State by State

Apparently there is an entire country between Boston and San Francisco.

meander

by Damian

Chances are you may not like using Furkot. I won’t take it personally. It’s just statistics. We all like different things. What is Furkot? - you ask. It’s a trip planning application. It’s delivered directly to your browser through magic of the Internet, so you don’t have to buy or install anything and it works out of the box on your desktop, laptop, tablet, and phone. Well, unless your laptop remembers Bush presidency. Then we might have a problem. Or not, since - as we already said - you might not like Furkot in the first place.

The main reason you may not like Furkot is that you may not need it at all. If you never wanted to know how many days it would take to ride comfortably from Miami to Yellowstone. If you only ever ride spontaneous day trips. If you have one of those magical bikes with unlimited fuel supply. If you’re OK with sleeping on the side of the road or have enough spare cash to show up at the most expensive hotel in town and demand the always available presidential suite that have never seen any president (but they don’t tell you that, do they?). Then you probably have no use for Furkot.

On the other hand, maybe you are just curious by nature. Maybe you like to tinker with stuff. Maybe you like to imagine where, and how, and for how long you can travel. In that case, give it a try. I won’t say it will cost you nothing. It does cost you your free time, which is the most valuable thing in the world. Free time you could have spent going to the gym, reading a book, fighting world hunger or a million other things. So - you know - give it a try at your own risk.

And one more thing. You should probably try to forget most of your trip planning habits. Things that are easy for your computer and things that are easy for you poring over a giant map with a magic marker in hand: those are not the same things.

Computing is easy for computers. Telling you times, distances, averages, ranges is trivial. Telling you where to stop for the night after driving every day for no more then 6 hours and no more then 400 miles and no later then 6 pm - that’s easy for your computer. Finding fuel stations along your route is easy for your phone. After all you have in your pocket a machine more capable than those used to send people to the Moon.

Reading your mind on the other hand, that is kind of difficult for this soulless machine. It won’t tell you which destination will give you the experience of your life. It’s not going to guess which road that you are willing it to take. It’s not going to do the most obvious thing just because it is the most obvious thing for you at the moment. Not for another few years. Get back to us in 2025 and we may tell you another story. The bottom line is Furkot needs hints from you.

Think about Furkot as you think about your dear, somewhat obtuse, smart - but not street smart - mate (yeah, there are people using Furkot in Australia). Hey, why don’t we go to Yellowstone this weekend you say. And Furkot says: sure, but it will take 3 days just to get there even if we don’t stop to see anything on our way. Spoilsport. Did we mention that spontaneity is hard for computers? It’s really hard to like someone like that.

On the other hand you could say: I have 5 days of vacation in September. Let’s see how we can get to Yellowstone and back. And Furkot responds: this is the shortest way, and this are places you can spend your nights at. And you’re like: OK but how about I stop at aunt Betty’s place in Cody. She has a nice sofa. And Furkot agrees: cool - this is your trip with Cody taken into account for, and those are all the new places you can sleep at. And by the way: do you know you’ll be in Cody at 11am? Is aunt Betty cooking good enough to justify lunch AND dinner? And you go: hmm… show me all the interesting places on the way to Cody. And Furkot is like, here’s 100 things along your route… And you spot this old car museum and think the you are going to need 2 hours. Well, scratch that. You tell Furkot you need 2 hours at the museum. And then - since you are on the roll - you open the Eat drawer and find a lunch place nearby. Before you know it aunt Betty’s sofa looks less and less enticing, Furkot is telling you about that short side ride you cannot miss and that you will be in Cody at 11pm which is past aunt Betty’s bed time. So you decide to think about it more and you spend a few precious minutes clicking Skip and Visit on your old car museum stop to see what it does to your trip timing.

So by now you can see that planning your trip is kind of a dialogue. Furkot will never complain if you change your mind. It will let you to add and remove stops. Drag your routes around. It will let you experiment with your schedule in the way that using magic markers and a piece of paper for calculation would never do. As a matter of fact you can plan several trips. Whenever you have a plan that you like, Duplicate it and keep on planning. And then compare them side by side and choose the one that appeals to you.

One more thing, Furkot will keep on showing you things (mostly yellow things) along your way. It’s going to show you overnight stays and it’s going to show you fuel stations if you want. It makes Furkot happy to give you suggestions but you are totally free to ignore them. Want to stay somewhere else for the night? Add an overnight stop to your trip in the place of your choosing and Furkot will automatically recalculate everything. Don’t like the suggestion - try deleting it. Furkot will tell you why it has been added in the first place and you’ll have a chance to tell it that you want to make that day longer. Or that your don’t want to sleep at all. Tell it what you want. You are in charge.

If you already used Furkot you know all that. If you didn’t, here’s the list of all the things it can do for you. Remember to start small: plan a 2-3 day trip. Add some stops. Explore - not just the map - but also all the strange nook and crannies on the screen. Most things will show you a yellow tip if you hover your mouse over them. First thing to find is the Undo button. It will let you start experimenting for good. If Furkot does something totally crazy to your trip you’ll be able to back off without causing a major damage. Add more stops. Play with all the goodies in the Find drawer. See what things you can click on (hint: you can click on almost anything). Maybe everything. It’s just going to feel obvious and natural. If something does seem hard - read our getting started guide or go on YouTube and see how others are using Furkot. One of the advantages of having a strange, exotic, and hard to spell name is that when you search for Furkot you tend do find things that are Furkot related.

And since for some inexplicable reason we still have your attention, let’s tackle the navigation thing. You already have a GPS device. Either a dedicated one, or the one that you call your phone. Furkot is not a replacement for that. You paid big bucks for your GPS. Make it work for you. And, if it does not, complain loudly to its manufacturer. Once you are happy with your plan, Furkot has enough info to tell your GPS where you want to go. And your GPS has knows a lot about how exactly get you there following the Furkot planned road. What is beyond our control is how to pass that info to your GPS. There is no standard language in which we can describe your trip to your device. Which does not stop us from trying. You can export your trip in many formats - find the format that will work best for your GPS. We’d like to help but there are thousand of different GPS types and there is only one Furkot so it’s an uneven battle. Sometimes what you export from Furkot will work, and sometimes you’ll need to go through whatever software came with your GPS. Sorry. If you ever talk about it with your GPS customer support tell them they should stop playing games and make it simple. Maybe if enough people do that they will get their act together.

So, back to Furkot. You probably will not like it. You probably will not use it much. Then again: you might end up loving it and use it for every ride you take short or long. World is a strange place. You might end up having the experience of your lifetime just because you found that diner, that trail, that twisty road. Give it try. Or try any other road trip planner. There are many of those out there and there has to be one created specifically for you.

See you on road.

turner

Small talk in Big Sky, Montana goes like that: The third time I hear the admiration in my interlocutor voice my curiosity is piqued: which aspect of Ted Turner biography grants him such notoriety in the Treasure State? Is it his marriage to Jane Fonda? The third one for both of them and neither remarried after their divorce in 2001. She is a famous actress, who looks more striking with each passing year but I doubt her fame is what distinguishes Ted Turner in the Big Sky Country.