« on: June 11, 2016, 07:42:02 am »
Only thing I would add about the GPS is that if you do not use a GPS, be sure to get a good WIRED bike computer and have it calibrated and verify it is accurately calibrated as you will need to know the distances between turns. Computers can be really off depending on the wheel size you use versus what was set at the factory.
About 5 years ago, I started to use a GPS. It does make it pretty dang easy as once the routes are downloaded, you basically just follow it. I definitely always have a map as a backup however. The downsides are plenty. You use a lot of batteries and you basically need to re-input the ACA data before you leave since they have way too many way points so it beeps constantly if you don't. I use rechargable batteries (maybe a set of 3 per 2 days) but then you have to always be looking for an outlet to charge the rechargeables. You need to remember to take it in with you at restaurants, etc. in cities (small towns are typically fine) so it is not a tempting theft target for a kid. A definite pain at times but makes like easier in other aspects.
A wireless computer occasionally goes crazy from some temporary electrical interference such as crossing a transmission power line showing you have a top speed of 124mph (more like 21), have traveled 89 miles (when you have done 23), etc. While this is relatively rare, I think wireless computers are relatives of Murphy's Law as you do not realize it has gone crazy until it is too late to reset it. Once a wired computer is calibrated it will not need to be re-calibrated unless you change tire size substantially, i.e. a 7000cx25 typically has a smaller outside (tread) diameter than say a 700cx35. However, if you use the same model tire if you need to purchase a new one, this should not be a problem. While it may be slightly off if you use a different model of the same size, it should be pretty close.
Finally, if you're wife is like mine, you may need to have a satellite tracker so she can see where you are. Though totally unneeded and of little help typically for touring cyclists, there are two brands; SPOT and InReach. There are also smartphone apps which use your phone's GPS and its data plan to due the same thing. However, you definitely will hit dead zones out there (Verizon is the best carrier for rural coverage) so that will not always be tracking. All methods allow others to track where you are 10 minute increments (this can be changed) via a website. It is pretty neat and my family and friends like traveling with me via this.
SPOT is definitely cheaper but the service (tracking) is not quite as good (though typically good enough). Also, there are numerous reports of poor customer service but that may have improved recently (unsure). The InReach uses better tracking technology and allows you (with a much more expensive plan) to free-style text back and forth with her via your smartphone. I think the SPOT only allows a couple of pre-programmed text messages.
While I personally do not enjoy the headaches associated with a tracker (remembering to turning on/off), since my wife is paranoid about me being killed (like a tracker will help then), a tracker is a requirement she has in order for me to do my many solo trips. A small price to pay to tour. I personally think it is because she thinks I will be hit by a car, raped, murdered, and then eaten by a bear so she wants to be able to custom text me afterwards to see where I stashed the life insurance policy, so I have the InReach.