Maps are Epic – TransAmerica Update

I’m completely fascinated by maps. Actual physical maps. And atlases. When I was a kid, one of the things I loved about visiting my Grandparents was going into the cupboard and pulling out the old (1962) Readers Digest World Atlas – still in the box it was shipped in – and drooling over the sheer detail (photos below). Yes, I would dream about travel and seeing the world, but mostly I would just, well, look at it.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Google Earth and all that fly-by and tech stuff, but there’s just something great about laying a giant map out in front of you on a picnic table or the hood of your car and taking a look at what’s ahead of or around you. The flow of roads through mountain passes, the elevation contours and topography detail. No through road here, gate here, dirt here. No services for 100 miles, lookouts, cattle grids, rivers and dams and lakes and coastlines.

I. Love. Maps.

The Adventure Cycling Association has a lot of maps, made specifically for cyclists. Not just for them, but by them. And these maps have the advantage of being laid out in such a way that you can fold them to fit neatly into a map holder to clip on your handlebars, allowing you to finish a section, refold and start the next.

Needless to say, the Transamerica maps are a joy to me. I’ve spread them out many times on my coffee table and studied the food stops, camping grounds, route highlights. Lovely. I even went so far as to follow along on mapmyride.com to see if I could follow the directions correctly. I’m still not sure I can truth be told, since the map sometimes said to turn left when it when I could only right, but I made it through the first map ok. Taking GPS routes with me too, so I’ll be ok (she says, confidently)

A slightly different version of this video first appeared as an update to my Kickstarter backers. I’ve decided that some (not all) of those videos will appear here two weeks after being uploaded to Kickstarter – my ultimate goal is to get people to follow the journey after all. Backers will always see stuff first, and get other behind the scenes videos and book updates that I won’t sharing here, but it makes sense to share the more broad updates, such as this one about maps, get their moment in the sun here. And of course, don’t forget if you back the project there are all those rewards too!

4 comments

  1. Hey! I found this website just yesterday (though I’m not sure how), and am really excited for you. In 2005 I rode my bike from Kentucky to Wyoming and wrote my college senior project about the trip. Before that I had toured the Blue Ridge Parkway.

    I’d been hoping to go on another tour and film it, but didn’t do it.

    I’ll be following your blog and I’m excited to see what you do with the project.

  2. good luck on your trip! for a sneak preview of the TransAm check out our youtube page with a 6 min video of the trip from a cyclists perspective on the road. have a great time!

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