GPS or old school paper maps for you? - Page 4 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 08-27-2014, 02:00 PM   #43
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I have been traveling long distance alone since the 90s. At that time, I had mapping software on my computer that I used pre-trip to print out maps along the way as well as fold up maps of multiple states and metro areas. Saved my butt in Buffalo when the bride's directions to the wedding included a wrong turn!
In 2008 I got a Tom Tom large screen GPS device. Trying to get to a convention in Dayton it insisted I route thru the parking lot of a shopping center. Trying to get to friends house near Blacksburg, VA it sent me deep down in a holler farmyard for the connecting road. The goats and hounds got a kick out of seeing me trying to back my truck out of that one!
I still use the gps when driving long trips and stay prepared to ignore it when it seems irrational. I appreciate that after a brief interval it will recalculate to a (usually) more appropriate route. My friend in Blacksburg amused himself one afternoon by recording all the voice commands in his own voice with personalized additions, so the Tom Tom is now named Michael. It gives me some satisfaction to yell back at him when his directions are crazy. I find the POI setting to have limited usefulness for what I want. Probably due to the age and lower cost of my model.
I also use DeLorme books for CA and AZ for pre trip and destination planning. I also carry a large print rand McNally with my notes about camping spots on sticky notes attached to the state pages.
This year is my first smart phone year. I am using the maps more than Michael on short trips. The Yelp app is useful for "where do locals eat" and for campgrounds near where I am. Got my iPhone from my son when he upgraded to i5 and bought a $6 SIM card from Straight Talk to use their service. $43/mo for unlimited everything with 3G is cheaper than my cheapest limited dumb phone plan with Verizon. Very happy with the coverage and had a signal most of the time in Sierras and SE AZ.
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Old 08-27-2014, 05:33 PM   #44
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Mount it as close to your line of sight (without blocking it) and as far away as practicable to minimize the refocusing your vision for distance. Down on the dash against the front window works for me. I do have to lean forward to push buttons (when using the Garmin). Some states do not allow suction cupping the GPS to the windshield but are apparently okay with the bean-bag type mounts loose on the dash.
In California it is illegal to suction cup the GPS to the Center of the windshield. You are allowed to suction cup it to obstruct only a 5" x 5" area of the Lower Left Corner, or a 7" x 7" area of the Lower Right Corner of the windshield. Otherwise it must be below top of the dash.

California Vehicle Code:26708.(3)(b)(12) Material Obstructing or Reducing Driver’s View
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Old 08-27-2014, 06:27 PM   #45
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I prefer the bean bag style mount. My GPS can be easily moved from vehicle to vehicle and stowed under my seat when I'm away from my car. I've driven through many states without any law enforcement concerns, California included. Maybe I was lucky? Our Subaru has a dished out area in the center top of the dash where the clock, trip meter, etc is displayed. Sitting there, the GPS bottom edge blocks less of the road than the suction cup mounted options.

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Old 08-27-2014, 06:55 PM   #46
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Great discussion! We finally got a Garmin GPS about a year ago and are finally getting around to using it more consistently. It has proven useful quite a few times, especially when trying to find a specific address in an unfamiliar city. I agree that a GPS sometimes wants you to take weird routes. When we first bought it I asked it to take us home from someplace we'd been shopping in town. We set off on what we knew was the most direct and efficient route to our house but it kept trying to get us to go a completely different way. Ms. Garmin, as we call her, doesn't always know best! A few times it's taken us down narrow roads through congested areas while towing the trailer when we were pretty sure there must be a better way. I think we just need to get more proficient at using it.

We'd probably never go off on a trip without paper maps though. Like some of the others, we like the DeLorme atlases because of their detail. Decent folding roadmaps for the states we'll be traveling through are also on board.

I must also say that sometimes getting a little lost has led to some of our most interesting experiences - and I do mean interesting in a good way. :-)
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:10 PM   #47
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I thought I knew better than my GPS until I decided to blindly follow the instructions to get to my destination. Took me 15 minutes less time ( even though it made no sense to me ). Not saying that it will always work, but sometimes it pays to challenge habits.
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Old 08-27-2014, 07:14 PM   #48
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I thought I knew better than my GPS until I decided to blindly follow the instructions to get to my destination. Took me 15 minutes less time ( even though it made no sense to me ). Not saying that it will always work, but sometimes it pays to challenge habits.
Once in a while I punch in a known destination from a different starting point - always interesting to see how it routes, and if you know where you're going you won't get lost anyway.

