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Everything You Need to Know

  • Do I need multiple copies of a route for a group ride?
    If you are riding with a group, we ask that every person using our route for navigation purchase their own copy. In order to encourage this, we are happy to offer a discount for group purchases. Please contact us and we will set up a coupon code that will give everyone in your group 50% off of your selected routes.
  • Is a dedicated GPS really better than a Smartphone?
    Some people want to use their Smartphone to navigate because: they already have one, they already use them for simple navigation and there are a lot of great Nav. Apps (REVER) available. However, there are distinct advantages to using a dedicated GPS. Consider: GPS touch screens are designed to use with gloves on. GPS displays designed and laid out for gloved hands, big buttons. Raindrops don’t affect GPS. Power connection waterproof. Phone’s power consumption might exceed charging rate in bright sunlight (full screen brightness). Phone may overheat and shut down on hot days or in the sun. Bike vibrations may damage phone camera without special mount. Most people have lots of data on their phone, losing or damaging it can be expensive. A good GPS is cheaper than a new smartphone. Most Smartphone apps have constraining waypoint limits. GPS is usually designed for hardwired power, Smartphone needs some kind of power outlet. The apparent advantages of using a Smartphone are: No additional investment needed. No need to learn a new technology on the GPS is offset by the need to learn how to to operate a navigation app. It is up to each rider to determine what equipment they need. We hope that this list will help riders make an informed decision.
  • How do I import your routes into my GPS
    We have had several people ask for help on how to import our routes into their GPS. What most people don’t know is that there are 2 types of memory in most GPS units. One type of memory is what I am calling “Background” memory. This is where all of the data is stored and It includes any built-in memory as well as the memory on any SD cards that have been installed. The other type of memory is what I call the “Active” memory. This is the memory that is used to actually display and use pre-planned routes like ours. In order to use our routes, you need to pull it out of the Background Memory and into the Active Memory. The steps to do this are outlined below. The GPS unit in the pictures below is a Garmin Nav V. The steps are exactly the same on a Garmin Nav VI. The steps should be similar on most Garmin GPS units, but you might have to explore you GPS menus to find the functions you need. 1. Turn on your GPS. When I turn on the GPS, this is the screen I see: Do NOT select Where To? 2. Select Apps (Green Box) Once you select Apps, it will go to the Apps Menu Screen. 3. Select the Trip Planner (Green Box) The Trip Planner icon will open a new window. If you have not imported any routes, it will be blank like this: 4. Select the 3 bars in the upper left corner (Green Box). After you select the 3 bars in the upper left it will open a new window asking if you want to Delete, Import, or Share. Since I have no routes imported, the only option I have is to Import. Delete and Share are greyed out. The delete function will only delete files from the active memory (appearing on this screen). The route will still be available in the Background Memory on your GPS. You might not have the Share function. My GPS has the ability to share routes with other GPS units using a Bluetooth connection. 5. Select Import and a new screen is displayed with all of the routes currently stored in your background memory. If you have several routes in your Background Memory, you can find the one you want by selecting the down arrow to scroll through all of the routes. 6. Select the route you want by touching the square next to that line. I selected the Land of Lincoln Route v2.5 3. It shows me that I have selected it by displaying a green check mark. You can import more than 1 route at a time, but that will slow the process down a bit. I typically only import the route I am going to ride next. Note: I would suggest that you DO NOT select all. This could cause your GPS unit to lock up. 7. When the route you want has the green check mark, select the Import button (Green Box). The GPS will then start the import process and should show you the progress in a message bar. When the import process is complete, it will display the routes you have imported in the Trip Planner screen (the same screen as in step 3). 8. When you are ready to ride, you display the route you want to ride by touching the name of the route (in this example Land of Lincoln). The GPS will open your route and it should look similar to this: 9. Select Map (Blue Box) to preview the route. You can use the + and - keys to zoom in and you can use the touch screen to move around the map. 10. Hit the back arrow button to return to the previous screen. 11. Select the Go! Button (Green box) to start riding the route. This will bring up a screen asking where you want to start riding this route. This is your opportunity to start the route at some place other than the beginning. 12. Select the starting point. Note, if you do not select the first point, the GPS will route you to the next point on this list. Depending on where you are and how your GPS is set up, it might skip some of the route to get you to that first point. If you are between the first and second point (or any 2 points) I would suggest selecting the point behind you, then when you start riding and it tells you to turn around, you can skip that point and it will take you to the next point on the route, but it will also follow the route we have prepared. 13. Press the Start button, and the GPS will do some more calculations. These should be fairly quick, but might be slower if you do not have a clear satellite signal. 14. When these calculations are complete, it will display the map again and the Go! Button. Press Go! 15. At this point your GPS should switch to driving mode and display the turn by turn directions after it acquires the satellite signal. 16. Start Riding!!
