapsource maps and my gps have the same maps and same details and avoidance level so i get my exact planned ride. i do add plenty of added points along the way so in fact my gps does NOT re-route me. i know what i'm doing and it works.

you can use a cheaper car Nuvi unit just cover it when it rains and make sure it accepts routes and tracks. not all do. when you get some one elses .gpx file it may contain routes, tracks and waypoints...and some combo of all or just 1. off-road guys work in tracks. road guys in routes...but make sure they are done right.

if you have the $ the Garmin Montana is the unit to buy!

whatever unit you buy take the time to learn the unit. it takes a bit to understand and fully utilize.
those that don't, get lost & end up at a dead end and then bitch that the GPS sucks...when it really operator error.


Quote:
Originally Posted by bassplayinroach View Post
You guys bring up points I never thought about. Looks like I may buckle down and pick.up a simple GPS. I would like the ability to download someone else's tracks so I could follow them.

The main reason I don't like them is because when I've ridden with folks who lead and use GPS we end up taking many wrong turns and getting lost, which is the bad part. The bad part is them freaking out and trying to correct the mistake. If we take the wrong turns, so be it, just relax, I try to.tell them. Ita just been.really annoying when they rely TOO MUCH on their GPS.

Guess I have some more homework to do this fall. Thanks guys. Any suggestions on simple GPS with the ability to use other people's tracks?? I've never looked in to any before

Edit: found the GPS for noobs thread. That's a good start
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Alaska
AZ map COBDR AZBDR IDBDR South East map
http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=598717
Butler Maps website:
http://www.butlermaps.com
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Old 11-24-2013, 12:18 PM   #10
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I use maps for backup but truthfully after going over the route using maps, Mapsource and Google earth during the planning stage, the maps are rarely needed out on the ride. As previously mentioned, many dirt roads aren't marked so maps aren't allot of help in that situation. You will come across areas where there are many dirt roads going every which way that don't appear on maps and again aren't marked. In that case a GPS is almost a necessity. State recreational Atlas are pretty good for showing major dirt roads, I cut them up and use the pages as map segments. They can be pretty helpful finding an alternate route out of an area.

There's no replacement for good planning if you're headed out into a remote area. If fuel is a concern, you'll want every navigation option available.
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Old 11-24-2013, 12:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pantah View Post
As an example, here is a road called Smokey Mountain. It stretches 100 miles or so through the Escalante wilderness from Big Water, UT to Escalante. I spotted this road on my AAA maps. Then I went to my Benchmark. It looked like it went through. So I went to my Basecamp software and traced the road making tracks every couple hundred yards. I loaded it into my GPS and flew to AZ to try the road as part of a longer trip.

The road had some sketchy sections because it ran through a wash for about 15 miles and there were no tire marks due to recent rains. All I had was my tracks to follow on my GPS.


SMR is a great ride



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Old 11-24-2013, 08:23 PM   #12
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Alright alright. Well, it looks like I may be getting a GPS after all. Never say never. You guys didn't have to say much to convince me.

Found a Garmin etrex20 for $130. I think it will do what I need it to
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Old 11-25-2013, 02:29 AM   #13
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Big maps like Atlases are nice only because they cover all the major roads well over an entire state. Unfortunately, they only have space enough to show a tiny red squiggle for most of the "fun" DS roads that I really wanna ride most, with no FS # listed at all for the little dirty minor roads. But they'll get you to a destination in a convenient one-book does-it-all format, and list #s for most major Forest Roads. I have not spent time with Eakins's maps to know if they are any more detailed for the minor/almost-non-existant roads I really wanna find most.

If much of your riding is forest, you'll really want individual Ranger District maps for each area within a forest for the most detail to be able to safely explore the BEST roads (read: least used and often ugly condition). These will give FS numbers for ALL roads, big, small, and even overgrown spurs. Larger area individual Forest Maps are decent, but are hard to see minor road detail at that resolution. But, since many dirt roads are often not signed out there in the real world, a GPS is very helpful to tell you where you are on the paper map. GPS often lists road names, not listed on the maps, which is kinda cool when you are searching for the old original historic roads.

IMO, those that "plan" a route/track ahead of time with GPS miss some of the BEST (nasty) roads that aren't listed at all on the City Navigator GPS map software.

Depends on the adventure you want. Some just wanna travel, not "explore". I want where other people don't go, so I need detailed paper maps for every area I ride to safely explore and get back home before dark. I have about 50+ Ranger District or larger area National Forest Maps for much of Oregon and southern WA. I use these most often. If on a longer, mileage oriented journey, the Benchmark is simply more convenient, when I just need to get to point B. Pre-planned GPS routes are fine for point A-B riding too, if you just want boring ol' pavement or major gravel roads.

When you followed me at the Apple Valley Rally, most of those dirt-only roads do not exist at all on Basecamp City Navigator maps, but are all well listed with numbers on Ranger District maps. There are four Ranger Districts within the Mt Hood National Forest.

All maps are wrong sometimes, all GPS is wrong sometimes, and sometimes wrong differently. Having both together is best when exploring and searching for the "good stuff".
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Old 11-25-2013, 07:39 AM   #14
wbbnm
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I kind of disagree about the NF Ranger District User maps being detailed especially most of the ones printed in the last 10 years.

My experience is that at each iteration more and more fun primitive roads are left off these maps. I think the purpose was to discourage travel in places the forest people didn't really want us to go.

Having said that I still buy and use them and they are worthwhile. Conditions and closures do change.

I have also saved the local ones from the 80s and they show many more of the fun roads.

But the best IMHO are now the MVUM maps. They are legally required to show every open road and trail.
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Old 11-25-2013, 07:44 AM   #15
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I will add this.

The butler maps are excellent.............as far as they go.

For instance the Ozarks map covers a HUGE area, and has some really awesome rides marked out, BUT they are pavement only.

In their defense, and very clearly stated on their map, its to big of an area to show everything.

I haven't had the opportunity's to really use their other maps, but I am adding them to my collection.
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