Saturday, August 20, 2011

Direction Needed, Now Found III

My Christmas present has been very useful in recording my riding routes and in allowing me to devise a route, load it into the device, then follow it along on the road.

In one of my previous GPS posts, I wrote about how to get a route I produced in Google maps into the GPS.  It is a bit cumbersome, but works.

Here is another method of doing the same thing, except starting from MapQuest instead of Google.  MapQuest is not as easy to use as Google because the roads are not as easily seen and identified on the computer screen in MapQuest.  This makes it more difficult to find that special, circuitous route you really want instead of the most direct route MapQuest might select for you.  However, MapQuest makes it easier to get the route into your GPS than Google. 

Recall these definitions:
  • Route - Shows how to get from one location to another.
  • Track - A record of where you’ve been. 
  • Waypoint, Placemark, or Point of Interest (POI) - Terms for specific locations that have been marked on your GPS.

Here are the same two examples as used last time, except starting with MapQuest. 

But first....
Disclaimer: All information given here is thought to be correct, however, it is YOUR responsibility to make certain that they work correctly, work with your GPS, work with your computer, and so on and on.  Routes generated in various ways may cause you to be routed in the wrong direction -- maybe off a cliff.  That, too, is YOUR responsibility.  Do not fiddle with your GPS while riding. Always stop in a safe place before attempting to manipulate your GPS screen. There are no warranties on anything here whatsoever, express or implied.

OK.  Here is how I get my on-line route from MapQuest into the Garmin 765T. 

This is a good example of a simple route between Easley, SC and Rosman, NC, mostly on US-178, one of the favorite motorcycle roads nearby. 

The same as Google, the route above is the one that MapQuest found, and it is the most direct.

Now, let's modify the route to use a road further east, SC-135, for the first part of the trip. However, if you drag the route, MapQuest shows the modified route on the screen and in its printed directions, but does not output the modified route when you transfer the Route to the GPS.  Unfortunate, that. 

Instead, you have to right click a point on the map where you want to route to be, then left click "Directions" on the menu that appears to add that point -- called a Stop -- and revise the route.

The revised route looks thus:

If you make a mistake, you can remove the added Stop, by clicking the X to the right of the Stop just added.

If you want to reorder the stops, left click and drag them to where you want them to be in the list.  See where it says "Drag the Icons to Reorder Your Stops" above?

If you want to save the link to your map, click on "Link" near the top of the menu, then copy the link and paste it where you want it.  This is a good idea, since MapQuest times out if you don't keep working on it. 

If you want to embed the map into a website as I have done in this posting, click on "Send To", then "Your Website", and copy the link and paste it into your website. 

Let's go on to the procedure for getting the map into the GPS as a route. This only works with Garmin GPSs as it uses the Garmin Communicator plugin for your browser. 


How to do it:
  1. In MapQuest, click on "Send To", then "GPS". 
  2. Once there, click "Route", enter a filename (fifteen or fewer characters), and checkmark the device you want to download to.  Press "Send". 
  3. Use your operating system's procedure to safely remove the Garmin [USB] drive. Disconnect the GPS from the computer. 
  4. Restart the GPS. 
  5. Go to  "Tools, My Data, Import Route from File".  A list of routes will appear.  Amongst them will be the one you created, identified by the filename you entered above.  Select it, and press "Import".  The screen will show "Calculating route", and a percent complete, then "Data imported successfully".  Press "OK". 
  6. Press "Back" a couple of times until you are at the main screen.  Press "Where To?".  Scroll down and press "Custom Routes".  Your new route will show as one of the items in the list -- the one with the name you just entered.  Press it. 
  7. The screen will display the distance and travel time.  Press "Go!". 
  8. The GPS will ask you if you want to "Navigate to the start of the route?".  Press "Yes" if you want to do that, but be aware that it will direct you back to the starting point even if you are already beyond it along your route.  If you are already on the route, press "No" and it will start you out from wherever you are on the route.

    The route may contain a direction such as "Navigate off road".  This is caused by mislocating a Stop while in MapQuest.  Be careful to place the Stop on the actual road you want.  Enlarge the map view to assist in doing this while generating your route.