  • How do I load routes into my Goldwing navigation system?
    Some Goldwings and Harley Davidson motorcycles have built-in Navigation Systems. In order to load routes in these systems, some models come with a USB Port. Our USB Data Sticks work well with these systems if you know the steps to take to load our routes. The steps below are specific to Goldwings, but I believe that Harley Davidsons with built in navigation will be similar. When we are able to, we will update this with Harley Davidson specific information. We are writing this because we have had several people ask for help on how to import our routes into their Goldwing navigation system. What most people don’t know is that there are 2 types of memory in most GPS units. One type of memory is what I am calling “Background” memory. This is where all of the data is stored and It includes any built-in memory as well as the memory on any SD cards that have been installed. The other type of memory is what I call the “Active” memory. This is the memory that is used to actually display and use pre-planned routes like ours. In order to use our routes, you need to pull it out of the Background Memory and into the Active Memory. The steps to do this are outlined below. The pictures below were taken from the dash of a Goldwing. 1. Make sure your USB data stick is plugged into the USB port. 2. Turn on the key so that the dash is powered up. 3. Select the Navigation menu item. 4. When you select routes, the next menu will be displayed. 5. Select the Routes item. 6. After you select Routes, the next menu screen will be displayed. 7. Select Import Route from the menu. 8. When you select Import Routes, it will display all of the routes that are loaded. It will also give you the option to “Import All”. 9. DO NOT select Import All. It will attempt to load all of the routes included on the data stick, which will cause your system to lock up. 10. Select the route you want to ride from the menu. In the example, we selected Mindoro Track v2.2. 11. It will take the navigation system a few seconds to import the route. When it is finished importing, you should be able to see the route and begin riding!!
  • Why can't I use Google Maps on my phone to navigate your routes?
    All of our routes are created using a .GPX format (for use in GPS devices). Google Maps does not support this file type. There is a process to convert the GPX file into a format that Google Maps will accept (.KML file type), but even if you convert the .GPX file to a .KML file, Google Maps will not give you turn by turn instructions. Because of these problems, we recommend using a true GPS for navigation. If you want to use your phone for navigation, you will have to get a GPS Phone App.
  • What are the technical requirements for using the routes?
    A GPS or Smartphone with a GPS app. Google Maps and WAZE will NOT work. A little working knowledge of how to load and use a .gpx file. A device to download the file onto in order to transfer it to your GPS unit. We also recommend some sort of trip planning software. We use BaseCamp and Kurviger. Both are free products.
  • How do I view these files on my computer?
