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Old 10-02-2013, 04:31 PM   #1
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Default Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

On another thread about GPS stuff, I made a comment that when I am on my way somewhere (not just exploring), I really don't like surprises or trying to figure out where we are, or which way to go. That is why I like to be able to preplan our routes, on the roads we want, and then have the GPS follow them. I can then drive, and enjoy the scenery, and not have to do anything else. We don't put fixed amounts of miles, or anything like that, only the route, stopping however many times we want going only until we decide to make it a day. Mike mentioned that they tend to punch in the destination and go however the GPS route takes them, looking at it as more of an adventure with the surprises of new places. As an over organized engineer for many years, I do tend to like things locked down more than many folks, so we may be the exception, but it would be interesting to see how others look at the whole thing.

As a sidebar. I have been learning the Garmin 2797LMT and the Basecamp software, and it looks like it will do essentially everything that we want it to do. Routes are easy to customize, it will ignore missed via points that shape the route, etc. One thing I was a bit concerned about was that we would always put in a bunch of pushpins on Streets and Trips for any place we might want to go along our anticipated route, and around our destination. We could then just pull them up from the memory without having to locate them and hit go from wherever we were. Very handy when you are out and around an area. With the Basecamp you can just make waypoints and transfer them to the GPS (they are much easier to find on the computer than on the GPS), so you don't need to have the computer on, which I feared we might need to do. A couple of clicks on the GPS and you can chose any of them, which even transfer within a named folder (I did Custer trip 2014) as a test, so they are very easy to find and all together.

How do you all do it?
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Old 10-02-2013, 05:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

Yes, we tend to do the ad hoc thing more often than not. Doesn't always produce optimum results, but we've only been "lead astray" once or twice since we bought the Garmin in 2010.

I purchased Lifetime Maps in January 2012 after realizing our original "one time" map update was getting more flawed as time passed, and that was a wise move. We still find map idiosyncrasies now and then, that Navteq hasn't resolved yet, but it's never been a show stopper. If I were to purchase another nuvi (I'm thinking about an upgrade) it will probably have voice recognition, a larger screen, and Lifetime Maps as well as the traffic feature. Have you tried it yet? Did the 2797LMT come with the traffic antenna doo-dad? Or are they now self-contained in the nuvi?

One thing that used to happen just after we got the nuvi, is the unexpected "freeze" in mid route. You have to pay attention, or you can literally drive miles out of your way, until you realize your nuvi isn't guiding you any more. That situation was greatly improved after checking for and installing any software updates from the Garmin "My Dashboard" feature on their website. You need to set up a free Garmin account to use this function. It's pretty straight forward once you get it set up.

Another thing that happens sometimes, is the mid route unexpected reboot, probably because the memory fills up, and the reboot flushes it. It usually doesn't cause any problems, and picks up the running route program where it left off, and just continues. It's only problematic, if it happens during a course update/correction. You'll probably hear the "recalculating" voice, while it tries to figure out where you are after the reboot, and how to get you back on your route.

As far as our preferred method of travel, I either add individual Waypoints to the Favorites folder, or comprehensive POI files to the nuvi before we head out, with some of the odds and ends that we might like to visit or see along the way. Beyond that, I usually pick a daily destination, and add some must see Via Points along the way, and hit GO. I might also toggle between faster time and shorter distance in the Navigation controls, and sometimes I'll also toggle the individual Avoidances on/off, depending on what we might not want to deal with along the route. It's a good way to get you off the interstates and onto the rural routes when we feel like slowing the pace a little. Just remember which ones you changed, because the avoidances can dramatically change the way the software builds the route. If I fiddle with the basic navigation settings, and the route is "recalculated" on the fly, I always touch the top green margin of the "View Map" display, and then touch the "Show Map" tab on the turn by turn text directions page to see exactly where the route has been modified. Sometimes they get pretty weird, and it's better to reverse whatever you changed, as the route might be significantly different than what you expected.

