Archive | April, 2013

Outer Banks NC

30 Apr

Yesterday we enjoyed a wonderful lunch in Nags Head NC at the famous seafood restaurant Sam & Omie’s


Our day began with rain but ended with clearing skies and a very coloured sunset. We went to Bodie Island light station, Pea Island refuge and the famous gliding sand dunes in Jockey’s Ridge state park.
We returned to our B & B for a very late diner with candle light and a fire in the rustic drive shed. Chloe, the inn-keeper at the Big Mill, works hard to provide her guests a perfect stay.

We’re now staying with friends

on the intercoastal waterway looking across to Topsail Island NC.

Great Smoky Mountains

17 Apr

I’ve planned a return trip to the Great Smoky Mountains in early May. If all goes according to plans I’ll be trailering south to Topsail Beach area in North Carolina and then riding for a week. My Vstrom has enjoyed some great adventures but has never before been loaded onto a trailer. Hopefully all goes well.

Once I’m riding I’ll try to find some lesser travelled roads for crossing North and South Carolina but I expect that Warwoman Road riding westbound to Clayton Georgia will start my adventure properly. I’ve connected with another Stromtrooper forum member (Rodney) and we’ll meet up and ride together for a few days. Georgia is his playground so he’s already got some interesting routes planned for us.


About a week later I’ll be finishing my ride northbound on the Blue Ridge Parkway to it’s end. Hopefully I’ll be able to find and re-connect with some of my family, and of course the car and trailer, so that we can drive home together.

GPS coordinate formats

10 Apr

The degree symbol ° can be typed on a normal keyboard using and holding the alt key and pressing 0176
Some people often use a  dms  conventional shortcut  N44d 13m 52.7s  W76d 31m 51.6s  because it saves finding the symbols. While others may use only + 44.23132    -076.53101

An example of latitude and longitude location:
N 44.23132°      W076.53101°         degrees and decimals of degrees

N 44° 13.879′    W076° 31.861′       degrees, minutes and decimals of minutes

N 44° 13′ 52.7″  W076° 31′ 51.6″     degrees, minutes, seconds and decimals of seconds

Sometimes the formats are abbreviated and written as  D.Dº ,  Dº M.M’  ,  or  Dº M’ S”.

Confused? From my experience, most gps users seem to use the degrees, minutes and decimals of minutes format. Just basic math, and knowing that there are 60 seconds in a minute and 60 minutes in a degree, allows conversion.  The number of decimal places shown provides an adequate location for anyone using a handheld gps.

But the format with just the degrees and decimals D.Dº  is the simplest and least confusing. The 5th decimal place of a degree is approximately equal to one metre and at the positional accuracy limit of our handheld devices. So the relative location area is about the size of a picnic table in a campsite and certainly good enough for SAR.


By using standard formats correctly maybe the confusion and mistakes will be avoided that hamper some search and rescue missions.  We have access to so much amazing technology and many well trained SAR technicians to help us in emergency situations, but we should all be clear and careful in our communication.  I do hope that if I ever need to press the SOS button, to activate my SPOT in an emergency, that responders won’t confuse my location.

from the movie "UP"

from the movie “UP”

Link to the following websites for more information:    find out how Einstein’s theories get used in practice every day.