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Do you use a GPS?

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Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Sat Apr 12, 2008 9:06 pm

Despite holding off for a long while now I'm looking at picking up a dedicated (street-mapping) GPS in the next day or so. Although I've always been a big believer in plain old maps, it's impossible to know some of the smaller cities we will be in this summer (during our trip west), and that aside, it's not realistic to print out maps for every possibility.

I figure that a dedicated GPS will be of moderate use while on the big-roads (showing ETA's, mileages to destination, etc) but would seem indispensable when you wander off the big road and into small (or big) cities.

Just wondering who else uses them, and if so, what make/model? I'm leaning towards the Garmin Nuvi 250 right now because it's on sale for $100 off at Canadian Tire currently, and we have $50 worth of bonus-money to also go towards it, bringing the cost down to about $150.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby Limey on Sat Apr 12, 2008 10:27 pm

I have a Lowrance i250c. Love it. It's a low end unit but has never sent me in a wrong direction! I had an old Garmin before this one, but it was so old that it didn't talk to me, auto calculate routes etc etc. I recently took my Lowrance to Phoenix when helping a buddy drive his new truck back to Colorado. He was so impressed that he is getting one. However, I did recommend the Nuvi to him as it has a lot more features than mine and has a brighter display. One thing I like about mine is that it even has a voice with an English accent!
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby LA_Bolt_Fan on Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:08 pm

I started with a garmin e-trex yellow (No maps), then got a garmin Legend (Maps but black and white) and finally upgraded to a garmin 60csx (Color, maps of the whole nation, automapping, etc.), then it fell off my bicycle mount and a huge RV ran over it, bye bye $500. I replaced it, as I use t to geocache mainly. Now that I work all over California, Nevada & Arizona I have been using my laptop with an inverter with Microsoft Streets 2008 with gps. I LOVE the big screen on my widescreen laptop since I visit about 12 different addresses everyday, it's perfect. I like the Trail function, I can see where I have been. My wife is notorious for getting lost, so I bought her the garmin nuvi, it works great and is so simple to use. There's my dos centavos! :D
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:21 pm

I do have Microsoft Streets & Trips with a USB GPS on my Macbook, but I find that having the laptop open in the cab of the pickup is just asking for a disaster since it must sit on the floor ahead of the center console.

It doesn't fit there well (the screen has to be about 60% closed to miss the dash) and it's just asking for a disaster considering how many open beverages are usually floating around the cab of the truck on long trips. :-)

I like it, but it's just not practical unless I made some sort of special mount that raised it up of the floor and held it securely in the middle of the two front seats.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby The Wood Tinker on Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:01 am

I use a Magellan 6000T for work, nothing for camping so far. (haven't needed it)
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby Retired Phone Man on Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:32 am

Last year I got Delorme Street Atlas with GPS unit. Tried it in the TV but no place to set the laptop while driving. Saw a mount on eBay for $30 and may try that. I do like the big maps on the laptop and usually just study them before I get to an area when I need to make turns. Also I would need to wire my inverter to the battery. It didn't like the power jacks. I guess thats my next mod.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby mikhen on Sun Apr 13, 2008 7:15 am

It's on my wish list for this year. Maybe I can get an answer here to 1 of my questions. For example, we are heading to the Jersey Shore this year. The most common way to get there is over the expressway in Philly. I'm not doing that. Is it possible to get an alternate route on GPS units?
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:02 am

mikhen wrote:It's on my wish list for this year. Maybe I can get an answer here to 1 of my questions. For example, we are heading to the Jersey Shore this year. The most common way to get there is over the expressway in Philly. I'm not doing that. Is it possible to get an alternate route on GPS units?


Most good units have preferences that allow you to choose your preferred types of roads, so you could tell it to "avoid" expressways and prefer state highways, or even rural roads - it should then plan your trip accordingly based on your preferences.

Some higher end units have the ability to pre-route your trip before you activate the GPS feature so that you tell it how you'd prefer to get there, and then it provides all the vitals and directions after the fact.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby skipnchar on Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:20 am

I've thought about getting one but then DW reminds me that I seldom even use a map. I'll usually take a quick look at it before we start and after that, just "wing it". Often when we're traveling I don't have ANY IDEA where we're going, just taking the road that looks the most interesting :D It WOULD be helpful for those time we're actually going somewhere specific though. I'll probably eventually have to break down since I KNOW I can turn it off when I want to.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby Trawler on Sun Apr 13, 2008 12:27 pm

We use Microsoft Streets & Trips with a USB GPS my DW is Directional Challenged she loves to follow our trail and use its MS live features to find CGs, cheap fuel, sitesee, etc. also use the MS aerial map to look at campsites. I found bunch of add ins that show wal-marts, low overpasses, passport CGs, and just about anything you can think of. It has told me to turn where there was no road, showed me driving off road by miles, It has a "map may be wrong clause" that you agree to, now I know why. The laptop goes with us in the dingy in case I listen to DWs directions. Its nice to have a pull out desk.