    The MapQuest-to-Garmin GPS method here generates one route if you enter Stops (Waypoints, POIs) along the way, unlike GMapToGPX used with Google maps that creates a separate route for each pair of Stops.  


    Well, now you should be able to create a route in MapQuest and transfer it to your Garmin GPS.

    Remember, watch where you are going -- not at the little screen. 

    Previous GPS Postings:



    Wednesday, August 17, 2011

    Harangue -- Cost of Government Day

    harangue: An impassioned, disputatious public speech; A tirade or rant, whether spoken or written; To give a forceful and lengthy lecture or criticism to someone.

    Wonder what I'm talking about in the title?

    According to the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation and the Center for Fiscal Accountability, it is the day of the year "on which the average American has earned enough gross income to pay off his or her share of the spending and regulatory burdens imposed by government on the federal, state, and local levels."

    According to the Center for Fiscal Accountability at the Americans for Tax Reform Foundation, “In 2011, Cost of Government Day falls on August 12. Working people must toil 224 days out of the year just to meet all costs imposed by government, a full 27 days longer than 2008."  (Emphasis mine.) 

    In other words, in 2011, the cost of government consumes 61.42 percent of national income.  You can see the full report here, with state-by-state figures.

    Does that bother anyone?  It does me.

    Our federal government was intended to provide our citizens their liberty, and to be small, with few responsibilities.  Read the United States Constitution,

    Section 8
    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;

    To borrow Money on the credit of the United States;
    To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;
    To establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization, and uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States;
    To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures;
    To provide for the Punishment of counterfeiting the Securities and current Coin of the United States;
    To establish Post Offices and post Roads;
    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;
    To constitute Tribunals inferior to the supreme Court;
    To define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offences against the Law of Nations;
    To declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water;
    To raise and support Armies, but no Appropriation of Money to that Use shall be for a longer Term than two Years;
    To provide and maintain a Navy;
    To make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces;
    To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;
    To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
    To exercise exclusive Legislation in all Cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten Miles square) as may, by Cession of particular States, and the Acceptance of Congress, become the Seat of the Government of the United States, and to exercise like Authority over all Places purchased by the Consent of the Legislature of the State in which the Same shall be, for the Erection of Forts, Magazines, Arsenals, dock-Yards, and other needful Buildings;--And
    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

    ...and in particular, the tenth amendment:  

    "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."
    Pretty clear to me. 

    We can't afford any more of this big-government, out-of-control spending, and representation without taxation. (Yes, you read that last part right -- there should be no representation without being a taxpayer.  Nearly half of all U.S. residents pay no income taxes!)   

    We are becoming a socialist state, and socialism has never worked, in the history of mankind.  Here is an even simpler explanation of why not. 

    There may not be another chance to stop this deliberate destruction of our country after the next election, so here is how to register to vote. I urge you to do so. 

    Previous Harangues:


    Saturday, August 6, 2011


    It has certainly been hot lately.  ...and the humidity in South Carolina tends to be high, about 50% when it is this hot. 

    Rain can occur most afternoons as well, sometimes light, sometimes heavy and laced with lightning.  It usually makes the humidity worse after the rain, if the sun comes out again.

    Sweat tends to stay with you rather than evaporate.  Nevertheless, I have been out riding -- in the usual full gear, albeit perforated for some cooling.  It helps to keep moving, but at a hundred degrees, the wind is not very refreshing, and the bike radiator seems to funnel its rejected heat right on my legs.  

    How about you?  

    How hot is too hot to ride?

    Do you throw caution to the wind and dress down? 


    Monday, August 1, 2011

    Two Keys

    I have a friend whom I accompanied on a ride sponsored by our church on a cool October Saturday back in 2008.  He rides a nearly new looking Honda Pacific Coast motorcycle.   That model was mostly produced in 1989 and 1990, with some production through 1998, and it has almost scooter-like cowlings covering the mechanical workings, with lots of storage space available.

    The trunk on the bike is extensive, and opens from the top, as in this picture.

    I don't think my old '59 Chevy Biscayne had as large a maw for a trunk as this motorcycle. 
    [That's not me in there.]
    There is also a small key-locked glove-box-like compartment on top of the Pacific Coast's tank that swings upward to open. 