    Many times, people have asked us how they can load our .gpx route files onto their computer. If you don’t work with .gpx files very often, it imay not be obvious. However, it is fairly easy if you follow these steps: Most people will want to view the route in Google Maps, however, as you will see in our example, Google Maps does not give the best result. NOTE: Google Maps will NOT work as a Smartphone Navigation Aid for pre-planned routes such as those provided by Driftless Road Adventures, LLC. 1. Insert your USB stick or SD card into your computer. 2. Open Google Maps. 3. Click on the 3 lines in the upper left corner. ​ ​ ​ ​4. Select Your Places. 5. Select Maps ​ ​ ​ 6. Select: Create Map ​ ​ ​ ​7. This will open a new map window. 8. Select Import 9. In the next window select the file you want to view. ​ ​10. Your route will load, but as you can see, it will not show the exact roads used, it will show straight line connections to each of the main points. 11. The way to make it display correctly is to run the .gpx file through a converter and create a .kml/kmz file. This type of file format is displayed correctly in Google Maps. 12. The best file converter I have found is called GPSVisualizer. This is a web page that will convert your file and then allow you to download and then view in Google Maps. But there is an alternative to this process using a different map viewer called Kurviger. 1. Go to the web page 2. It will ask you for a profile, which you can fill out or skip (cancel). 3. Select Import. One thing to note, Kurviger also makes a very good Smartphone navigation App. There is a free version and a Pro version which gives you turn by turn. Unfortunately, it is only available for Android at this time. We hope this helps answer your questions, but if you need more help, don’t hesitate to contact us.
  • Can I print my own maps from your files?
    The short answer is yes, BUT: It will be a lot of work and they will not be very useful due to the lack of detaill. In order to print the files, you will need to convert them from the current .GPX format to a .KML/KMZ format that can be read by Googlemaps. Then when you print the map, you will have to zoom out to get the entire map onto 1 page. When you zoom out, you will lose all of the road names will disappear and many of the minor roads will disappear. You can try to print the smaller sections of the map on several sheets of paper, but you will still probably lose some of the roads and road names. Also, the scaling on the maps will all be different, so you will not be able to easily tape them together. There are probably other programs available such as Garmin Basecamp and Kurviger that will allow you to print a map of the route, but again, the detail is usually lost when you finally print it out. This is why we created the maps that we do have available. We found some software that would allow us to print the routes and keep all of the detail. But it is very expensive so we only leased it for the time we needed to create our maps. If anyone is able to find a way to print detailed useable maps, we would love to know about it.
  • Do you offer paper maps of your routes?
    Currently we only offer paper maps of the 33 Driftless Area Midwest routes. These are great for people who prefer paper maps to GPS, or to use in conjunction with a GPS.
  • Are all of the roads paved on the routes?
    The surface type of each route will be explained in the description of that route. Paved Gravel/Dirt Paved AND Gravel/Dirt
  • What phone apps do you recommend?
    We recommend REVER Pro. This app will work well with both Android and Apple phones and in addition to being an excellent navigation app, it has a ton of social features. Riders can get a 20% discount off of their first year's subscription by using this link: and using this Discount Code: Driftlessforless. NOTE: Google Maps / Apple Maps will NOT work with our routes (or any .GPX routes) on your phone.
  • Do I have to start your routes at the beginning or can I start anywhere along the way?
    You can start our routes anywhere you want. It just takes a little bit of pre-planning and it depends on the GPS or phone app that you use. Most GPSs or phone apps will ask you where you want to start the route. If you plan ahead where you want your starting point to be, this is where you would pick it. Be aware that the route will end at the original starting/stopping point. So if you start at some other point, when you get to the original stopping point, the route will end. Then you will have to re-start the route using the original starting point and ride it to your actual starting point. It sounds complicated, but it's not. If you have any questions, or want to go over your specific GPS or app with us, we are happy to help you through this issue. Just send us a note through the Contacts page and we will set up a time to discuss this process.
  • Does the direction I ride make a difference?
    The ride direction makes no difference. Generally we design the routes to be in a clockwise direction so that there are more right turns than left turns, but some routes are counterclockwise because some sections of specific roads are more fun in one direction. In reality, you could ride our routes in both directions and have 2 completely different rides. If your GPS or phone app will not allow you to change the direction (mine will not), you will need to use a computer program like Basecamp or to Invert the route. Please be aware that changing the direction of the route could cause some problems with some waypoints. If there are waypoints on divided highways, inverting (changing directions) the route will cause the route to loop around to include those points located on the wrong side of the road. It's not a problem, you just need to be aware of it and be prepared to skip over points like this during the ride.
  • What are Wisconsin Rustic Roads?
    Please go to this site for more information: Rustic Roads
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