Now that Just Ahead GPS Audio Guides are a reality, I wanted to share our back story.
I took my wife and three young kids on a six-week RV road trip last summer. We traveled all around the Southwest and introduced the kids to some spectacular country.
Predictably, we filled the cab of our Toyota Sequoia with a clutter of maps and guidebooks. We figured that whoever was co-piloting would consult them, navigate, and share stories about the sights unfolding outside our windows.
You can guess how well that worked. As soon as someone said, “Hey, what’s that?” we were past it.
Digesting the material at night to study up for the next day’s travels didn’t work either. When would there be time to enjoy walks and campfires?
But we noticed early in the trip, when we stopped at a museum, that the kids were entertained for hours by an audio tour delivered through headphones. We enjoyed it too.
We figured that whoever was co-piloting would consult the maps and guidebooks, navigate, and offer fascinating information about the sights unfolding outside our windows. You can guess how well that worked.
Being a technically savvy modern family, we assumed that there must be a better way to travel. We searched the App Store. We Googled. Plenty of apps offered text and photos, but were useless in a moving vehicle. Plenty of books could add to the clutter. On-board GPS could help with mapping, but not with background or suggestions or stories. Too impersonal.
We imagined having a park ranger ride along with us. Someone who could entertain and inform us. Point out hidden sights, suggest scenic side trips, explain the spectacular geology and flora, tell about the history—the pioneers and Native Americans who came before us.
The need seemed obvious: Why not create an app that could play the role of a ride-along park ranger? Something like that museum tour our kids loved, but for the whole world.
That’s how the idea for Just Ahead was born.
Just Ahead combines the best of many worlds: The awesome power of technology—smartphones, GPS—to deliver stories. Fantastic writers to tell the stories. The beauty of our national parks to serve as our first tour destinations.
And, of course, travelers like you to explore and enjoy our tours, to tell us what you liked and what you didn’t, to tell us where you’d like to go next.
Because we at Just Ahead would love to be along for the ride.