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GPS for a newbie RVer

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My wife and I purchased our first RV early this month, a 2006 35E Bounder. We are concerned that our Garmin c340 wil take us places where our RV can't travel. We don't want to be banging the roof or stuck in areas we can't manuever in. Any advice from experience on what to purchase? I see Garmin has come out with a new unit designed supposedly for RVs and trucks.

Thanks.

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I have a Garmin eTrex, not an in-dash installation but it allows me to select my preferences for routing. I program it for "bus" when I want the main highways and specify fastest route. Between those two it usually stays with the main roads.

When I am adventuresome, I'll select car and shortest route and then the roads get more interesting, sometimes too much so!

My co-pilot/navigator keeps a trusty Rand McNally Truckers Atlas (Flying J has several versions) on her lap and we discuss what the GPS is planning and she gives me "suggestions" as to improving the route. I've learned to listen to her "suggestions" so I don't have to look at her smug "I told you so" smile!

It takes a while to learn how any GPS works best. Until you feel confident with yours, keep a good road atlas handy and use it as a means of modifying any route you don't feel confident about.

The thing I like most about the GPS is that it gives me a way of finding places I wouldn't know how to locate without stopping for directions and we all know about the male aversion to doing that! I also enjoy being able to know how far it is to the next turn and the total distance to our destination. I use it even when I know the route well, just to give me an idea of how we are progressing and when we may arrive.

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Guest 2driftrs

Welcome to the wonderful world of RV'ing!

You ask a simple question with a very complicated answer. It really depends on what kind of RV'er you're going to be, and by that I mean are you into the back roads or more a highway person? Like Tom Butler does, we also carry the truckers atlas (called Motor Carriers' Road Atlas). Our son is a tractor-trailer driver, so we get our atlas for free, although it's always last years version. He uses a plain old Garmin nuvi 750, NOT truck or RV specific, and the MC Atlas.

The biggest problem you'll run into is fueling locations. Flying J caters to RV's and has RV fueling lanes. Truck stops are great if you've got diesel, but most can't take a big RV gas rig. Pilot, for example, has very short lanes for cars, and no gas lanes for RV's. The Garmin points of interest feature (Where To, Points of Interest, Auto Services, Truck Stop) can be a big help. A CB radio is even better, because you can always catch another RV'er on the highway or a truck driver that can help you locate a good fuel stop. We do lots of back road stuff, so we've gotten real good at watching for stations that can take our 33 foot rig and dinghy - - just look for stations whoose fuel lanes are parallel to the building, not perpendicular.

Janet and I use a Garmin nuvi 780 with the suction cup mount that lets us take it in the RV or the car, and mount it passenger side or driver side as we choose. In dash mount is pretty to look at, but just doesn't cut it for both the passenger or driver to use conveniently, or taking it with you in the car or when hiking. We also run Microsoft Streets and Trips and DeLorme Street Atlas USA on the laptop.

In case you're interested, most truckers who have to venture far from the main drag use a program called PCMiler or CoPilot Truck.

Enjoy!

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Guest Wayne77590

I have a TomTom 720 but it does not give low bridges so I will typically look at a map (I use Microsoft Street & Trips) for planning my next day's route. MS S&T has allowed me to load a POI (Point of Interest) that has the low clearances. If I'm sure of my route i will go to the American Independent Truckers Association web site and look at their low bridge clearances. It is the most up-to-date.

I always breathe a sigh of relief when I'm traveling on a side road and see an 18 wheeler coming from the opposite direction. Their height, with box, is 13' 6", and I'm only 12' 4".

One thing about GPS is that they do not always know when a road is not connected and you can get yourself into some situations that you do not want to be in. My previous trip in NY the GPS had me make a turn and at the next cross street the forward direction it wanted me to go had a sign stating, "Dead End." I flagged a motorist from the opposite direction and he told me how to get out and where the turn should be. All in all, GPS WILL get you there, but sometimes you have to make the decision as to which way you want to go and let the GPS catch up, or ask it for an alternative route.

TomTom does not have a bus or truck routing capability, at least mine does not. If i were to purchase another GPS I would opt for one that does have that feature after reading reviews or talkiing to someone who has used the feature. A friend of a friend ripped the top of his 5er off on a Connecticut road last year. A road he should not have been on to begin with. I don't wish that on anyone.

