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Discussion Starter #1
Okay, I caved and bought a spot to give my wife peace of mind when I'm in the boondocks. I'm curious if you have strategized about how to get more detailed info to your home site with the essentially 3 or 4 options available.

1. I'm okay - use this frequently and especially when you get to the general area where you are riding and where you are getting off the bike for a hike, and especially during that hike (you are less conspicuous away from the bike).

2. Track option (sends a location to the website every 10 minutes), but hey you can travel a long way in 10 minutes and it seems to me that the sending takes longer than that so if the sender stops working or you shut if off too soon, the location track is abbreviated. My track options seems to have shut itself off a couple of times so it bears checking to see if its working.

3. Custom message - This needs to tell something about who you are, what bike you are riding, and why you might have sent the message or what you expect in terms of response (should be something other than the two options below). I say this in case its someone other than your wife, brother, or oldest kid who sees the message. I named my unit TWSPOT before I realize that it would be the name that accompanied the message that I'm OK. My sister in law would imagine that TWspot was a dog and blow it off.

4. Send help but its not an emergency - This is what you do if the bike is dead, you are injured or otherwise stuck but not necessarily in a life threatening situation.

5. SOS - This one goes to emergency folks, not just your contacts so its one you only want to use when its serious - besides that you have to decide whether even then they will come for you - it could be that number 3 or 4 will get you more attention than 5 if you have established folks who will monitor that signal.



I'd like to hear what folks who have used the SPOT, have done - what messages say and how we might be able to get more precise info to our contacts by employing combinations of signals or repeated signals. JUST thinking. Tom

PS. I realize there is a thread of 10+ pages on ADV rider about spots but I'd like info from the trusted TW community rather than some of the gonzos there that I don't know anything about. Tom
 

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If no one comes forth PM Warren. He's like a Level 10 Spot Ninja, er sumpin'.
 

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I ALWAYS use the tracking feature. I have done 7 full day rides on the same set of lithium batteries and it has never shut off or stopped tracking.



I have my sos message set to im not injured, but im broke down...send help.



The red sos of course is im fucked/panties are wet.



The message buttion is usually hey looked where i am im having more fun than you bla bla bla.



and the check in/ok is im running late, but everything is ok
 

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So, with a spot, what is the cost? Don't you have to pay a fee each year? I can see where they could be very valuable for solo rides.



Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #5
For the basic Spot II (new and improved basic) its $99 and $99 per year for the service with $50 more for bread crumb tracking feature. Yes its a luxury, but what is spending the night in the mountains when you don't want to worth or keeping a spouse from being frustrated, worried, or angry? I rationalized it as a justifiable expense considering the remote areas I ride in solo. I like the idea of using the tracking just to say where you are, the I'm OK to say "I'll be late but still coming", and using the custom message (not really because it has to be written ahead of time); the send help; and the SOS for more severe situations (previously agreed to by rider and spouse).

As a further explanation, I'm usually not more than 30 miles from home, but its on seldom traveled roads, through nearly uninhabited areas, the folks that are out there are hermits, plinkers, cowboys, and even some that are unreliable, and the number of roads, trails, arroyos, box canyons, and hills that I could be on would be a major handicap to anyone finding me quickly if I was unable to move or badly injured. But stuff happens. Tom
 

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I use a Spot that is paired with a Delorme PN-60w GPS. (You can get more details at the Delorme internet site.) This allows true custom messages as well as other options. But it is still one-way communication. So, if you want two way communication, consider the Delorme GPS paired with their InReach device. I have stayed with the Spot so far because of the cost of a new device, but two way communication raises safety and peace of mind to a new level.
 

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I hit the ok button once a hour. I have the unit mounted on my bars. I change the custom message frequently but usually have it set to

" I'm having some mechanical problems but I am attempting to fix" Plus I give my wife a good idea where I'm headed..



M
 

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Hey gang!



I've been using mine for almost 3 years now!



I keep it pretty simple.



I have the SOS button of course, then the help button is roadside assistance.



I have the tracking option so a cookie is dropped every 15 minutes.



