Climber’s Little Helper
After drooling over smartphones ever since the iPhone arrived, I finally took the plunge and got an Android last November, shortly after Verizon introduced their cheaper data plan. For only 15 bucks more a month, I’ve got a phone that makes all the cruxy parts of climbing road trips smooth as a V0 warm-up.
How so? Well, on a recent trip to Chatty I used the navigator to lead me straight to the boulders from Knoxville. No more having to print out Google maps and missing turns. i got to the boulders stress-free. After climbing, we wanted to camp so I pulled up the name of a nearby State Park a friend told me about. Boom. There was the phone number. I called them to see if they were open. I then let the nav app take me there across back roads where I woulda lost my way in minutes. Once we decided about where to stay, we wanted to go to an italian place in downtown chatty we remembered from the last trip…only we couldn’t remember the name or where it was. A quick search for Italian places got us the name and location and we were off for the grub. In 2000, i took a 3 month long road trip before I even had a cell phone. We had a box in the car that had AAA camping guidebooks for all western states, a fat copy of Rock n’ Road, and a bunch of maps. We got lost a lot. Was it part of the adventure? One can always claim that’s the case…but I just wanted to go climbing. One could also make the argument that access to the internet while traveling cuts down on interactions with the locals: ie, “Where’s the best place to eat in this burg?” But just because you have access to the internet doesn’t mean you gotta use it. You can unplug and be social anytime, in my opinion.
Oh, and in a final word on my phone-dork argument: I even updated my climbing blog while on the road with pictures I took with the phone.
Most of the time I don’t need all the fancy features on my phone. But when it’s road tripping time, i’m glad to pay the extra $15 a month to lose all those unnecessary stresses traveling can bring. Final note: the phone i got, the HTC Incredible, is on sale for $1 now at Verizon with a contract. Durn!