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Garmin just came out with model 465t, ment for the trucking industry. Works for big RV's as well. $499.00 MSRP. You can put in your RV's deminsions and weight etc. as well as type of fuel and your preferances and it routes you accordingly.

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We have a Tom Tom and we love it. If I could not buy another one, I would not take a grand for this one.

Here are a couple ''situations'' you can get into using GPS.

New roads........... Sometimes there is ''road construction'' and major changes in our interstate road system

that is not even on your maps much less updated on your GPS unit. We have had occasion to where our

Tom Tom said ''turn right'' and there was no road there. We have had situations where we were on

''new construction'' and our Tom Tom showed us in the middle of a green field. Update you GPS. often

and keep a good ''hard copy'' map handy for emergencies.

Back roads ....... Some of these are not ''exactly right'' but that is the fun of rv,ing.....

Once our Tom Tom screamed.....'' YOU ARE FREEKIN'

LOST AND I GOT NO FREEKIN' IDEA WHERE YOU ARE AND I DONT CARE''......... then it turned its self off and

would not restart for ten minutes.....

the greatest advantage you have in a GPS. is that you can set your present campground as HOME and then

drive all over ''heck'' and when you want to go back to your campground, just set your GPS for HOME and it

will take you right back to your campground....... Very handy in San Fran or New Orleans, or New York, and

other Big cities that you can get lost in.....

Word to the wise. by law all overpass bridges must be at least 13 feet from the road bed to the bridge truss.

You may on occasion find in some small towns an old railroad tressel that is lower than 12 feet because it

was built when Heck was a pup and there were four million buffalo roaming the west. There is one in Greensboro, Nc

and another one in a small town up in ''SOMEWHERE'' USA but i cant remember where right now. These are usually well marked in advance with ''LAST WARNING'' signs.......

I find the biggest problem

I encounter on back roads is low tree branches hanging over the road.

If you use this advise you will have to pay me ten cents and I will collect the next time I see you.....

Seajay the sailor man

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Guest 2driftrs

Wayne's comment about a GPS sometimes not knowing what's going on is very, sadly true. They sometimes don't know where roads end and even more often don't know where there are roads. We update our Garmin every year, but it seems like the maps are always 2 to 3 years old! I spent 2 weeks last year riding with my son the big rig driver. We covered 5500 miles in 12 days and passed through 17 states. His Garmin on 2 occasions showed us driving through a corn field in Indiana, once going for a swim in some river in Kentucky, I think, and several times told us to turn on a road that didn't exist where the GPS showed it to be. When you're going down the highway on 18 wheels and 80,000 pounds, you can really get in trouble if you believe the GPS and not your own instincts.

We found a solution, though, if you have Internet access. If we're not sure about a certain area, we'll go to Yahoo maps and pull up a satellite view. What we've learned is that the satellite views are far more recent than the GPS maps. We've found new shopping centers, subdivisions and major roads that show up in the satellite view but not the GPS.

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One final word about GPS.

You can depend on them being right over 98 percent of the time and the other five percent you really should

go with your 'gut' feeling and not turn into a river or a corn field because you are going to mess your coach.

Another advantage to having a GPS is things that you can ''set'' your gps to notify you when your are

close to them. This is very handy in a new city or location and you are looking for a casino or a ferry.

My Tom Tom has this feature and we set it on ''campgrounds'' within one mile of our route and it ''honks'' when

we get within one mile of a campground. You can touch the screen and tell it to ''find'' the campground and

it will direct you to the campground. It does not locate state or federal campgrounds and I feel this is a flaw

in the system but I guess the commercial camp grounds kick in a buck to get their name on the poster.

Anyhow, the GPS is one of the greatest things I have seen concerning what it will do for such a little bit of

cost. I would suggest you do like me and buy a cheap one to start with. If you like it and want more features

go the downs and spend the bucks on one with all the bells and whistles you can afford.

Enjoy your camper. Go see Gods creations and find the beautiful world he has created for us to enjoy on our

own terms and our own time. Dont be afraid to ''SAY HELLO'' to your fellow campers. They are the greatest

people in the world.

this advise is free.........

Seajay the sailor man

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We returned a few days ago from a trip to San Antonio from our home near Charlotte, NC, using our current Garmin Nuvi. It made one error which was quickly put correct by calling the campground that we were headed to and they pointed us in the right direction. In well over 2K miles, that was the only error of note. Yes, there are times when the GPS isn't accurate, but using a cell phone or a map are great aids to navigation (I'm not the navigator).

