How to get directions from Google Maps into Gaia Maps for iOS so you can use them offline

I wanted a way to download directions from Google Maps onto an offline mapping program on the iPad so that I could use the iPad for navigation even when I don't have my cellular service.  I have an iPad with 3G, but because I am a tightwad I only turn the 3G service on when I am on long trips. Also, we go plenty of places with little or no cell service out here in the west, so even if I wasn't a cheapskate I would want this capability.

It turns out that it is not that hard transfer directions from Google Maps into Gaia GPS as a route (not turn-by-turn directions, sorry) that you can view as a colored line on the map.  These days my favorite iOS offline maps app is Gaia GPS.  It can do offline street maps (Mapquest using Open Street Maps), satellite view, and topo maps.

  • Sign in to Google on your computer browser, since you will need to work with the "My Maps" feature in Google Maps.
  • Go to Google Maps and get directions to the place you want to go.
  • At the bottom of the list of directions click the "Save to My Maps" link
  • Select "Save to a new map" from the drop down that asks which map you want to save to.
  • You will be taken to your new map in My Maps.
  • Find a link called KML on the left sidebar, just under the title of your map, and click it.
  • This will open a save file dialog for a KML file. Save it to your desktop.
  • Now transfer the KML file from your computer to your iPad.
  • One way to transfer the KML file to Gaia GPS is via email.
    • Email the KML file to yourself.
    • Open the Email on your iPad and open the attachment using Gaia GPS.
  • Another way to transfer the file is via iTunes
    • Plug your iPad into your computer
    • Go to the tab for your iPad in iTunes and click the Apps button to get to a list of your apps
    • Find Gaia GPS in the list of File Sharing apps
    • Click the Add button at the bottom of the file list for Gaia GPS. This will open a dialog where you can select your KML file.
    • After you have selected your KML file in iTunes, open Gaia GPS on your iPad. It should pop up a dialog saying there is a KML file waiting to be imported and asking you if you want to import it now. Do so.
  • Once you have imported the KML into Gaia GPS it won't automatically show up on the map.  You have to first tell Gaia GPS to display the route on the map.
    • Go the the Saved screen in Gaia GPS
    • On the Saved screen click the button on the top left for saved routes (it looks like two amoebas with stringy appendages)
    • Your KML file should be listed at the top of the list of routes with an on/off switch next to it. Turn it on.
    • Go back to the Map screen in Gaia GPS and your route will show up as a colored line. 

How to keep a Costco six pack of romaine hearts from going bad

The big drag with many Costco fruits and veggies is that unless you have a huge family or a restaurant you aren't going to use all of the big quantity Costco sells before it goes bad.  I have, however, found a way to make the romaine hearts Costco sells in six packs last for weeks:

  • Fill your sink with cold water and put the romaine hearts in to soak for about 30 minutes.  This re-hydrates them.
  • Let the romaine hearts dry for about 20-30 minutes after you soak them.
  • Put each romaine heart in its own gallon sized zip loc bag, removing excess air before you seal, and then put them in the refrigerator.
  • Every few days eyeball all of the bags and remove any leaves that are starting to brown. Typically the leaf on the bottom starts to brown after a few days, maybe because the weight of the romaine heart is resting on it.
I have no idea whether or not this is considered a good practice from a food safety point of view, and I also have no idea whether or not this ruins some aspect of romaine lettuce that foodies feel passionate about.  I do know that I have been doing this for months without getting sick and that the lettuce is still  fine by my standards after up to three weeks.