Monday, March 20, 2017

(8) PREPARATIONS, Computers and Navigation

My route planning and plans for navigation change over the course of planning. As I began anticipating this trip, I had intended to use low-tech atlases and maps. (I am sort of naturally drawn to low Tech.) This changed after a tour in September 2016 of the California Lincoln Highway that I took with the San Diego Packard club.

At the beginning of the tour, Paul Gilger the mapping specialist for the Lincoln Highway Association advised me to consider a GPS. Being a technophobe, I pooh-poohed his suggestion and I paid for it. I can definitely say that by the end of that tour, "I became a believer! I have seen the light!" After returning home from the tour I not only went  out and purchased a GPS, but I bought a deluxe GPS by Garmin that can be used in conjunction with my laptop computer and a Garmin software program called "Base Camp". With the GPS and the Base Camp program I can do much more than navigate the shortest and quickest route point A to point B. I can set the Garmin to avoid toll roads or interstates altogether or at least to avoid them so far as is practical. I can even design my own custom route and download it into my Garmin which will then guide me, turn by turn, with pleasant enough female voice. At least that's the theory. By the end of this summer's trip I hope to be an experienced navigator with a good understanding of the mysteries of the Garmin.

Of course I will still take along maps and atlases. In fact, I will be taking some very old "Commercial Surveys", one written before 1926 and one written just after the creation of the US Highway system in 1926. The survey written before 1926 clearly shows both the Lincoln Highway and the Yellowstone Trail. The one written after 1926 shows the US Highway route numbers which should help me in finding the original routes amongst the much newer roads. Of course, neither shows interstate highways.

Pre 1926 Road Atlas (Left), Post 1926 Atlas with US Hwy designations (Right)

One of the under appreciated aspects of the Lincoln Highway Association and the Yellowstone Trail Organization is the pioneering of routes and directions and road maps. Before 1912, there simply were no road maps, route markers or direction markers. Planning a coast to coast trip can be daunting now, one can only imagine what it was like before road maps, route markers and in some cases in some places before roads. Literally and figuratively, one wouldn't know where to begin.

Reproduction Lincoln Hwy. 1928 marker at Donner pass (left)
Original YellowstoneTrail Marker (right)
Even with my navigation computer, maps and historic references, I may not hit every twist and turn of the old routes but I will certainly have a good feel for the history of the road. Better yet, I will have some High Tech assistance with navigation. 

"Pole Markers" of named Highways

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