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EMT Miscellanea #3 – Butler Maps, Destination Highways, and Route Planning

Our Epic Motorcycle Trip started life in February 2023, when I started to plan out my riding year during a particularly cold month. The plan dawned on me, at that time, that we could squeeze two rallies that I wanted to go to into one trip. I had my maps spread out on the table, and was surprised to learn that my detailed maps carried me as far east as our final destination in Sturgis, SD.

The planning within BC was easy. It was a trip to Nakusp that we had done before. From their, we needed to pick a place in the corner of the province where we could overnight, and then cross the border. It seemed simple enough, so in the planning we went to Nakusp, then to Cranbrook, BC, and over the border there towards Montana.

I had pulled out my Destination Highways map and map book, and plotted the route from Nakusp to Cranbrook, including the fun little ferry ride. Destination Highways has done for mapping in BC (and Washington State) what Butler has done for most of the US – only they also include very detailed map books. I love their product as it is tactile, but I imagine like a lot of mapping, their days may be numbered.

Once we were over the border, the Butler Maps took over. I love these large, clear maps. I like that they are available on your phone through the Rever app – because Rever was started by Butler, and now both are owned by Revzilla. Anyway, planning the route from map-to-map going west to east, and then back again, was invaluable. It allowed me to have a good overview of distance, and a good idea of the side roads that exist. Many of them exist immediately to the side of the interstate, but provide a much prettier, more scenic view.

It also allowed me to pick three of what Butler deems to be roads worth riding to. These were all correct, by the way, and were a) the Going-to-The-Sun road, b) Needles Highway, and c) Lolo Pass. There were others that we could ride – that were further out of the way, and that we thought about planning for – but these were the best, and were directly on the routes we wanted to travel.

The relevant maps were in my side case the entire trip. I never had to pull them out while we were travelling, although we were close to it, but they were there if they were needed. I was comforted that, if my GPS gave out for some reason, we had a way to get home that wasn’t just “run north to the border and then turn left on Highway 1”.

I’ve written about my love of maps before. They have been a good means of dreaming of, or planning, an escape. Even the sound as they unfold is comforting, especially inside on a very rainy day like today. I’m planning where this year’s EMT will be, and paper maps will be my guide.

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