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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 562
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Organizing My McMenamins Passport Adventure
Sunday 29 May 2016   —   Category: Miscellaneous
In recent articles I shared about begin­ning my McMenamins Passport ad­ven­ture, and how I created a photo of myself for the Passport.

In this article I want to tell you about some of the ways I’m using technology to help me organize and document this adventure.
 
 
To begin planning my exploration of the 57 locations in McMenamins’ Pacific Northwest brewpub empire, I downloaded their PDF map brochure (latest version) which provides all of the relevant details.

NOTE: When I wrote this article, their downloadable brochure was dated May 2012. Since then, McMenamins has posted an updated version of the brochure on their Web site. Therefore, in early October 2016, I updated this article to reflect any changes.

In addition to the electronic PDF version from Mc­Men­a­mins, I went to one of their locations and picked up a real live paper version. Even though the paper and electronic versions are now the same, the PDF version is dated 02/​2016, while the paper version, which otherwise seems identical, is dated Nov. 2015. I would imagine that in future printings, the paper version will have an updated date.

The 2012 PDF brochure had an upside-down first page which was designed for printing on paper and then fold­ing. Because it was very hard to read on a screen, I had created my own version of the brochure with that page flip 180 degrees, and had made my version available for download on this Web site. McMenamins new 2016 bro­chure does not have this problem, so I have dis­con­tin­ued the download of my edited 2012 version.
 
 
In past articles I have told you about the custom Google Earth “places” files I have created to document my outings. And not only do I benefit from my work, but these files are available for download on this Web site so you can benefit as well.

See A Portland Google Earth Companion and Photo Out­ings All Over Oregon, Part 2 for more details and the down­load links.

In order to facilitate my exploration of the McMenamins empire, and to avoid cluttering up my existing Portland and Oregon Google Earth files, I decided to create a new col­lec­tion containing only McMenamins locations.

I recently spent some hours finding each McMenamins in Google Earth and adding them to my own list. I even had to add a few newer locations which have not yet made it into Google Earth.

To help correlate my listing with the above-mentioned PDF brochure map, I organized the McMenamins location in Google Earth into four folders corresponding to the four geographical areas McMenamins used in the brochure.

Going one step further, I numbered each location in Google Earth with the same number used in the brochure, making it very easy to move back and forth between the two.

As usual, I’m making all of my time-consuming work avail­a­ble for download, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Go ahead and download my McMenamins Google Earth places file to help you plan your own McMenamins ad­ven­tures.
 
 
Google Earth is a nice way to get a bird’s-eye view of, as well as a close-up look at, the McMenamins empire, but that data does not really help me to actually get to a particular location.

For GPS navigation I carry my iPad Mini with me at all times. On it I generally use either the Apple Maps or Google Maps app. Be­cause I don’t trust Google enough to store my contacts with them, and because both Map apps can access the data in the Apple Con­tacts app, I am using Contacts to store all of the locations I want to navigate to.

In the Contacts app I created a new group called McMenamins. Us­ing the McMenamins Pubs Web page listing as a guide, I opened the Apple Maps app and found the first listed location. With a cou­ple of mouse clicks I was able to create a new Contacts entry for that location from within the Maps app.

It took quite a while, but I repeated this process for each of the 70 locations on that list. I even added one additional entry for the Tacoma Elks Lodge property which is still under development.

Now, whenever I want to drive to a particular McMenamins lo­ca­tion, all I need to do is look it up in the Contacts app and then tap on the “directions” link. Another approach is to start typing the name in either of the Maps apps, which search my Contacts as well as the Web.

I discovered that it was very easy to export the entire McMenamins folder of 71 locations from the Contacts app to a separate file in the standard vCard format. Since I am such a generous guy, I am mak­ing this vCard file available for download.

Once the file is downloaded to your device, it should be easy to im­port the data into your favorite address book. I just tried it on an­oth­er iPad, and it worked great. I also tried it in Thunderbird on my Mac, but with less stellar results — all 71 entries were imported, but 17 of them were completely blank! Because the vCard format is supported by a wide range of apps, you should be able to import these McMenamins contacts into any number of apps on virtually any devices.
 
 
Here is an Apple Contacts entry for a particular McMenamins location — in this case, Kennedy School. You will notice that I have put #22 (the cor­re­spond­ing number for Kennedy School on the brochure map) in the First Name field, and McMenamins in the Last Name field. This data can help facilitate searching and grouping.

Kennedy School, like a number of other McMenamins locations (particularly their hotels), is not just a single des­ti­na­tion, but a group of on-site attractions. So I took the time to track down and list all those attractions which have their own McMenamins Web site page, as you can see in this example. I did the same with the other multi-attraction locations.
 
 
To help keep track of each visit to a Mc­Men­a­mins location and document what I experienced there, I am using the Apple Notes app to record the information while I am there, so I don’t have to try to remember the details after I get home. I rely heavily on such notes when writing articles about my outings. As you may have noticed, I love sharing abundant, and accurate, details!
 
 
Another useful tool for researching, planning and documenting my McMenamins Passport adventure is the official McMenamins App.

As you can see from the main menu screen shot to the right, there is a wealth of McMenamins information right at my fingertips. Most aspects of what is going on everywhere in the McMenamins empire is to be found in this app.

One nice feature is that you can find out which beers and ciders, with descriptions, are currently on tap at each location. I also like that you can see photos of each location, and read about its history. A number of buildings McMenamins has restored are over 100 years old, with fascinating stories associated with them.

Looking for something to do? Every day there are numerous music, drink, and other events taking place all over the McMenamins em­pire. So much to do, so little time!
 
 
Although the app doesn’t take the place of a paper McMenamins Passport, its Passport Tracker is a fun way to electronically keep track of which stamps I have collected. I can see my overall prog­ress at glance, and the app can help me find nearby McMenamins locations for which I still need a stamp.

The screen shot to the right was taken from the Experiences section of the Passport Tracker. You can see that I have gotten my stamps for touring a brewery and touring a distillery — both of which I participated in during my recent visit to the Cornelius Pass Road­house.

You can also see some of the other “experiences” I need to ex­pe­ri­ence in order to get those stamps. At the bottom of the screen is a running total of how many stamps I have collected, and how far I have to go.
 
 
Last but not least, I have made some new additions to this Byrd Photo Web site which will help me share my Mc­Men­a­mins Passport adventure with you through photos and articles.

Some photos are taken with a Mc­Men­a­mins location as the primary destination, while others are taken as part of a larger outing.

In order to bring together all of the Mc­Men­a­mins photos scattered among var­i­ous albums last year, I have just created my last album for 2015: McMenamins Pub Crawl 2015.

For all of the current and future Mc­Men­a­mins photos for this year, there is the McMenamins Pub Crawl 2016 album.

Just as I did for the themes of Portland and Food & Cooking, I have created a special combined index page for all of my articles and photo albums related to McMenamins, as well as a special, easy-​to-​remember Web address for accessing it directly.

The new My McMenamins Passport Adventure index can be found at mcmenamins.byrdphoto.com
 

Brian's Photo Blog — Article 562
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Brian's Photo Blog — Article 562
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