Saturday, April 9, 2011

what the ADP FAQ reveals

I'm tempted to file this under "lessons learned." As it turns out, the American Discovery Trail is not bike-able along its entire length, as I found out while reading the FAQ for the ADT. Bikers must instead follow detours, and even then, there are portions of the ADT that are impassable by bike.

I also found out that the ADT is not clearly marked as the ADT along its entire length; each segment is managed by a different state, and not all states are on the same page. Complicating matters is the fact that the trail's routes occasionally shift due to maintenance or construction, and maps that were valid last year are no longer valid this year.

Most of these problems are minor annoyances, not major obstacles. The idea that a trail might not be clearly marked is, well, par for the course with most trails all over the world (unless you're in Switzerland, where all the trails are scrupulously marked). Still, it complicates matters now that I know that the ADT, despite having a "society" devoted to it, is actually a rather disjointed path.

That "society" bugs me, too. Far from disseminating free information about the ADT online, the ADT Society has taken the most current information about the trail and rendered it in paper map and book form. I wonder just how many maps and books I'll have to carry with me at any given time. I'd much rather use Google Maps (which employs satellite/GPS) to guide me than to carry around a few ounces (or pounds) of paper. (Of course, paper doesn't run out of battery power, but it can wear out, crumple, fall apart in rain, and do a bunch of other nifty disappearing acts.)

I checked to see whether the trail was marked on Google Earth. It's not, as far as I can tell. There may be random photos pegged to the maps on Google Earth, but they aren't readily searchable as part of the ADT. That's frustrating, to say the least, and the upshot is this: the only way for me to get detailed information about the ADT is to buy it from the ADT Society. Shucking fit. Doesn't seem fair. Then again, that's capitalism, right?

Speaking of capitalism, I think it may be possible for me to couple the ADT with the notion of paid speaking engagements. I'm thinking that I can tie this in with eBay, where people are allowed to sell services (no, you pervs, not those services): I can set my fee at, say, $300-$500 to speak at a local venue; the money I collect can go to mostly the 501(c)(3) nonprofit, with the remainder being used to help keep me on my journey.

Gears are turning.



Jean said...

I'm on a roll this morning. Procrastinating--I need to go into the office, and don't want to.

There will be a lot of places out west, in the boonies, where you may not have phone access. GPS is more available than phone. Which means some paper maps to supplement is probably a good idea, until you get to more heavily populated areas.

You might look for map apps that would include the trail. They might cost too, but maybe less than paper maps from the society. And if the maps reside on your phone, that would eliminate the need for paper maps altogether. I have an app on my ipad called iHike that is a bit awkward to use, but with forethought would let you download maps section by section for the trail, and also lets you track where you are on the map by GPS when hiking, which has lots of advantages. Something like that might work for you.

Addofio (so you know I'm the same person commenting on both your blogs)

Charles said...

I would second the suggestion to carry paper maps. Maybe I'm just a Luddite, but for as awesome as technology can be, nothing beats a paper map for shear reliability. Put it in a zip-lock bag and you won't have to worry about it being lost to the elements.

Then again, this is coming from a person who doesn't have a smart phone.

(The title of this post confused me, by the way. I was wondering why you were reading a FAQ on adenosine diphosphate...)