Author Topic: Mailing to Myself On the Road  (Read 9208 times)

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Offline Ben the Slow

Mailing to Myself On the Road
« on: May 28, 2014, 11:16:50 am »
I want to send maps to myself while I am crossing the country this summer (June 1 start date).  General Delivery {GD) appears to be the way to do this.  The information I have dug up is a bit ambiguous, wonder if anyone can describe, from experience, the way to use General Delivery.  Specific questions I have come up with include:
1- addressing seems to follow this template:
name
GENERAL DELIVERY
post office address

2.  sources say he zip code suffix of -9999 indicates general delivery.  a local postal clerk told me this is not correct, I should use the zip code suffix for the post office I am sending to

3.  sources say not all post offices accept general delivery.  Wondering if anyone can confirm this.  Buffalo Prairie, IL is a rural office with short hours, wondering if I cn send them GD mail

4.  some sites claim only 'major' post offices accept GD, in a metro area like Albany, NY I need to send GD to the main post office, not one closer to my route.

thanks for any light you can shed on this topic.

v/r, ben

Offline John Nelson

Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2014, 11:47:19 am »
1. The "post office address" is usually just "city, state zip", not a street address. Some people like to add "Hold for cross-country cyclist" on the line after the name. This is unnecessary, but it might add some amusement to the small-town postmaster.

2. I've never seen nor used the 9999 suffix.

3. Every town that has a post office accepts general delivery. But not all post offices do. So if a town has multiple post offices, all the general delivery will go to one of them (it's not always obvious which one). For this reason, I try not to use general delivery in towns with more than one post office. You could end up having to go to more than one to find your package. Also, as you note, many very small post offices have very few manned hours. The USPS website shows the hours of each post office, so be sure you know what they are. Note also that every town that has a zip code doesn't necessarily have a post office. As I said, the USPS website identifies all post offices. Only look at real "post offices", not "self-service kiosks", nor "approved postal providers".

4. As mentioned above, you don't get to pick which post office your general delivery package goes to. A big city like Albany would not be my choice because of this.

BTW, there are many threads in this forum about General Delivery. If you search, you'll get lots of other information and tips.

Buffalo Prairie, IL has a real post office, but only has very limited hours (see below). But you can send them General Delivery if you want and are sure you're going to be there during their open hours.

18401 206TH ST W
BUFFALO PRAIRIE, IL 61237-9000

    Phone 309-537-3169

Pickup Services Hours

    Mon-Fri 8:00am - 10:00am
    Sat 8:00am - 9:15am
    Sun Closed

Interesting side story. The post office in Dalbo, MN is very small, similar to the one in Buffalo Prairie. But they know that almost all general delivery packages are for touring cyclists. They also know that almost all touring cyclists stop at the Adventure Bicycle Bunkhouse a couple of miles out of town. So when they get a general delivery package, they give it to Donn Olson at the Adventure Bicycle Bunkhouse and put a sign on the post office door saying where it is. Donn puts it on the table in the bunkhouse.
« Last Edit: May 28, 2014, 01:18:20 pm by John Nelson »

indyfabz

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Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2014, 12:50:09 pm »
4.  some sites claim only 'major' post offices accept GD, in a metro area like Albany, NY I need to send GD to the main post office, not one closer to my route.

Here is what the USPS has to say:

https://www.usps.com/manage/forward-mail.htm

It does state that you should use the 9999 suffix after the ZIP, although I have never used it. Note that it says mail will be held up to 30 days so I assume you will have someone back home periodically drop things in the mail for you instead sending everything out yourself before you leave.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2014, 02:14:27 pm »
Another option: If you happen to be staying with any Warmshowers hosts along the way, you can ask one if they are willing to accept and hold a package of maps for you.

Offline Ben the Slow

Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2014, 02:20:06 pm »
Thanks everyone for the useful info.  I am debating whether to carry the map set with me.  If for any reason the maps do not get to me i am stuck.  Maybe the smart move is to suck it up and pack'em

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2014, 03:18:26 pm »
If you pack them all at the start, you can mail them home as you finish them.  That's also a good way to divest yourself of the tourist map you'll want to collect from the nearest visitor center of each state as you enter it.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2014, 03:37:12 pm »
If you pack them all at the start, you can mail them home as you finish them.  That's also a good way to divest yourself of the tourist map you'll want to collect from the nearest visitor center of each state as you enter it.

That is what I most often do as well.

I kind of like having all of the AC maps with me up front (if on an AC route) so I can look ahead if I want.  When you hear about something a couple maps down the road that you want to remember you can scribble it on the appropriate map.  Once done with them I mail them home.

