Sunset in the Coconino National Forest, looking northeast toward Sedona, AZ, 4/17/15

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Technology for the Tour

I plan to use a few technologies on my cross-country trip because they provide some conveniences and protections.  Here is what I'm bringing and why.

Laptop -- Even though I won't be able to get online within the National Parks, I plan to use my computer a lot.  Due to lack of room in my car for hard copies of travel books and maps, I'll input that information onto my laptop.  (For back up, though, I will carry some paper maps and a compass.)  Also, a GPS software/receiver (Co-Pilot Navigator) will be my primary routing tool for the overall trip.  For evening reading, I'll download a few novels.  The laptop recharges while driving using a converter.  I'll have an extra battery as well.

Smart Phone -- I just got this device and am having a grand time learning how to use it.  It's a phone (but I will also carry a phone card when no cell service is available).  It's a browser, with lots of apps to find stores, get weather, traffic, the news, maps, etc.  It's my camera.  It has GPS, a level, compass, and it tells me where the shade will be.  I'm able to recharge the phone using a car charger, USB cable, or solar charger.

SPOT GPS Messenger -- In my visits to national parks to date, I haven't had any cell service.  So, I wanted a way to call for assistance if needed.  This SPOT device has several functions that use GPS instead of cell towers.  The "SOS" button is like dialing 911 via GPS satellites, sending rescuers to my coordinates.  Another button is for road service, emailing family to send AAA to my coordinates.  Other buttons email my location.   No recharging is available, but I carry extra batteries.

I'll also bring a crank weather radio and USB battery chargers.  As always, I'll depend on the Prius' GPS and bluetooth technologies.


  1. How do you find the alternate roads? Is that something I can do on my gps. I have the tom tom. (still learning it)

  2. I'm unfamiliar with Tom Tom. My GPS programs on both my vehicle and my laptop will suggest alternate route if it detects that I've veered off course.

  3. I commend you for your bravery Suanne. So many women fear doing things that are solo or may seem too difficult. I don't understand that thinking either!

    1. Thank you Colleen. I think the news programs encourage a culture of fear. My expiences reveal that people are generally helpful and nice, even when they are having a bad day. I just remind myself that the reason a story makes the news is that it hardly ever happens ... That's what makes it newsworthy.


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