So, it's we pick the destination, and let "Jack" pick the route, and see where we end up. "Jack" was the first nuvi voice personality we used for spoken directions, because it was the easiest "cyber-voice" to understand, and the nickname stuck.
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Old 10-02-2013, 07:25 PM   #3
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Default Re: Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

Being new to the Rv world, I don't have much to add to the post but have a few questions about navigation. We bought our class B with moving to the east coast next spring in mind. Our starting point here in Alaska to Washington state will not be a problem as I have made 19 round trips on the alcan, WA to the east coast, 0 trips. Our plan is to see as many different MLB games as we can within about a 2 month period, this is where nav help is needed. Since we don't own smartphones or gps devices we are thinking about a tablet device and using Google maps for our trip, that way we can mount it on our dash and I might be able to see it while driving and not using my reading glasses while driving. I don't think even a large screen gps will allow me to see it without glasses. As far as other sights to see besides baseball stadiums, our plan is research what we would like to see in that area of the state and "look-up" ways to get there. We are not set in stone with this way of travel so if there are different or other ideas I would like to hear all options. But also keep in mind that the electronics world is still pretty much out there for us! It is going to be a long winter!
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Old 10-02-2013, 08:08 PM   #4
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Default Re: Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by AK49er
Being new to the Rv world, I don't have much to add to the post but have a few questions about navigation. We bought our class B with moving to the east coast next spring in mind. Our starting point here in Alaska to Washington state will not be a problem as I have made 19 round trips on the alcan, WA to the east coast, 0 trips. Our plan is to see as many different MLB games as we can within about a 2 month period, this is where nav help is needed. Since we don't own smartphones or gps devices we are thinking about a tablet device and using Google maps for our trip, that way we can mount it on our dash and I might be able to see it while driving and not using my reading glasses while driving. I don't think even a large screen gps will allow me to see it without glasses. As far as other sights to see besides baseball stadiums, our plan is research what we would like to see in that area of the state and "look-up" ways to get there. We are not set in stone with this way of travel so if there are different or other ideas I would like to hear all options. But also keep in mind that the electronics world is still pretty much out there for us! It is going to be a long winter!
Here's a link to a past thread on here that discussed tablets pros/cons by those that have them.
viewtopic.php?f=42&t=1979&hilit=toshiba+tablet
Seems many of them have GPS capability built in, all you need are the "apps" that make it work.
It may help you decide.
booster's Garmin is 7" I believe, which is almost as big as some tablet computer displays. I'm thinking the tablet might be more functional in a general sense than a standalone GPS unit. The issue, as you point out, is how/where to mount it, so it's visible to you while driving, and can it "speak" the course corrections to you audibly, or will you have to actually take your eyes off the road to see where to turn and so on? That might not be an ideal situation. I would imagine tablets have microphone/speaker systems, so if you can find an app that speaks the directions to you, and you can hear it while driving, and/or be able to glance at it quickly to clarify, a tablet would probably work fine.
If you happen upon a really great tablet solution, let me know. I think I may have to upgrade my Garmin soon.
It's been an obsolete model for well over a year now, like so many other electronic devices these days, and I'm not sure if Garmin will continue to correct software issues with it any more. I also have had some issues backing up the "brains" on occasion and have had to run disk checks and corrective programs on it to clean up minor errors in the file system to get "clean" backups.
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Old 10-02-2013, 09:50 PM   #5
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Default Re: Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

The most annoying thing about some GPS units is that they are complete pains to update. I can try to spend cash to have the maps updated on my GPS receiver, or just get a suction cup mount for my smartphone and use an app from Apple, AT&T, Google, Ford, or Tomtom. The AT&T app has 1575 megs of maps for offline use that are updated constantly.

This isn't a perfect solution, but so far, it has worked fairly well.
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Old 10-03-2013, 03:27 AM   #6
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Default Re: Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

Seems like over the past 30 years I have used almost every technology there was to find my way around. I remember having a Loran C with an 8' antenna on one of my vans. That was a predecessor to the GPS that pilots used. Sorry, just reminiscing and laughing a little. I now use a 10" tablet with Google maps backed up by a smart phone. On our travels I have found that the tablet linked to the WIFI hotspot on my phone is perfect for us. Sounds a little techy but a very easy setup to use. The hotspot only adds $15 to my bill. The Google maps will let you save maps to your account on the desktop computer and then you can access them from anywhere. It will also save places, routes,and do almost anything else. It also has voice input and output for directions. There can be some glitches but nothing big. You can cache maps if you might be out of coverage area. I made a mount for the face of the dash so it does not block my vision. I will get a pic.