The state maps I pick up as I go if I see them and want them and when done with them I either discard them, give them away, or send them home.

Offline andre

Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2014, 03:47:07 am »
I think taking the maps with you is a good idea.

I know how painful it is to carry even a single extra ounce of weight, but assuming paper maps this will not be too much of a struggle. Even laminated ones are not a big deal, just roll them with your sleeping pad.

Alternately, instead of spending the money on postage go to a Kinko's and have them scan all your maps. Put the pdf's on your smartphone and you can pull them up in full res anywhere you want. No paper maps needed.

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #8 on: May 30, 2014, 08:21:31 am »
Alternately, instead of spending the money on postage go to a Kinko's and have them scan all your maps. Put the pdf's on your smartphone and you can pull them up in full res anywhere you want. No paper maps needed.

Call me a Luddite (again).  There's so much information on a paper map, and it's across so many panels, that I suspect it'll drive you nuts scrolling back and forth trying to find the directions, then the map panel.  A smart phone big enough to make the .pdf idea work, along with the charger, will probably weigh more than the full set of AC maps.

Offline andre

Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #9 on: May 30, 2014, 12:20:58 pm »
Nah, you can zoom in or out. Glance at the zoomed out map and then zoom into the area you want to see details. No different than Google maps just with more info. It just depends on how comfortable you are with smartphones.

I figured it's not extra weight since many cyclists already carry a smartphone and charger.

One disadvantage though is you can't mark a route on your pdf unless you marked it on the paper map before scanning. That would be annoying.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #10 on: May 30, 2014, 01:55:20 pm »
Nah, you can zoom in or out. Glance at the zoomed out map and then zoom into the area you want to see details. No different than Google maps just with more info. It just depends on how comfortable you are with smartphones.
To some extent it depends on the map.  I agree if it is just a map, like a state map where pretty much everything is just on the map.

With an AC map there is a lot of other stuff and I think that a lot of what I do with them would be awkward with a scan on my phone, at least in the format that they are currently in.  I find that I often look at a map section and then flip around to find the text narrative for the same panel, or maybe the list of available services.  I find myself wanting to flip back and forth between these three locations for each map section.  I also often want to flip around in the various panels and look for resources in upcoming panels.  It is a lot of flipping even with paper.  These things are all in different places on the AC maps and just a straight scan would be awkward to me.   I guess it would be possible to cut and paste the file so the map sections had the relevant resources next to them.

That said most of my navigation can be managed with only either the narrative or the map panels, so I could probably suffer along with a scan with some inconvenience.  Right now the inconvenience is still enough that I carry paper when using AC maps.  I have used electronic only when on another tour and a backpacking trips and it worked out OK.  For the backpacking trip I carry a paper map anyway even though I didn't use it because I didn't want to be that battery dependent.

I suspect that at some point AC will make the maps more tailored to a screen, it would certainly be possible, but I don't think we are at that point yet since the majority of their customers still probably prefer paper.

Also, it is nice to still have a usable map even when your phone batteries are dead.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #11 on: May 30, 2014, 02:41:44 pm »
Also, it is nice to still have a usable map even when your phone batteries are dead.

+1 or what have you. I was going to write something more detailed, but staehpj1 pretty much covered it.

Anyways, a full set of ACA maps for a route do take up some space, but not a heck of a lot, especially compared to other maps. I'm guessing weight-wise it's probably about a pound and change.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #12 on: May 30, 2014, 04:32:01 pm »
Anyways, a full set of ACA maps for a route do take up some space, but not a heck of a lot, especially compared to other maps. I'm guessing weight-wise it's probably about a pound and change.

My full set for the TA is a little over 11 ounces.  There are 12 maps and they are a bit less than an ounce a piece.  Not worth doing mail drops to me for an ounce a piece. But I do mail the ones I am done with home, if I am mailing something else home any way.

Offline Ben the Slow

Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #13 on: May 30, 2014, 04:57:16 pm »
I  am making a rookie mistake.  Not only do I have the ACA maps for my route, I also acquired state maps from the vaipus DOTs.  On consideration I will not carry the redundant DOT maps.  No need to know what is on the other side of Missouri.  If on the trip I find I need a state map, I can likely buy or get a serviceable one from AAA.  Ditching that extras results in a bundle I can carry (mailing back maps as I finish with them)

Thanks for all the advice and experience

Offline staehpj1

Re: Mailing to Myself On the Road
« Reply #14 on: May 30, 2014, 05:35:32 pm »
When using AC maps, for the state maps I pick up one of the free ones at each state line if there is a visitor center.  If not I usually don't bother unless I can get them for free somewhere else or expect to go off route enough to need one.  I always get rid of them one way or another when leaving the state and done with them.