About 2 hours ago our new Garmin Nuvi 465T was delivered, and is presently being set up by my wife. She is entering all of the info regarding weight, length (with our toad), and height. I really believe this will be an asset if we are in an area where there are low bridges, or roads that are restricted to trucks, such as some in the NY and northeast areas. When not used in our class C, we'll use it in our car, an "09 Honda CR-V which we use as our toad.

The bottom line for me is that I'll continue using a GPS, and look forward to the advances in this "truck friendly" one by Garmin.

Doc Mike

(former HM1/USN)

07 Itasca Spirit

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OK, another sailor here-- as in SAILBOAT, not NAVY.

Been sailing since the 1960's.

Our favorite sailboat: Pacific Seacraft Crealock 37'.

Current boat: 2004 Catalina 350.

Miles sailed 25,000 Plus.

Brett Wofle

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The new GPS is set up and ready to go. Love the Bluetooth feature, as well as other "truck" features built in. If interested parties gpo to the Garmin site they'll find more info available. Also like the "traffic" feature. We'll know more after our next trip[ to the northeast next month.

Doc Mike

2007 Itasca Spirit

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GPS units are great, however, there is nothing like having the right set of paper maps to plan a route. I agree with others having a Rand McNally large scale motor carriers road atlas is very important as it lists heights of bridges and overpasses so you do not take a route that will make your MH a convertable. I just bought a Magellan RoadMate 1470 which I like as it has a larger screen than most. I do wish they would come out with a GPS unit like boat chart plotters which have a real map with you position overlayed on the real map but I have yet to see one. The beauty of GPS systems is you most always know exactly where you are at and you can always reference a road map to make sure the GPS unit is giving you the best route to you destination. Just remember they are not flawless. The best way to check out the GPS units is to go to a store that has a good display where you can check out each unit and see how you like its map presentations and if is user friendly or not. Good Luck and Happy RVing!

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Since we always travel in out RV with a small laptop computer we have used DeLorme's Street Atlas and Topo proigrams for many years and have been extremely satisfied with their accuracy and convienence. Work great for planning out our route ahead of time and following it in real time as we travel, also lets us keep an archive of all our travels including stops, and even campground site info in case we want to go back to a favorite site.

We usually upgrade every other year and find the roads are usually pretty well up to date. Fortunately you can also add roads yourself if it does need some local update. You can input driving habit such as speed, time between rest stops, type of road to travel, etc. and it will suggest possible rest stops and time/distance to get gas. It also hasa the usual several million POI's.

Highly recommended

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Hi guys,

I'm a sailor too. (sailboats) I purchased a Garmin Nuvi 260. I thought the size of screen was important but have learned I usually just listen to the voice telling me where and when to turn. I use the screen the night before in my planning along with an Atlas and other planning devises. I normally will choose three destinations when I am trying to make time so I have alternatives in the event I want to stop early or later in the day. The navigator helps me find fuel, places to eat and even RV centers if I know the name. After 8000 miles with the unit, I've only been confused once and then I re-entered the address and the second time it took me the three blocks it hadn't been able to figure out the first time.

The maps are only as good as the information the time the unit is purchased so make certain the unit you buy can be up-dated. My daughter bought a Tom tom and constantly borrows my Garmin because she thinks it routs her better when she is hauling with the big horse trailer. I'd like to try out the new 465T but for my money the 260 was a steal at Costco for $149.00 a little over 2 years ago. Doesn't have traffic but I have a radio and once I detour, it always catches up to keep me current. Best invention ever!