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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby JQSpree on Sun Apr 13, 2008 1:07 pm

I am looking at them right now. Leaning towards the TomTom One widescreen as I don't need mp3, phone or a backscratcher. They advertise at $299-349, on sale for as low as $249. I have credits and can get for $200.

What I am wondering about is how do the low cost (under $400) update their maps? Is this a separate program or service you have to pay for? I don't mind a one time fee of $10 or so to get an update, but don't want one that you have to pay a monthly fee for map service. Any ideas?

May have to wait until we are both able to travel more often. I suspect the price will drop. Anyone know of any atlas for rv's and trucks that is ALSO large scale? I have AAA but sometimes the maps are hard to read.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby Benny on Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:41 pm

Like LA_Bolt_Fan, I also use a Garmin 60CSX. It's mainly a handheld GPS but you can load City Navigator and use it in your vehicle for auto routing. For that matter you can also load topographic and marine charts in it too. The downside of this GPS is the screen size and lack of voice commands. On the plus side is the ability to easily take it out of the car (and go for a hike) or put it into your boat. Works for me.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby graywolf67 on Sun Apr 13, 2008 3:57 pm

I have handheld garmin Legend HC-x it has color sreen pre-loaded with all the North American main routes which is useful looking for up coming gas and food along the route, but I mainly use it for geocaching. I found it at amozon which had awesome prices, good luck :)
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby skipnchar on Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:09 pm

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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby Limey on Sun Apr 13, 2008 10:45 pm

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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby Cobra909 on Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:04 pm

Been using SA 2007 for the last year and agree the laptop screen is easy to view. I used a piece of plywood to make a shelf that sits on top of the center seat and is held down by the center arm rest. Laptop sits on front part of this shelf and still have room to reach the cupholders.
But I just ordered (with DW's permission) a new Garmin Nuvi 760 for $349.00 + S&H last night...see it's 359 tonight http://www.86photovideo.com/products.as ... t_id=18353
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby ponyboy1995 on Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:23 pm

I use a ViaMichelin X-930 for work. We used it for the first time this weekend while camping. We loved it. Didn't have to worry about reading directions from mapquest or trying to navigate by map. Voice guided directions with early turn prompts are great when towing. We went out exploring and it was nice to be able to just turn it on and have it guide us back to the CG. If you take a wrong turn it just recalculates and redirects you. Can't beat it for $125.00 and it is made by Michelin.

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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Sun Apr 13, 2008 11:55 pm

I picked up a Garmin Nuvi 250 today. The jury is still out as for a recommend/don't recommend, but I'll follow up after having had a few days to check it out.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby Fire Instructor on Mon Apr 14, 2008 7:19 am

JQSpree wrote:What I am wondering about is how do the low cost (under $400) update their maps? Is this a separate program or service you have to pay for? I don't mind a one time fee of $10 or so to get an update, but don't want one that you have to pay a monthly fee for map service. Any ideas?


I use a Tom-Tom. It's an older model, withut some of the fancy blue-tooth features, but it works well for what I want. The only feature that it doesn't have, which when purchased it, I didn't know to look for, is routing based on vehicle height or truck routing. As for the cost of updating the maps, about a year Tom Tom sene me a update notice, and I believe it cost me abour $40 and they mailed me a CD. Software upgrades are downloas, and they have been free.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby csham on Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:48 pm

I had a Garmin Streetpilot 340 for about 3 years that recently died on me. I tried a TomTom XLS One for about a week and did not like it. In 5 trips to the office, once it lost signal and when signal returned, it never did put me back on the right street (about 15 minutes), another time it decided to take me a completely different route for the 2nd half of the trip. I bought a Garmin Nuvi 650 and compared them side by side on the windshield. While the TomTom calculated the initial route quicker, the Garmin was quicker to recalculate when I made an intentional wrong turn. Bth have their pros and cons.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby cwit on Mon Apr 14, 2008 4:45 pm

