You’ve heard the name, and everyone says, “Oh my, that’s a great place”. So you make a plan to go because the excitement of the crowd makes it sound like fun. However, you’ve never been there and really really don’t know where it is that you’ll be going. So you plug in the name or address to your GPS or map program. It gives you directions. You put in a bookmark and start packing. What you fail to do is confirm that it got it right. You just start following the little voice and NOT the one in your head but the little one from the GPS, “ turn left in a 1/4 mile onto State Route… “ You arrive and no one is there? Well 80 other people just didn’t get it wrong.
Before you go out on an adventure you should get a real paper map of the area you are going and get a rough idea where that is. Know the basic roads to your destination and the main exit off the highway. If you are to meet people there it is a good idea to talk to them before you leave and confirm your route if you have not been there before. Ask about road side markers and road side attractions that will tip you off to when to turn. Google earth is a great way to check on these things and while it doesn’t have all the roadways in America on street level view, it does have many of them. Let it show you what you might see when you get there.And if not there, somewhere before you get there; big red Barn or road side businesses.
You should get and keep with you, phone numbers of other participants and find out if they are on a text plan or smart phone before you go. Texting will many times get through even if a phone call doesn’t. Give yourself time to make mistakes in turns and for road side mishaps.
The US Forest Service has maps of the many areas. AAA is a good resource for maps. Stop at visitors centers when you enter new states as many of them will have free maps, and guides to things to do.