Like I said it sounds like a lot but I have shown this to others and they were surprised how easy it really is. And other than the cell phone bill, it is free. The only down side is we do many spontaneous trips and a few of those "Road Closed 1 Mile Ahead" signs have jumped up and bit us. But that is part of the fun in exploring.

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I also use this to keep track of work emails/employees so I don't have to worry so much and can enjoy the trips.
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:12 AM   #7
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Default Re: Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

From what I understand you can buy a tablet that uses cellular instead of Wi-Fi, is this true? This way we would not have to have a smartphone to deal with. I have yet to research mounting systems , our vans dash/engine cover looks to be a MacGyver type area, but who knows yet.
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Old 10-03-2013, 12:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

Often I do no thinking at all and just run a SatNav on the iPhone! (very sad I know.) I was a courier driver 20 years ago though and I don't miss fussing with the maps constantly!

The apps are available for most type of smart phones and tablets; some are expensive offering live traffic updates and latest live maps, while some are a buck or two or just free. All update easily. My preferred app at the moment is Waze. It's not the best for mapping accuracy but it's unique in that it uses "crowd sourcing". For long stretches on the highway other users let you know when there's a hazard on the road, slow traffic, or a cop ahead. It's also easy to report a problem with a couple of taps. Meanwhile can also see all the other users around you, even 'beep' them or send a message. I don't use those functions but I do get the sensation when traveling alone that I'm not alone! I imagine it's a bit like CB radio. (Waze was bought by Google this year.) Often too when I'm heading home in weekend traffic I'll change the route settings to avoid the busy highways and it's taken routes through some lovely places off the beaten track.

Another app I use is called NavFree which stores individual state maps on the phone itself. Again, not the greatest, but what's useful is it does not require a data connection so if you lose cell service you can still map and it will auto-reroute. GPS works on these devices without cell service.

Waze allows you to choose between three routes, and add a single stop. Some apps allows multiple stops and will even create the most efficient route for multiple destinations. Many have specific driving, walking or cycling routing with options for shortest for fastest. Meanwhile I use NavFree often when biking as it allows you to change the map by tapping a location along the way. What I'll do is have it create a route from A to B and then look where I want to stop in between and basically map to that location instead.

It is really endless; I've probably tried 20 Sat Nav apps for driving and numerous others for cycling. You can even get directions in google maps, drag around the map to create the exact route you want, convert that into a gpx file (gpsvisualizer.com) and upload that to your phone to various tracking apps. I use this for creating quiet scenic cycling routes all the time. As great as it is though I haven't found a map that will re-route back on to the custom route if you veer off.
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:38 AM   #9
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Default Re: Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

I used to plan the trip and make reservations at campgrounds.
The last few trips have been no reservations and no plan for even what city or town to stay in. I like this new (to me) way. That's probably Mike's influence
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Old 10-07-2013, 01:51 AM   #10
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Default Re: Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
I used to plan the trip and make reservations at campgrounds.
The last few trips have been no reservations and no plan for even what city or town to stay in. I like this new (to me) way. That's probably Mike's influence
So, you're traveling more like your namesake, now?
Mea culpa.
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Old 10-07-2013, 03:59 AM   #11
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Default Re: Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by markopolo
I used to plan the trip and make reservations at campgrounds.
The last few trips have been no reservations and no plan for even what city or town to stay in. I like this new (to me) way. That's probably Mike's influence
I hate campground reservations. We only make them for the rallies and socials we go to. Other than that, you get up in the morning, figure out how far you might want to drive that day and aim. We went to Alaska and back 10,500 miles worth without a single reservation and only a plan to drive the Alaska Highway. Even there when we side tripped down to Skagway and realized that once a week and coincidentally fit our schedule that there was a ferry to Haines did we immediately change our plans and board it. On the way back we made a side trip to Chicken, Alaska and realized that driving on some gravel roads was not all that bad so kept going on to Dawson City, Yukon on the On Top of the World Highway. When we got to Seward and found a camping spot right on the bay we stayed an extra three days because it was so nice. On our way home, the weather was so fantastic in Glacier National Park we ended up staying a week. That's just how it goes. We even got to the edge of the gravel road to Prudhoe Bay and saw 400 miles ahead did we say, "Nah" and turned around. Our only guide was The Milepost an essential publication and talking to others in campgrounds.

