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Old 05-25-11, 05:08 AM   #1
MichaelW
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Lost

Has anyone ever been lost on a bike tour, I mean really lost, not temporarily misplaced. Dont have a clue where you are, Lost.
I've had trouble getting in and out of some cities and I've had to wing it through some forest trails but I've never been well and truly, where the flip am I, lost.
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Old 05-25-11, 05:38 AM   #2
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I've been in a situation where I had to ask a local where the flip exactly are we right now.

I had printed out a shortcut from Google Maps. It showed one small rural road leading through to my destination, and maybe two other small roads in the area. Turns out, there was a maze of small rural roads, most of them dead end. My "map" being from Google, it had zero topographic details to help determine which of the small roads was the correct one.

Even the old guy I asked couldn't put us on the Google printout. And he had apparently lived in the neighbourhood for his whole life, judging by his heavy accent. But when I asked which way I should go to get through to X, he gave me accurate instructions.

If I hadn't met the old guy, I could have gone back to the intersection I took the shortcut from. I wasn't that lost. From there, I could have followed bigger roads around that mess. But that would have meant quite a bit of extra mileage. I learned my lesson: I'll never rely purely on Google "maps" again, especially in rural areas.

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Old 05-25-11, 06:27 AM   #3
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MichaelW, Not on a tour, but during a century. One of those moments where one's "in the zone" and I never saw the route's arrow. It was basically like waking up in a strange room. I stopped at a small grocery store that luckily sold maps of the county, merged it with my route map and found my way back. In the end I traveled about 30 extra miles to the finish.

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Old 05-25-11, 07:44 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by bradtx View Post
MichaelW, Not on a tour, but during a century. One of those moments where one's "in the zone" and I never saw the route's arrow. It was basically like waking up in a strange room. I stopped at a small grocery store that luckily sold maps of the county, merged it with my route map and found my way back. In the end I traveled about 30 extra miles to the finish.

Brad
Same here. We (ten of us...really) were intent on a metric century. We started our ride just south of the James River, where none of us had much experience for the area. We got lost, and ended up with my first standard century. For me it turned out to be a great day!
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Old 05-25-11, 08:42 AM   #5
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Conveniently enough one of my journal entries was titled "Lost": http://www.bikerussia.com/2007/06/06...BE%D0%B5-lost/
Fortunately the next day was "Found": http://www.bikerussia.com/2007/06/07...8%D1%82-found/

The short version was that I saw a shortcut road connecting two points on the map. Locals even told me the road was paved. So, I set off only to discover it was gravel. I trudged on for 28km and then that road pretty much ended. There was an array of dirt tracks and I picked what seemed like the best dead reckoning via overland picking dirt paths as I went along. I did that for another 12km and then camped for the night. I wasn't lost in the sense that I knew I could backtrack 40km to get to the main road...however, I also didn't know if these paths would continue or come to a dead end after the next turn.

The next morning I gave myself a "budget" of 30km on the paths (including the 12km I'd already gone). Either I'd find myself to a better connected road or I'd bite the bullet and backtrack 58km. Fortunately, I found a village and connected roads when I'd only used 25km of my "lost" budget. I still wasn't quite certain where I was, but now I was in a village with a paved road and as I left the village I then saw a sign that pointed to place that was known on my map.
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Old 05-25-11, 09:02 AM   #6
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I got lost on the 1st day of my 1st tour. Lesson: Google Maps isn't enough.
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Old 05-25-11, 09:14 AM   #7
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I've taken some wrong turns, but the penalty has been pretty minimal. One needs to pay close attention while pedalling offroad in forested areas with limited sight distance.
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Old 05-25-11, 11:01 AM   #8
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Got off course somewhere in Indiana and that was when I realized that Adventure Cycling maps are great "if" you aren't lost.... once off course enough you have almost zero way to figure out your location. Asking locals was humorous.... Most didn't seem to know much about anything more than 50 miles away.

Moral of the story... I now carry my phone with real gps as a backup. On that trip I purchased a State map. Would have saved me about 60 miles of riding that day to get back on course....
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Old 05-25-11, 02:03 PM   #9
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I was trying to get from Eufaula State Park to Tulsa, OK last October, and the road that Google maps showed ended up disappearing into a swamp. There was still a gap in the trees that showed where it had been, but the roadbed had been worn down until it was about a foot or two below the water table, with the exception of a few concrete bridges that were still in place. I ended up walking my bike along a parallel ATV trail for half a mile or so, then carrying the bike through foot-deep water for another half-mile before I got to a place where the road wasn't underwater. Another mile or so over really muddy roads put me in Hoffman, OK, where I was able to get on paved roads again, and made it to Tulsa shortly after dark.
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Old 05-25-11, 05:20 PM   #10
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Once I was in a hurry and got directions from Google and only wrote down street names and which way I needed to turn. Turns out that the actual street names were different than Google's. Since I didn't write down the distances between turns I had no clue on how far I needed to travel on each segment. Major mistakes. I stopped at an intersection in the middle of nowhere waiting for a car but gave up after 45 minutes. I eventually found my way to the destination but it required some "bonus" miles.
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Old 05-25-11, 07:47 PM   #11
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Got lost in the middle of the alps. A 80 mile day turned into a 130 mile day very rapidly. It was beautiful.
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Old 05-25-11, 08:00 PM   #12
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I got tired of the traffic somewhere in northeast California on a tour a few years back and took the next forest road. We emerged somewhere in Oregon a couple days later. It was one of the best parts of that trip. As I recall, we did have a map of the area, but it didn't show any of the forest roads on it and we didn't really care where we were anyway, as long as we kept going north.
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Old 05-26-11, 08:46 AM   #13
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I've been lost many times because I do it deliberately. If you're in Georgia, headed for New Orleans, you're not going to wind up accidentally in Vancouver -- so try it without maps and see what happens! Surprises are lovely. Asking directions is fun. I know it takes all kinds, but these hyperplanned tours with purchased bicycle maps sound completely joyless to me. When I tour, the whole point is to get lost!
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Old 05-26-11, 02:10 PM   #14
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In a sense. Lost even though I knew where I was. During my group Adventure Cycling tour we were supposed to stay at a host's house in Sandpoint, ID. Our leader made the arrangements with the host over the phone and then gave us directions. Problem is, he gave us incorrect directions. I followed them and found myself wandering aimlessly around some Sandpoint neighborhood in a cold rain. I finally stopped at the local jail, which was at a T intersection on the directions the leader gave us. They were nice enough to let me use the phone to call the host, who told me I was almost close enough to hit her house with a stone. Turns out the right at the T we were told to make should have been a left. Other members of our group got similarly lost. The real crazy part is that the host told me that we weren't expected until the following day. Seems our leader had a problem with dates and directions.

I also got lost in an area of Andalucia that was occupied by nothing but rolling fileds of olive trees and criss crossed by unmarked roads or roads whose markings did not correspond to what was on my map. Everything looked the same. I had to estimate where I was and try to orient myself towards where I need to go. Took a while, but I eventually made it.
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