Author Topic: Device-less Tour (no smartphone, no GPS)  (Read 6823 times)

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Offline tonyandrews

Device-less Tour (no smartphone, no GPS)
« on: April 08, 2019, 05:23:55 pm »
Hi, all.

Newbie here. I'm in grad school for creative writing at the University of Iowa. This summer, to inspire my work, I want to do something autonomous, grueling, and free-spirited, so I've schemed up a plan to bike from Iowa City (Eastern Iowa), where I live, to Seattle, where I'll visit a good friend. I plan to leave as soon as the semester ends in mid-May, which gives me five weeks to prepare both physically and logistically.

One of the main motivations for this trip is to "unplug." I am an addict to my phone and the unfettered access it affords me to distraction, and I think it's hurting my life. In response to that, I want to make this trip totally analog: no phone, no laptop, no digital camera. I'll rely on physical maps and the location of the sun for navigation, bring books for entertainment, take pictures on film, and write by hand in my notebooks.

Does anyone have experience with a phoneless trip of this magnitude? Is this suicidal, or doable? Any advice?


Offline John Nettles

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Re: Device-less Tour (no smartphone, no GPS)
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2019, 05:49:25 pm »
Up until the 90s, everyone had to be deviceless.  Tens of thousands of us used cyclometers (manual odometers attached the front hub) and read maps.

Yes, you can still do it.  The devices just make it a little easier but definitely take some of the adventure out of it.  Just pay close attention to the distances and the maps and you should be fine.

Use of the ACA maps saves a LOT of time while riding as you know where the grocery stores, cafes, hotels, and campgrounds that accept tents are. 

Iowa also has really good county bike maps.  Do NOT use Google maps other than if in a town or only going a few miles.
Have a great adventure!  John

Offline jwrushman

Re: Device-less Tour (no smartphone, no GPS)
« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2019, 05:56:28 pm »
Although I am a Luddite, I will admit there are times when modern technology can be beneficial.  A smart phone, not used excessively, is pretty darn useful. 
                It's my camera - I want to take pictures and it's almost as good as my bulky old Nikon. 
                It's my map - I still carry paper maps. 
                It's my diary - I carry a pen and some paper too. 
                It's my payphone - I doubt you'll find those along your route. 
                It's my book to read  - for the rainy days I take a zero. 
                It's my list of contact - for address and phone number of people I want to visit along the way.
                It's my radio - when I want to listen to music when setting up my campsite.
Sure, I could go device-less, and I'm sure I'd have more "adventure" when getting lost and not be able to reach anyone.   I'm a pretty frugal (a.k.a. "cheap") person at times and I prefer to do things simply.  If you think your life is overly reliant on the internet, sure go without a smartphone or GPS.  But I think there are other ways to un-plug.  I think the technology's not the problem - maybe just over-reliance on it and everyone find's their own happy balance.

An old fart.

Offline DanE

Re: Device-less Tour (no smartphone, no GPS)
« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2019, 08:02:53 pm »
This is the way everyone over forty managed their life in the first half of their existence.