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Old 08-27-2014, 09:31 PM   #49
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GPS only now. I think the main thing is updating at least four times a year.
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Old 08-27-2014, 10:14 PM   #50
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+3 on training your daughter. Give her brain the challenge.
We use both paper and GPS and I usually check google maps and/or yahoo maps before trips. Recently got a smartphone, so if I am not driving, I can check the online maps.
Two things I like about our Garmin -- there is a detour function that allows me several options to include "detour by road(s) on route" although it's rerouting doesn't always make sense.
There is a trip planning app that allows me to plan out my routes and I can do this by browsing the map and inputting locations by touching that location on the map.
Something to be aware of: the GPS will sometimes read a map literally and read a sharp turn in the road as a need to make a left or right turn.
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Old 08-27-2014, 11:58 PM   #51
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Rogerdat, I had never thought about the home address. Good point I need to change mine.
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Old 08-28-2014, 07:45 AM   #52
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GPS or old school paper maps for you?

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Originally Posted by Glenn Baglo View Post
I thought I knew better than my GPS until I decided to blindly follow the instructions to get to my destination. Took me 15 minutes less time ( even though it made no sense to me ). Not saying that it will always work, but sometimes it pays to challenge habits.

Yep. With traffic and road construction updates, that will vary. Last trip to minneapolis I went an awfully weird route down two lane blacktop, way off course. On the way home, it took me straight down I-35 all the way from Minneapolis to wichita, like normal. I quickly realized the northbound lane was one lane rough road construction half the way there.

One Christmas heading home it tried diverting me off I-35 into downtown Minneapolis. What? I-35 goes all the way home, stupid gps. When I ignored and rounded the corner and found I-35 was a parking lot, I was plenty angry with myself. It took an hour to go a mile. It tried rerouting me 6 times after that, I listened. Every time I got back on I-35, there was a parking lot in my rearview mirror.

For the most part, I've learned to shut up and listen to Betty (aircraft people will get the name), she gets me there 99% of the time, even if it *might* not the the perfect route. Then again, I've had people say she was wrong, go this way, and once again, found out why she picked an odd route.

My brother in law dispatches many trucks cross country every day, and knows the twin cities like the back of his hand. When Betty picks a different route than his, and I take hers, she has a 50/50 shot of beating him. If we don't, we're right behind.

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Old 08-28-2014, 07:59 AM   #53
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I always marvel at the notion that men will listen to "Betty" or another woman'svoice from the GPS, when they won't ask their wives or a stranger for directions.
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Old 08-28-2014, 09:49 AM   #54
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I always marvel at the notion that men will listen to "Betty" or another woman'svoice from the GPS, when they won't ask their wives or a stranger for directions.
I'll ask a stanger in a heart beat, even though 50% of the time they are wrong. I do not have a wife anymore and there was no point asking her anyway.
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:41 AM   #55
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+1 on teaching and engaging your daughter.
  • Start with the paper maps, plan a route.
  • Then utilize google earth (or maps for that sake) to get visuals of different intersections or identifieable features.
  • Preprogam waypoints into the GPS as favourites or whatever they may be called for your brand. e.g. monday coffee break, lunch etc.
  • Some GPS units have a real time learning mode. i.e. the GPS follows its route in real time without ever moving. You can practice using short routes to places she already knows. e.g. school, the playground etc.
There are lots of occupations and activities that use navigators; for example air travel, road rallies etc. Your daughter will probably be learning to drive in 5 years she will appreciate learning all this ahead of time.

+1 to Roger for his suggestion.
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Old 08-28-2014, 10:54 AM   #56
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I'll ask a stanger in a heart beat
I actually did that the other day. Dave Tilston was passing through town and I picked him up at the airport, we had a visit before dropping him off at the bus terminal downtown. I'm used to getting to the bus terminal by taking public transit and walking. But I drove this time.

Although I left with ample time (~1 hour). There were a number of detours once I hit downtown. Construction, movie shoots and so on. At one point of time, I actually lost my bearings for a few minutes until I recognized where I was. I recalculated the route and headed off on my way. With 7 minutes to go before his bus was set to depart, I got panicky. I knew I was within a block but just could not mentally picture which way I had to turn. So we pulled over and asked a couple walking. They looked at us in disbelief and pointed to a building a hundred feet away.

Dave made his bus and I was home in 20 min. Silly me, forgot I had the GPS in the truck behind the seat. I typically only use on trips to places where I don't know where I am going.
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