This post has to do with something that some folks have thought about and some probably haven't. It's about where we set the "home" location on our GPS units.
One of the things I like about the GPS is that I can wander all I want to without any worry about getting home. Not that I would actually get lost, mind you. My internal navigational system is quite functional. The GPS, however, will direct me via the most direct route. By the time I've wandered to my heart's content I'm usually running late and need that advantage!
This past week I've been navigating all over the area south of Seattle following the big truck around. I wrote a while back about the smaller RV that was touring our area. This week the 53 foot custom trailer was available to us. We worked with some distributors to set up product show and training days. Thus I found myself relying on the GPS to get Elvira and I where we needed to go.
I'll get back to the GPS thing in a minute but I wanted to share a couple of photos from the week. It was "all hands on board" for our team. Brian and I, being blessed ( or cursed! ) with the gift of dazzling verbal skills led tours through the mobile showroom again this year. Inside the building were a product fair and various educational classes. Anyone from maintenance folks to architects could come away with something of value.
This is an amazing trailer. The viewpoint above is looking to the rear from the front. As you can see, it's dark outside. Our days started before sunup on site. This was after anywhere from a 30 to 60 minute run from my hotel in Kent. It was too dark to read directions stashed in the window of the tank bag. Voice commands coming through the earpiece of my Scala Rider com system worked well.
The previous snapshot shows the side with all our electronic wizardry. This side is the architectural portion. On the right are the displays of designer levers and such. On the left are 8 full sized and operational doors of various configurations. There's another area in front right behind the tractor that has another 4 full size doors.
Taking people through the mobile showroom sounds like easy duty. It's a lot of work, however. Brian would take the group down one side and I would take over at the nose of the trailer, bringing the group down the side with the doors. As soon as I took over another group started at the back. We averaged 11 tours a day, pretty much non-stop except for a break at lunchtime. A full tour took 40 minutes from entry to exit. We did this for four days plus set up and tear down.
It was also great fun, though. By the end of the stretch my voice sounded deep and raspy. Kind of like James Earl Jones as the voice of Darth Vader. "Luke, I am your father!"
Back to the GPS. As you see, I had plenty of reason for having the GPS on Elvira.
One morning I allowed way too much time for travel. My internal alarm goes off at 4 AM and this particular morning I was restless to get going. So I saddled up Elvira. Tacoma traffic can be good or bad, even in the wee hours of the morning. Traffic is surprisingly heavy early in the morning but we sailed on down Valley Freeway 167, merged onto WA18, and hit Interstate 5 southbound.
I've named my Garmin Zumo 550 Emily. I know I frustrated her a little bit. She told me to take a particular freeway exit. I, however, knew there was a coffee shop two exits down. My plan was to pass time there since I was so early. It would be Emily's job to re-direct me from there. I know she's just a machine that runs circuits but I'm positive I heard of bit of exasperation and annoyance as she said, "recalculating!". I'm even pretty sure she said "idiot" under her breath. As punishment for her snippy attitude I left her out in the rain.
Anyway, I usually sit where I can see the bike. In this case the layout precluded that. It wasn't in my plan to stand in the parking lot so I put my helmet on a table and my jacket over the back of a chair. I then sat and pondered the world while enjoying my coffee.
Emerging from the coffee shop into the still dark parking lot I observed ( most regular people would say they "saw" something, but us cop types have to say "observe" ) a fellow messing with the GPS unit on the bike.
You can see the temptation as the unit just sits out there on the handlebar. The mount has this retention lever that slips down and is secured with a set screw that has a sort of security head. So the guy couldn't just do a grab and run thing. Which is why he was still standing there when I emerged from the coffee shop.
I quickly caused the fellow to have a change of plans. The plan changed to rabbiting down the street as fast as he could go. In this case it was no harm, no foul. I don't leave the GPS on the bike if I'm going to be inside somewhere for a long time. This was one of those instances where I figured it would be okay as the coffee stop would only be about twenty minutes or so. I don't know if this guy prowled the local lots or was simply taking advantage of what he saw as opportunity.
This brings up the point of the post. Since most of you insist on there being a point rather than just reading as I ramble, I've put one in here.
GPS units have the ability to mark waypoints for regular reference. One such point is where the "home" location is. Most people sit in their driveway and push the button. The good news is that the GPS will then lead us right to our driveways. However, if someone were to steal the GPS unit, it would also tell them where it was and how to get there.
Considering that the thief knows we weren't at home when they stole the unit, that could be a bad thing.
My own GPS has been led to believe that my home is a chain coffee shop about four miles from where I actually live. See, I'm pretty sure I'm smart enough to figure out how to get home from there. It's kind of like Mapquest. Why don't they start at about step 5 as I know how to get out of my own neighborhood?
The thief will surely be disappointed but at least they can console themselves with a double mocha latte or something!
Just something to think about, for what it's worth.
Miles and smiles,