My buddy Tim and I decided to attend the International BMW Motorcycle rally in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, so we set out on or motorcycles for what ended up being 19 day cross country round trip. We made our way via I-80 to Pennsylvania, then down to N. Carolina to visit family, back up to Mount Rushmore (it looks just like the pictures only bigger) across the Bear Tooth mountain range (gorgeous scenery) down through Yellowstone park and across Idaho and Nevada to home. As we rode along I thought about the technology I was carrying with me and how I was using it to make the trip easier and more fun. To figure out where I was going, to let friends follow along and to keep my facebook page up to date I used 5 different pieces of technology during the trip: the on-board computer, a Spot GPS tracker, a navigation system, a laptop computer and my Android Smart phone.
Counting the on-board computer as a piece of technology may be a stretch, it basically does everything the on-board computer in your car does, but hey, it is an integral part that keeps the bike humming along so I’m going to count it. The most used function of this computer was the outside temperature reading, once we started through Nebraska on the way to Pennsylvania the tempurature high everyday hit a 100+ until we made our way to South Dakota on the way back home where it dropped down to 98. Thank goodness my riding gear is well ventilated.
For my family and friends I brought along my Spot GPS tracker, a fun and functional gadget that keeps track of where I am and bounces coordinates off a satellite to a shared web page that allows friends and family to follow my progress. It also has the capability to send a 911 emergency signal if I need help and I’m out of range of a cell phone signal.
To help us get to where we was going I used a navigation system that kept us on track as well as providing us with information about nearest gas, food and hotels along our route.
To download pictures from my digital camera and modify routes for my navigation system I used my Intel Core i5 powered laptop. I have GPS software loaded that allows me to modify routes when necessary and upload them to my navigation system. Flooding along the Missouri River forced us to make some unplanned detours so having the ability to pull out the laptop and plan alternate routes made things much easier. We knew about the potential for flooding from news reports but seeing the devastation first-hand was an eye opener, my heart goes out to those affected.
And lastly my Android Smart phone came in handy for making phone calls home each night, checking email as well as letting me keep my facebook page updated with check-ins along the way.
You know we use technology everyday without ever thinking about it, but what would our lives be like without it? What if we didn’t have our laptop (or desktop) computers, navigation systems and smart phones to feed us information when we wanted it and to keep us connected to our friends and family? Think about it, life wouldn’t be nearly as easy or as much fun.
As an aside, the title of this blog entry might have you asking what is an Easy Rider and why do I care if it met technology. Some of you may remember the film, for some of you it may have been before your time. In a nut shell, Easy Rider was a film about two guys riding their motorcycles across the country which was what I was doing when I started thinking about this blog post and that’s what prompted the title.
Tim and I are already thinking about where we want to go next year, and I’m on the look-out for new and interesting technologies that will enhance the trip, one thing is certain, we will do it in a cooler part the year.