We have a Tom Tom 720 love this thing ,you don't ever want to think it is wrong because if you do you are wrong. If you do miss a turn it will get you back on track pronto. If you don't like Tommy's route make your own, my wife does it all the time. Tom will get you there the fastest route no tolls less miles or any other way. We are still learning all the features of this tool. :D :D
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby Frank Henn on Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:28 pm

We have a Magellan < We like it fine, It is pretty accurate , I do use it with camping guides. When we went to visit Janets son in Dallas, I used it to get to his apartment. For the first time we did not get lost. It was also good for getting us out of there . I think if some thing happened to this one I would get another
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby ParTimCmpr on Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:38 pm

I have a garmin driving gps, as well as a hand-held garmin. I still try to have maps since the garmin maps are not always accurate and up to date. I think most of the time it is better than nothing though. I do like knowing how far until the next turn. Makes the ride a little more relaxing.

Good luck!

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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby skipnchar on Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:05 pm

It seems to me that if they would do just ONE thing for me it would be worth the price. One of my pet peeves is when approaching Interstate highway intersections in urban settings. You KNOW the junction is coming up but there is often NOTHING to tell you if the ramp will be accessed by a left turn across traffic or a right turn and often with 3 or 4 lanes of traffic to maneuver you NEED this information well ahead of the actual turn. I seem to have a very poor record for guessing which lane I need to be in. It's that sort of thing that keeps me from playing the lottery :(
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:46 pm

skipnchar wrote:It seems to me that if they would do just ONE thing for me it would be worth the price. One of my pet peeves is when approaching Interstate highway intersections in urban settings. You KNOW the junction is coming up but there is often NOTHING to tell you if the ramp will be accessed by a left turn across traffic or a right turn and often with 3 or 4 lanes of traffic to maneuver you NEED this information well ahead of the actual turn. (


I found that if I leave the map in "2D" mode and then zoom out a little bit you can see the layout of the upcoming highway interchanges (including onramps/offramps) so you can get a bit of a mental picture ahead of time.

If I put the unit into 3D mode it actually provides less map info, and concentrates more on the "virtual road ahead" view that can be somewhat less use.

Also, on the Garmin I've noticed that it does say "keep left", or "keep right" when approaching critical direction oriented interchanges. I didn't note if it did the same at major highway interchanges with ramps on the left and right as I've not been in that situation yet.

For anyone interested in my review on the Nuvi 250, you can find it here:

http://www99.epinions.com/content_426195521156
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby Fire Instructor on Mon Apr 14, 2008 11:03 pm

skipnchar wrote:One of my pet peeves is when approaching Interstate highway intersections in urban settings. You KNOW the junction is coming up but there is often NOTHING to tell you if the ramp will be accessed by a left turn across traffic or a right turn and often with 3 or 4 lanes of traffic to maneuver you NEED this information well ahead of the actual turn.:(

My Tom-Tom says "Exit Ahead" if it's a standard right exit, or "Exit left ahead" if it's a left exit. The first warning on an interstate is 2.0 miles before the exit, so you usually have plenty of time to move either way.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby cwit on Tue Apr 15, 2008 7:50 am

WE use a TomTom 720 witch my wife says is her best friend. She has learned not to disagree with him as like me he is always right HA HA . Tommy as my wife calls him can be programed to the shortest, the fastest, no tolls, or any route you want. If you do mess up he will streighten you up and make you go the right route. He even lets you know what speed you are going, shows your route with the turns and all. Tom has made our trips much more friendly, with less stress. :D :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby wintek on Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:20 pm

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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby antiqfreq on Fri Apr 18, 2008 2:31 pm

We have an older model Garmin handheld unit that we use primarily for hiking and canoeing info.
We use a USB with our MS 2008 program on my Dell laptop which we carry along. Since HE drives,
I then navigate and YES I do love to use the cookies trail...........

Also sometimes it isn't perfect in its directions and it lets me have time to look ahead to see where
it is taking us.

We call her LOLA and LOLA isn't always accurate - but most of the time she is!