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I am a fanatic about functionality and safety. I purchased my system from RVnavigation.com. This system is designed for the MotorCoach industry. It combines several features into one state of the art 7" color LCD screen. It is powered by Garmin's Street Pilot series which "does" allow for the "bus" feature to be set as parameters, thus rerouting to roads that are designed for larger rigs. I have travelled over 10k miles and thru 16 states since purchasing and the Garmin has not let me down yet. The system also has a state of the art Tire Pressure Monitoring system that not only monitors my coach tires, but the TOAD as well. You can see all of the tire pressures on one screen. Plus it will alarm you when any of them go out of range. This happened on a recent trip up I-95 to Daytona. We had a trailer tire go down and were able to pull over "before" any damage to the tire had even occurred. The end result was a new valve stem and we were back in action for only a few bucks and a shot of air. Without the system I could have destroyed the tire, damaged the trailer hub, possible damage to trailer and the contents of the trailer to boot! The system also has a Sony triple camera observation system, with audio. The unit comes with a top of the line radio with Sirius Satellite, iPod jack, CD and a USB port. Yes we can hold more on a memory stick today than all of those CD's in your 10 disc changer you have hidden in a cabinet somewhere. The system even monitors vital statistics on the engine and transmission, i.e. temp and fluid levels. I know my Freightliner info center does some of this as well, but not with the ease and functionality of this unit. Plus my system will alert me on these items if they go out of range. Have I said enough? Is it inexpensive? Well if you add up all of the components, YES it does cost less than buying all of them individually if you want quality gear. However one HUGE advantage, mine are all in one attractive display. No clutter hanging on my dash and the head unit install in the same hole that my factory B/W back-up monitor came out of. No holes to cut whatsoever. Good Luck on finding your unit of choice. I already found mine! :rolleyes:

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I want to second what someone else said about the Garmin 465T. While it is not ideal (I guess "ideal" will have to wait for heaven :-)), it is, IMHO, the best thing going out there. I have used it on several trips. It gives you warning about low clearances (bridges, not tree limbs, so keep your eyes out) based on the height you specify. My SeeYa is actually 12'6" high, but I want a little comfort margin, so I defined it at 13'0" high. Warnings will be based on that. Also warnings about weight. On some of the back roads to campgrounds, you might come across a bridge that is not rated for the weight of your Bounder. I do agree with the others you emphasized the importance of doing your research with paper trucker's atlasses and on the internet (many state DOT web sites give useful info about bridges, low clearance (meaning anything below the ICC standard of 13' 6"). Still, I love knowing my 465T will give me a warning in case in have a brain dump. Much like when I was flying - I used my primary nav instruments to keep the dirty side down and the nose pointed where I wanted, but I used my GPS to give me "situational awareness" the needles and dials just couldn't match.

Wayne

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Garmin does NOT have one made for motorhomes. I spoke with them and also Tom Tom, Cobra and another company. No one makes one with height restrictions and/or propane/weight. This was like Feb 2009. I would advise getting one with advance lane change. I had one that wasn'r and returned it, as its to hard to change lanes with a 36 ft and toeing a car.

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I use CoPilot Live 11 for laptop and love it . This way we have the big screen view. Since we already had the laptop we only had to load the disc and plug in the GPS. This is by ALK Technologies. We have the option of car or RV travel

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Garmin does NOT have one made for motorhomes. I spoke with them and also Tom Tom, Cobra and another company. No one makes one with height restrictions and/or propane/weight. This was like Feb 2009. I would advise getting one with advance lane change. I had one that wasn'r and returned it, as its to hard to change lanes with a 36 ft and toeing a car.

While this may technically correct, the just released Garmin 465T, which is made for trucks, does have height restrictions, weight restrictions, length restrictions and, if you configure it for carrying flammable liquids, it will keep you out of tunnels and other locations where propane may not be allowed.

https://buy.garmin.com/shop/shop.do?pID=31541

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My wife & I have been fulltiming for over 6 years and have always used DeLorne Streets Atlas. In '03 we were plotting a route to Prince Edward Island from Cape Cod and found this version did not cover Canada. I then plotted out route with Microsofts Streets & Trips without GPS. Everything worked the rest of our trip to the West coast, Northern route, back to Florida via California.

I only update with a newer version when we take a long trip. Up the East coast to Newfoundland it worked great except for the computer screen showed us driving out in the water when close to shoreline. This wasn't really bothersome since we knew we weren't in the water.

Our next trip was to Alaska in '06, DeLorme never failed us. I would always check the route with MS Streets & Trips to make sure I liked the route. All roads in Canada and Alaska were shown on our computer screen.

I have installed DeLormes latest version, 2009, and it's working great on our present trip to FMCA rallies East of the Mississippi. From the FMCA Convention in Bowling Green, we'll be headed to Pine Cone Rd. in Picture Rock, PA. I don't know of another GPS system that could find this.

Good luck

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I have run co -pilot and stopped with 11. I dont like whaqt it has become. Co-Pilot also tried to take me accros a bridge that would not support the weight of the motor home. If you depart from the route it selets, It nags you incessently.. I tried microsoft streets and didnt like that at all.

