Going off pavement

Posted by: teacher

Going off pavement - 12/09/19 07:05 PM

"Going off pavement" is a better term than going into the woods -- And its a reminder to prepare. Listen, no one has to carry a compass in Central park, but its a good reminder than when you leave roads and sidewalks, you are more on your own; plan accordingly.
Posted by: KenK

Re: Going off pavement - 12/09/19 11:24 PM

I actually carried and used a little compass with the maps at Disney World and SeaWorld. The first time I went to Disney World I found myself disoriented, so the last - most recent - time I went the compass came with me.

When I lived in the Chicago suburbs and took the train downtown I found that same simple small compass very useful for quickly orienting myself. Without it I'd pop out of a Union Station door onto a sidewalk without any real idea which way was which (given my very poor ability to remember the Chicago street names and their relative locations). I think a lot depends upon whether you know the local reference points (roads, stores, ...).

Here on the northwoods roads of Wisconsin I'm constantly confused about which way is which. My truck has a compass, which I constantly reference. Wandering around town things are pretty simple since the towns are sooo small. Heading into the woods means a compass is absolutely needed - and probably a GPS with a few pre-saved waypoints too.

Ken K.
Posted by: Michael2

Re: Going off pavement - 12/10/19 03:42 PM

I've used the compass I carry in my pocket more in Manhattan than in the woods.

It took me a while to realize the trick of orienting to the direction of the subway train on reaching my stop and then retaining that memory while making all the numerous right and left turns leaving the train, going up multiple staircases, escalators, etc., so that when I reach the street I immediately know which way is north / south / east / west. So in the early days of being a tourist, unless I looked at my compass I would have a 50-50 chance of heading off in the wrong direction initially.

In the woods, for me at least, it's pretty much, "I'm on this well-marked trail, and I'm headed to that big obvious mountain over there." No compass needed.

On the other hand, it's actually a survival tactic in the city NOT to emerge from the subway and stand still for a minute staring around with big eyes and mouth open while gazing up and around with a lost expression!
Posted by: unimogbert

Re: Going off pavement - 12/10/19 03:54 PM

I carried a small pocket compass when I was on business trips in Japan.

Helped me to take the correct train when one might get onto a train on the opposite side of the platform which would go the exact wrong direction. Highly useful when you mostly can't read the signs.

Also used the compass to figure out what direction the correct exit from the massive train station would take me where I wanted to go (i.e. back to the hotel).

I use a compass to pre-calculate how to position my tent for maximum morning shade at a motorcycle rally.

Compasses, and maps, are wonderful!
Posted by: williamlatham

Re: Going off pavement - 12/11/19 01:14 PM

I had a compass on my watch band for years and used it all the time. So simple to just glance down and confirm direction. Unfortunately it will not fit on my new watch's band. Need to find a slightly larger one.
Posted by: Eugene

Re: Going off pavement - 12/11/19 05:45 PM

Washington DC a compass would be useful. So when I came up from the subway at something like D and 7th I has to walk almost a block one direction to see if the numbers or letters decremented or incremented in order to get a direction. A compass would have been useful there.
Posted by: KenK

Re: Going off pavement - 12/11/19 07:04 PM

Originally Posted By: unimogbert
I carried a small pocket compass when I was on business trips in Japan.

This post reminded me of my (one and only) trip to Taiwan with a coworker. After we arrived at the hotel I was absolutely tired because I hadn't slept well on the plane, but my coworker wanted to walk around the area, so we did.

In my tired eyes everything looked the same - all the signs were shades of green and in Chinese (which I can't read). After a while I had absolutely no idea where I was. When we decided to head back to the hotel my coworker said "I think the hotel is that way". I found myself in a state of tired mild panic, and had to simply trust my coworker. We wandered a bit, but eventually he found the hotel.

A number of years later I started working for a German company and made lots of trips to Germany. Because of my China experience I NEVER walked around solo without a global compass and a GPS 60csx with a Germany city micro SD card (shared with my NUVI GPS for driving around) and a pre-captured HOTEL waypoint in my pocket. I only had to pull out the GPS a few times, but was glad I had it when I did.

One of those times was in downtown Regensburg, and my Garmin 60csx GPS had a terrible time locking and keeping a lock on to the satellites. I assume it was because of the narrow streets and and several story buildings. I had to move to more open spaces.

BTW, if you have a chance to go I HIGHLY recommend visiting the old Regensburg city. For several reasons it is one of the few large cities that did not get "modernized" after the war.

I'd also traveled to Mexico a fair number of times - and once to Brazil, but due to my own personal concerns about safety/security, I never traveled far from the hotel without a local who knew what they were doing. I've been told that in some places I visited I was being overly cautious, but in others it was very much appropriate.

Ken K.