Sunday, December 4, 2011


Hello, Ed here


I can't believe December is already here.  Only 7 more months before our departure.

This week I decided not to write a tech article about the installation of the Garmin Zumo 550, but rather a summary of why we selected it and some of its features.

First let me say that this was a rather expensive addition to the bike, but with kids still living at home the set up we went with gives us some piece of mind while on the road.  One thing that we wanted to be able to do is to be accessible to the kids as possible while we are on this ride.  This GPS gives us the ability to receive and make phone calls via a blue tooth connection to our cell phone while riding.  We do realize that there will be many places on this trip where we will be unable to get cell coverage, for those areas we will have to find somewhere with internet and we will Skype the kids.  The GPS also has an MP3 player, is water proof, allows us to plot our route, store and use additional data on an SD card.  It also came with all of the hardware to mount it on the bike.  This hyperlink was the best deal I could find on the internet, they were doing a Black Friday deal on this GPS so I was able to score it at a good price.

To make this work, we installed a Kennedy Cell Set into the bike.  This set up allows us to hook the GPS up to the intercom system in the Wing.  This way, we can use our head sets to talk on the phone, talk to each other, listen to music, talk on the CB, and hear turn by turn directions from the GPS.  This is quite the upgrade from our previous Garmin 2610 set up that we had.  It works wonderfully and was quite easy to install, it was all plug and play.  The downside to using the Kennedy Cell Set is that they are no longer supporting, providing a warranty, or manufacturing the Cell Sets.  The upside to this is that they are clearing out their inventory and doing so on a make an offer basis.  That being said, I was able to negotiate a smoking deal on the Cell Set.

The Zumo 550
A nice and clean install.  The plug ins on the side of the cradle hook to the Cell Set.
Also,  a few weeks back a friend from the Steve Saunders Goldwing Forum read our blog and made a really good suggestion for a pillow for me.  He recommended the MEC Base Camp Pillow.  The pillow arrived yesterday and I think it is going to work quite well.  It is an inflatable pillow so you can set how hard or soft you want it.  It rolls up quite small and weighs a whopping 7.47 ounces.  I meant to try it out last night but forgot about it.  I will try it out and let you know my thoughts on it next week.

We ordered a good quality silicone tarp this week and can't wait for it to get here.  Since we will be going during the rainy season, we figured a tarp would give us a good place to be sheltered from the rain during cooking, eating, and socializing.  Next we are going to have to order poles for the tarp.

It finally got cold enough here for me to test one of the heated jacket liners, they are wonderful.  I am a year round rider, and have not had a car for the past 8 years so the cold has never been a big deal for me.  I can tell you that the heated liner makes for a much more enjoyable cold weather ride.  It's like riding during a nice spring or fall day.

Ya know, all this new gear, gadgets, and prep work is fun and exciting but the one thing I am looking forward to the most is being able to spend a ton of time with Devon away from the hustle and bustle of the world.  Every day I feel so fortunate to wake up to see her and to realize that we are much more than the average married couple, we are true partners and soul mates.  I love and cherish my wife very much, we draw closer to each other every day and this trip will certainly add to our experiences and memories together.

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