--we talk to her alot, what can I say? those long trips get a little boring and who wants to talk to
the driver (aka grumpy after 4 hrs or more at the wheel) anyway??--

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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby mountainman on Fri Apr 18, 2008 7:05 pm

Life is a Journey and only you hold the map!
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby skipnchar on Fri Apr 18, 2008 7:55 pm

Thanks for the link. My current cell phone is blue tooth enabled and I currently use it to connect to my lap top computer for internet service while traveling. I'll look into the 260.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby catmom on Sat Apr 19, 2008 4:32 pm

DH loves our GPS - he has a blast using it. As he's the navigator 99% of the time, that works out real well. :) We have a 376 CSX, a marine model. I have no idea why he chose that particular one, but he seems to like it.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby JQSpree on Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:24 pm

Well, I now own a Garmin C530 Street Pilot. The kids gave it to me for retirement. They had already bought it a while back and were afraid I was going to go down and buy one myself.

Have only used it 3 or 4 times, seems to be ok. As Firefighter said on his, I don't think this one has large vehicle routing but I will sure check. As I was leaving my house to take trailer back to storage yard, my new unnamed girlfriend (jo, it will not be Lola since my son named theres that in deference to Robin Williams!) wanted me to take a different route that would have required a u-turn with the trailer, which wasn't cool! So I just went my way around the block and toward the same main drag and it found me again and lead me the rest of the way. Seems to work fine when you know where you are going! I'm still going to get the Good Sam or truck atlas with big rig routing and warnings.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby JQSpree on Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:26 pm

Well, I now own a Garmin C530 Street Pilot. The kids gave it to me for retirement. They had already bought it a while back and were afraid I was going to go down and buy one myself.

Have only used it 3 or 4 times, seems to be ok. As Firefighter said on his, I don't think this one has large vehicle routing but I will sure check. As I was leaving my house to take trailer back to storage yard, my new unnamed girlfriend (jo, it will not be Lola since my son named theres that in deference to Robin Williams!) wanted me to take a different route that would have required a u-turn with the trailer, which wasn't cool! So I just went my way around the block and toward the same main drag and it found me again and lead me the rest of the way. Seems to work fine when you know where you are going! I'm still going to get the Good Sam or truck atlas with big rig routing and warnings.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby mikhen on Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:10 pm

Just got a Tom Tom One. Seems to be great for me. Played around with it a little, and the directions seem to be fine. I don't like the way it routes some of the trips, and changing them seems to be a pain, but it may just me being new at it.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby mountainman on Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:23 pm

This is the site that I use for most of my GPS equipment and i have had good success with their customer service.

http://www.gpscity.com/automotive-gps
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby LA_Bolt_Fan on Mon Apr 21, 2008 11:47 pm

mikhen wrote:Just got a Tom Tom One. Seems to be great for me. Played around with it a little, and the directions seem to be fine. I don't like the way it routes some of the trips, and changing them seems to be a pain, but it may just me being new at it.


No, It's not you being new, it's just the way they work. Sometimes you need to add a waypoint to get the route you like, but maybe, since the technology is so new, they will be easier in the future! :D

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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby PrivatePilot on Tue Apr 22, 2008 7:27 am

LA_Bolt_Fan wrote:Sometimes you need to add a waypoint to get the route you like, !


This is exactly what I've found I've had to do on several occasions now. A bit of a PITA, but it does solve the problem.
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby Camping Hoosiers on Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:46 am

I bought a Garmin Nuvi 350 last summer and figured it would be a neat toy but didnt really think I would use it much. Now that I have it I consider it a "must have".

Its very good with directions, but also just seeing what kind of facilities are coming up. Fuel stops, diners, etc. ALSO when I come up on a crash on a highway and its backed up for miles. I just get off the next exit and let the GPS route me. Works great!

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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby chevman on Tue Apr 22, 2008 9:38 pm

We have a Garmin IQ3600 and a newer model Garmin 7220. Both are out dated but are great.chevman :D :D :D
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby va_jay55 on Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:48 pm

I use Micro$oft Streets and Trips 2007, print out the maps and directions. Use it to calculate gas mileage and cost. Plan stops during the trip. Hook up the USB GPS antenna to the laptop and follow the progress. Then I always stop and ask directions anyway. LOL

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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby JQSpree on Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:26 pm

Once you post your destination address, is there anyway to preview the route it has chosen? Or is this a high end feature?
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Re: Do you use a GPS?

Unread postby Limey on Thu Apr 24, 2008 7:42 pm

JQSpree wrote:Once you post your destination address, is there anyway to preview the route it has chosen? Or is this a high end feature?


Mine has that feature and it is a low end Lowrance iWay 250c. I can touch the screen and zoom out to see the whole route, and/or I can move the map dsiplay to look over the route. Use it a lot! :)
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