Last spring we put over 6,000 miles just in Texas scouring the state without a plan other than 4 days at a B social in South Padre Island.

We had "fun" coming home last week. We were in Bryce Canyon NP the day before the government shut it down. That completely changed our plans because national parks and forests were out. We drove to the Blackhills without a plan and ended up staying there a day instead of a four days we thought we might this time. Fortunately, we left after a day and that was the day before they got 3-1/2 feet of snow.

Even though we stay in some places longer we still take it one day at a time and fill out the envelopes each day. In that trip home from Bryce we waylaid to some state parks in Utah and Wyoming we probably would have never given second thought to if the national forests were open and they were quite nice.

If we really want to stop some place like the hard to get into Natural Bridges National Monument 13 site campground we just plan to get there right after the checkout time. The fallback is simply some nearby BLM land. We use a lot of different apps to find and pick campgrounds as we go. Now with 120,000 miles under our belt we seem to have a lot of familiarity with places and it is less of an unknown.
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Old 10-07-2013, 04:01 PM   #12
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Default Re: Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

Much like Davydd, we just sort of wing it as we go. Marti has become very adept at looking at maps, noting the towns we'll (probably) be going somewhat near, and then checking the AAA travel books for points of interest. We then modify our travels to detour to covered bridges, waterfalls, museums, etc. that fit our fancy. Sometimes in the afternoon, Marti might call ahead to get a campground reservation for that evening, and sometimes we just camp at Walmart, a rest area, or even along the road (if permitted). Overall we have a vague idea of places we want to head towards, but it isn't fixed and "there ain't no schedule".

Dick, Marti, & Glen Allegany NY RT09/10C190P "no more deadlines" (but anxious to get back on the road next month: it's been quite awhile)
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Old 10-07-2013, 04:52 PM   #13
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Default Re: Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dicktill
Much like Davydd, we just sort of wing it as we go. Marti has become very adept at looking at maps, noting the towns we'll (probably) be going somewhat near, and then checking the AAA travel books for points of interest. We then modify our travels to detour to covered bridges, waterfalls, museums, etc. that fit our fancy. Sometimes in the afternoon, Marti might call ahead to get a campground reservation for that evening, and sometimes we just camp at Walmart, a rest area, or even along the road (if permitted). Overall we have a vague idea of places we want to head towards, but it isn't fixed and "there ain't no schedule".

Dick, Marti, & Glen Allegany NY RT09/10C190P "no more deadlines" (but anxious to get back on the road next month: it's been quite awhile)
"We then modify our travels to detour to covered bridges, waterfalls, museums, etc. that fit our fancy. "
I have POI files in the GPS unit for all three of those things, and we will detour to them, depending on how things are going, and time of day, and any other prior plan (or lack of plan).
Botanical gardens, off beat tourist attractions, outlet malls, and brew pubs, are also included in our alert files. We don't stop at everything, but it's nice to know when you're approaching something that might be interesting, or sometimes surprisingly worthwhile.
Do you ever get up the road to Ellicottville, NY? I haven't been in a while, but that area was always a favorite of mine years ago, summer or winter.
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Old 10-07-2013, 07:22 PM   #14
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Default Re: Traveling style-how much do you plan ahead?

Hi Mike,

Ellicottville (or E'ville) is just 20 miles and a fraction from our house, and yes it is very nice. But it is touristy too, and therefore expen$ive. Foliage is beautiful all around our area right now. When I'm in the mood for a longer than my usual* 20-25 mile bike trip, I often round trip to there. (*usual = what I do when not so damn busy on remodeling our house ...)

Regards, Dick
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