    While we were out riding, we stopped at Whitewater Falls, one of the places I have visited many times over the course of my few years of riding, and he showed me all the storage capability of his bike.  Unfortunately, he had left the ignition key in the lock cylinder of the small compartment as he opened the trunk.  The seat, mounted on the trunk lid, hit the key and bent it.  He straightened out the key as best he could with a pair of pliers, but it would not enter the ignition lock to restart the bike.  I lent my expertise to the situation by using another pair of pliers I had in my toolkit along with his.  After some manipulation and the fear of breaking the key in two, I retreated to the I-am-hopeful-but-I'll-bet-I-know-the-answer-already, "Do you happen to have a spare key with you?" inquiry.

    His answer, as I secretly feared it would be, was no, he did not.  I envisioned a 40+ mile ride to get it, and a 40+ mile trip back to the bike, or of having to wait for someone to find his spare key and bring it 40+ miles to get us started again.

    Scenes of the day being spoiled danced in my head.  He and I had done everything we humanly could do to make the key work, but it resisted our best ministrations.

    Wait.  "...I-am-hopeful-but-I'll-bet-I-know-the-answer-already...."  "Humanly possible ministrations."

    Maybe those were part of the problem. 

    Being an engineer by training (and owning a fine vinyl pocket protector to prove it),
    I have a marked tendency to try to solve problems logically, and on my own.  After all, I would hope that four years of engineering school and many years of engineering work would not have been proved a waste of time, especially when it comes to simply straightening out a key to fit a lock.

    Well, so far both my friend and I had failed miserably at that.

    It finally occurred to me that we were part of the riding group from our church.  People who attend churches are supposed to pray to God, in part, for assistance.  In fact, they say the best procedure when confronted with a problem is to pray, then do what you can. 

    I turned away a little, while my friend was working on the key some more, and asked God for a bit of help.  I felt foolish bothering God -- the creator of the universe -- to help with a simple bent key.

    I asked anyway. It was a quick, one sentence prayer.  Nothing at all elaborate. Certainly not showy, and my friend did not even know I had done it. 

    No sooner had I uttered my "amen," than my friend said, "I've got it!"   I could scarcely believe what had just happened.  I looked at him, then at the key turning in the ignition lock, and back at him.  I am certain that my mouth was agape.  The key did, indeed, work.

    I firmly believe that God guided the hands of my friend, even as I was praying. 

    We had had it backwards.  We did what little we were capable of, then thought to pray. 

    That was not the only instance like it I have had.  You may recall that I had a little "off-road-experience" not long after I bought the bike.  (In that case, it was absolutely unintentional, not like some of my gravel road excursions since then.)  After a foray onto a grassy berm, my key was bent over in the ignition lock cylinder.  It would not operate the lock at all, and I only had the one key for the bike at that time.  I tried repeatedly -- and somewhat impatiently, I might add -- to straighten up the key enough to get it working.  I hoped that I could then have a copy of it made.  Nothing I did seemed to help straighten the key sufficiently so it would function. 

    I was working on the bike in our garage, and finally, in desperation, dropped to my knees and asked God for help.  I then made a further slight adjustment to the key, and it immediately turned in the lock.  No resistance whatsoever.  A perfectly operating system. 

    With tears in my eyes both of shame for not having asked earlier, and of joy for the victory, I thanked God for His help with my tiny-to-Him problem.

    That time too, I had had it backwards.  Why am I so thoughtless and stubborn to suppose that I am on my own and can handle everything myself?  When will I learn to lean on God's strong and ever-available arms

    Ah, I can hear some of you saying, "It was just coincidence both times, Bucky."

    I understand your skepticism.  Remember, I too am inherently skeptical in my nature.

    No, these two times -- and many others besides -- were not chance or coincidence.  All of my human skills had been exhausted; I was at the end of my rope, yet the results of prayer were immediate and dramatic. 

    It has to be something else: The power of God. 

    By the way, now I always carry a spare key
    in my pocket whenever I am out. 
    I think God expects us to be well prepared -- to avoid
    needing His help in the first place.