Sunday, January 29, 2012

Trailer service and SPOT, so every one knows where we are.

Ed here,

Four months and counting until our departure date!

This weekend's focus was on getting our trailer in order. I went through the trailer end to end. I checked all of the bulbs, electrical connections, chains, and replaced the bearings. I would have taken pictures of the wheel bearing replacement, but it is a big greasy mess. I could not use the camera with all the grease that was on my hands. Anyway, the trailer is in great shape. I have the wheels off right now as I am going to get new tires next weekend for it.

During our journey, we want all of our friends and family to know exactly where we are as well as have a way to signal for help in the event that we have difficulty in an area where there are no people or no cell phone coverage. Last Christmas, we purchased a SPOT tracker.  These wonderful devices can be purchased for around $100.00, there is also a yearly subscription for the service which start at $99.00.  Our particular plan costs $149.99 per year.  This sounds expensive, but it is well worth it.  

A SPOT tracker

This is a satellite based tracking device.  We can set it to send a signal to a satellite automatically, the signal can then be tracked over the internet on a map.  When it is a little closer to our departure date, we will post a link to this map so you can follow us along the journey.  The map is up to date within a few minutes.  There is more to a SPOT tracker than that though,  you will notice there are three buttons other than the On/Off button.

The OK button allows us to send a message via email or text to whomever we designate in our settings.  We are unable to compose a message with the tracker, so the message is something we wrote previous to the trip.  The recipients will also be provided our GPS co-ordinates of where we hit the button.  For this trip, we have this set for our kids and other family.  We know there will be places along the way where we will not have cellular coverage or WiFi available, so this feature will be nice just to let them know we are doing great and having the time of our lives.

The Help button is a safety net.  If we push this button it will send a help message to whomever we designate in our settings.  Again, this is a pre-written message and the recipient will be provided our co-ordinates.  We figure this option for non emergency help if we did not have a cell signal or there were no people around.  For example, a mechanical breakdown.  We really do not anticipate having to use this feature as we will mostly be sticking to the main roads.

The final button is the 911 button.  When this button is pushed, the Cavalry is called.  An alert is sent to the GEOS International Emergency Response Center indicating we need emergency help, they in turn alert the appropriate emergency agency closest to our position as well as our pre-designated emergency contact.  This button would only be used in the event of a true life threatening emergency.  We hope we never have to use this button.

We have read many times about how helpful this device can be in some of the motorcycle forums we frequent.  We plan to post on some of the sub-forums specific to the areas we will be traveling through to see if there are any motorcyclists in those regions who would be willing to be a contact if we hit the Help button.  We also have been talking with another rider that we met in the ADV forum who will be a contact for the entire trip.  This rider is a really great fellow, and we have been enjoying talking with him.  When we asked him if he would be willing to help us out he said yes without hesitation.  That's one thing that we really like about the motorcycle community, everyone we have met thus far is willing to help other riders out in any way they can.  Some of the acts of kindness, generosity, and overall decency we have read about are truly amazing.  We are very happy to be a member of the motorcycling community and would help out any time we were needed.  

As you can see, this device and service is very well worth the money.  If you have any experiences with this device that you would like to share, please post a comment.

It's been nice visiting with you,

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