I've programmed the other two messages to read:



All is well - Stopping for awhile



All is well - Stopping for the night



That's for over-nighters - For day trips I set it up like this:



All is well - Stopping for awhile



All is well - Heading home



I ask my family to keep an eye on it and if they don't see me move for more than 30-45 minutes, or if the tracking stops with no message sent, to call me every 5 minutes for 30 minutes. No answer or callback and they start to escalate.



I make sure to keep my phone snug against my body so will feel it vibrate. So far only one issue, the batteries had died and it took my wife one call to get me.



I love it - A friend of mine just got back from a 5 week trip to Alaska and his wife was thrilled watching him on the trip!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks everyone, These are the subtle thinks that can be included in the 5 basic messaging options. Am I correct in the following?

1. Tracking goes to the web site and is accessible to anyone you arm with the password and id (and who bothers to look for it).

2. I'm OK; and 3. Here's my custom message (written ahead of time). both go to any and all email addresses and or text message addresses specified.

4. Send help goes to the email addresses and text message phone numbers specified.

5. SOS goes to the monitoring service which ideally contacts the local authorities, search and rescue or sheriff's office (Do I really want to count on anyone responding?) I'd hope that the SOS would also involve contacting emergency contacts specified in you user account.

My concern is having only one person or entity listed for receiving messages 2, 3, and 4 because that person might not be available and you not realize their absence or inability to respond. Thus I'd really like to preplan a backup person who would/could respond even if primary contact was not about.

Has anyone ever pulled the SOS lever? If so, what happened? Just fussing about serious situations. Tom
 

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Boy, that's a great question Tom. What can someone (generally) expect if they push the 911 button on the Spot.



Perhaps ADV rider would have the much needed insight. My thought is, given the conditions you may be in, what ever happens will not be soon enough for you liking. In my current state of mind, I find myself saying, "it is what it is". Should you be in pain, or scared, likely this offers little solace. A couple of years ago during my annual physical, I indicated to my doctor what I like to do, and my concern/request. My doctor wrote a prescription for a couple of 'good' pain killers. In the event of an incident, if I am able, I can press the 911 button on my Spot, or let the "Tracking" option indicate to folks that I have been at the same point on the trail for 5 hours. Should 'major' discomfort come before assistance, at least I will not be crying out in pain......





This brings us to another point; what is the cost of rescue. I suspect, should you be out on the trail and have a 'good' fall. Should there be 'BLOOD' or a bone sticking out, even if you have GREAT pain killers, no-one is going to be inclined to lift you into the back of their Hum-Vee and haul you out to pavement for an ambulance to pick your sorry ass up.. With this thought, I purchased the 'helicopter' evacuation insurance. It seems some off-road motorcycle clubs offer this as well.





Perhaps as you get older, you become a bit more concerned about spending the money that you worked so long and hard to earn. For most of us, 'earning money' requires labor and time. Getting a bill for $18,000 to heliport your sorry ass to the nearest emergency room, only to find that this is not covered by your insurance will likely put a damper on future off-road adventures.





Will it happen, not likely. If you are 'less young' and care about minimizing financial trauma, this heliport insurance may offer you some piece of mind. I spend way more on beer than that insurance. The insurance leaves me feeling smart, for planning ahead. The beer often times leaves me feeling like a relaxed bum. Go figure, Gerry
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Gerry, You are my friend a wonderful philosopher. Thanks for placing it all in perspective. Tom
 

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Great points Gerry.



Let me add a few things.



You can purchase gap insurance (pretty cheap) to cover that heli ride.



Response time for 911 is excellent. Two years ago a buddy of mine headed to his cabin in Mexico. They got caught in a bad storm, he crashed and shattered his leg 200 miles from anywhere in the Mexican desert late in the afternoon (3ish).



They pressed SOS.



90 minutes later they had a helicopter onsite: It saved his leg.



I have also used it when on vacation, and had roadside service to me within an hour. We had no cell service and were 75-100 miles from the nearest town while winding our way down through the mid-west where you see maybe 3-4 cars in an entire day.



Lastly - Great piece-of-mind for the family at home... I won't ride without it - But I do very long solo rides in untraveled places...
 
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