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Old 11-08-2011, 10:15 AM   #1
campingcpl
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Question Do you use a GPS?

I was just curious and to get some feed back on people that are using a GPS to trip route when traveling with an rv. I have been considering getting one but was always affraid of it getting me into a tight spot with low clearances or tight turns. I have been doing some research and have found that there are 4 companies that are now making GPS's for RV use. There are a few companies that are making software for laptop's/cell phones/tablets and android devices but not really interested in them. Most of them require you to have mobile internet and personally I can't see spending the money for something I wouldn't use enough.

1. Rand McNally is making one and soon to be coming out with another for RV use (http://www.randmcnally.com/products/rvgps/index.jsp).

2. Magellan makes one (http://www.magellangps.com/Magellan-...FY5Y7AodCG19FA).

3. Tele Type makes one (http://www.teletype.com/c/RV_GPS.html).

4. Garmin makes two that can be used for RV's (https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=275&pID=93853 & https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?cID=275&pID=68620)

The prices for these run from a low of $299.99 up to $529.99 (prices can very depending on where you shop). So far (knock on wood) I haven't really ran into any problems other then maybe some tight turns or some small gas stations while traveling with an RV or when I drove over the road. All I ever used was a road atlas. I have missed some exits or have made a wrong turn before because of roads not being clearly marked and was thinking that a GPS might solve some of these issues. If anyone is using any of the above GPS or other GPS units I would love to hear about your experiences with them and what type you are using.
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Old 11-08-2011, 10:43 AM   #2
Festus2
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I have 2 GPS units, one a Garmin the other a TomTom. Both have features that I like but my preference is the Garmin. The Garmin model in your link above certainly has many more features than mine but then again it costs more --- that would be the one I would want but not the one we need. If I were to buy any GPS, I would get one that has free, lifetime map and traffic upgrades and one that has a large screen.
We have found our GPS units very useful and we always have them with us.
Having said that, they do have limitations and can lead you astray - especially in areas where new construction, detours and other re-routing has recently taken place. Used in conjunction with a good map, they are a useful tool in navigating your way around strange places.
Keep in mind that the route they sometimes use is not always the best route -- it is often the shortest but not always practical. I can give you specific examples but they would apply only to our area and would not mean anything to you.
They are not foolproof but they certainly are handy not only for finding you way around but also for locating fuel stations, restaurants, shopping centers, hospitals, etc. while enroute.
If you do purchase one, don't leave it on your truck windshield when the vehicle is unattended. It is an invitation for someone to smash your windows and steal it. I even remove the GPS stick-on holder - that way, no one knows that you have a GPS in your vehicle.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:02 PM   #3
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We use a Garmin 4000 series in conjunction with the Garmin ETrex hand held unit. They both have SD Card capability and we use the SD Card loaded with ATV, Snowmobile and Off Road maps for travelling in the woods as well as use the Garmin loaded maps for highway use. We've found that a tremendous benefit is the GPS can tell us us which lane to be in for the pending turns. For example, there are three turns off I-20 going through Dallas connecting with I-35. 2 are right turns, one is a left turn from an 8 lane expressway. It seems that nearly every time I've gone through Dallas, it's always been "just long enough" to forget which is the left turn and I wind up either darting across 8 lanes of traffic or going 30 or 40 miles out of the way to get back on track. With the GPS, that doesn't happen. For the most part, if you're travelling the interstate system, the GPS is invaluable for turns and local information, on secondary highways, it will get you where you want to go, but you may find that it routes you through residential or high volume (narrow street) business districts rather than using the "truck route" which would be so much less stressful. Use it, but know what the map says as well.

As Festus2 says, a good GPS is invaluable, and if you're a member of Good Sam, they just announced a RV specific GPS system to augment their GS Rand McNally Road Atlas.

One item that I saw recently had to do with security of the GPS. If you keep it in your car, don't label home as such, apparently there was a group of thieves who were breaking into cars with GPS visible at football games, etc and stealing the GPS and the garage door opener. With those two items, they could program the GPS to "home" and drive right to your door, use the garage opener to gain access and they knew about when the game would be over, so they knew how long they had in your home before you realized there was a problem. Sly and cunning? Hmmmm If you get one, mark a place a mile or so away from home as your "return destination" and don't keep the GPS visible. It might just keep your prized possessions in your possession.
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Old 11-08-2011, 12:43 PM   #4
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We bought the Rand McNally 5510 GPS when we retired in June. We have been on the road since then, 15,000 miles. We have had a few little problems but nothing bad. I am pleased with this unit notified us of speed zones, dirt roads, and low bridges, never put us in any compromizing positions. good luck George
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Old 11-08-2011, 01:14 PM   #5
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I have been using Garmin for years. They have the best customer service by far. My first one had a small monochrome screen but it contained US and Canada roads and world cities and towns. Also could be used for marine navigation.
Then I moved up to one with color screen and speech but updating maps became costly.
I now have one with lifetime maps and traffic. Traffic works fairly well if available where you are and has saved my butt a few times.

By the way. My Garmin Nuvi 750 is named Ethel after my mother in law. It seemed fitting since she has always wanted to tell me where to go.
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Old 11-08-2011, 03:08 PM   #6
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Hank -

I heard that the Garmin (my favorite) has maps for North America, but none for Canada. Hmmm, can't remember where I heard that ...

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Old 11-08-2011, 03:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by geo View Post
Hank -

I heard that the Garmin (my favorite) has maps for North America, but none for Canada. Hmmm, can't remember where I heard that ...

Ron
I think that sounds like a Texan trying to rile up our neighbors to the North by saying their not in North America. Hmmmmm?

Garmin does comply with Canadian radio standards also.
Some come with US, Canada and Mexico.
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Old 11-08-2011, 03:43 PM   #8
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i use a GPS everyday, well just ab0ut. i love it. saved me about 5-7 hrs a week with work. i use a tom-tom, i have had it for at least 4 years. i don't use it much when towing my camper around, but that is because i usually go to local places, or places that i am mostly familiar with anyhow. i still carry my trusty atlas and still have a door full of state maps that i pick up from rest areas. i still use them in the morning when i am planing my daily route in an unfamiliar area. this is how i was brought up, and i guess old habits are hard to quit, even if you are only in your mid 20's. i really mostly use the GPS to let customers know a close time of arrival, and the abilitly to see what roads are coming up. i travel a lot of back country roads and i know how it feels to be behind that guy that isn't sure where to turn, and i don't want to be him.

i also take the GPS with me even if i am going someplace that i been before. it has lots of "Point's of Interest", and even a KOA "application". i can look for food close by, or a shopping center close by, it even will give me the telephone number so i can order ahead. it has lots of fancy things that i don't really know how to use. for the most part it gets me very close to where i got to go. but you still need to be the driver and know where you are and where you are going, it is a tool and i don't think that you should reley on it solely
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Old 11-08-2011, 03:51 PM   #9
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Hank:
It's a long story and no one but Geo and Festus2 would understand. Canada/Texas relations are very good and this northern neighbour is certainly not riled up. Bring your Garmin.... you can use it when you come to Canada.
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Old 11-08-2011, 04:18 PM   #10
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I use my Android with the CoPilot Live Premium GPS app. It has an RV setting and takes into account bridge heights. While not quite as slick as the Garmin I used to have, it is mighty close and only costs $25.
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