I have a Garmin Nuvi 5000 that the wife loves. 5.2" display. It has one drawback, if your 12 volt outlet goes off with the ignition you have to reenter the destinationor or store it in favorites first. I also have the same program running on my tablet PC so we both can looke at same thing when the other is driving. It recalculates almost instantaneously and doesnt nag you to death.

If you want a built in unit. You might want to look at the jensen radio VM9022HDN it has touch screen, hd radio provision for an additional camera and navigation by Tom tom built in. it can also allow you to plug in you ipod, or mp3 player, play music or vidoe from a cf card or memory stick and plug in a hand held camera. The downside is that the display is not bright if it is very cold but once it warms up it is fine.

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You have a right to be concerned with relying on GPS to keep you and your MH out of places they should not be. We just had a terrible experience when traveling from Smoky Mountains National Park to Hot Springs, VA. We run two GPSs , MS Trips & Street 2009 set on Major Highways preferred and Garmin NUVI 360 set on truck, against each other. When we were approaching Clifton Forge on 220 the two GPS disagreed. Since the Trips & Streets showed what appeared to be a valid route,we followed it. After we made the disputed turn, both GPSs agreed and we entered Sulfur Springs Rd. via a small neighborhood street. While the road had signs indicating this was the way the Heritage Lodge (our destination) and had no signs of limited passage, we did not question the two GPSs. This road quickly turned into a goat path with no ability to turn around. On entering the third switchback, the road twisted like a spiral stairs with a 7-10 degree slope change from the front wheels to the back wheels of our 40’ MH. We both thought the MH was going to roll over into the ravine. As we exited the apex of the curve, we heard a loud cracking noise and saw the upper right corner of the windshield explode. As we exited the turn, we saw the car behind us flashing their lights and we pulled over to see what was up. The lady in the car told us that we should not try to continue because the road is much worse ahead. We enquired if there were any side roads where we could turn around and she said there was one just ahead. We did manage to get turned around but it cost us significant damage to the passenger side of the MH.

The lessons learned were:

Trust your gut feelings. When a rout does not look or feel correct. Get local information before proceeding.

Copilot Truck software may seem an expensive software but it is cheap when you consider the potential cost; i.e. over $10,000 in our case.

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Big sorry about your broken motor home.

As I stated before, GPS UNITS ARE RIGHT ABOUT 98% OF THE TIME..... The other five percent of the

time you gotta depend on the old GUT FEELING. If it just dont look right.. S T O P AND GET MORE

INFORMATION.

One of my greatest difficulties is turning down a dead end street that is not listed as a DEAD END STREET....

As I recall, I have done this twice and had to unhook the toad and back out because I could not turn around

Once up in Mass or somewhere up there I turned down a unmarked street that had a 12 foot clearance bridge

about three blocks down and not visible when I turned in. I saw it and stopped in the road and the people

behind me started blowing and shouting. I got out to unhook the toad and a cop showed up and asked ''What the

hale I was doing?'' I told him I was going to unhook and back the toad out and then back the coach out

using the left lane. He seemed very exasperated that I was on a ''LOW BRIDGE'' road that wasnt marked in

any way. He told me he could give me a ticket for blocking traffic and I said to do what he thought best.

He said that everyone knew that there was a ''low bridge'' on this road and they didnt use tall vehicles on it

I told him that I was from North Carolina and these was my first time wearing shoes on both feet and

this was news to me and it would be simpler to PUT UP A SIGN

SAYING ''LOW BRIDGE'' ...... DO NOT ENTER WITH R.V.'S.

I finally got backed out and re hooked and got the HECK OUT OF their stinkin little town ......

Anyhow. sorry about your broken motor home ..... STUFF HAPPENS ....

Mark it up as experience and call your insurance company and keep on camping ..........

Seajay the sailor man

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to RMMPE. newbie........... LISTEN UP SAILOR

Looks like we are finally getting some real QUALITY PERSONNEL here on FMCA.

WELCOME ABOARD SAILOR......

Yes I have steamed thru some class five up in the North Atlantic between Iceland and England.

The small one were running over forty feet and the big ones were a lot taller. It was so rough

for three days we stayed ''buttoned up'' and we ate chow on the deck because we could not

set up tables in the mess hall .... They even took up all the salt and pepper shakers because they

would '' jump out of the holders'' and splatter on the deck.... I stood on the flag bridge and watched

the ''Norton'' (north hampton clc1) roll past 35 degrees and wondered if it would come back. The

waves would break over the bow and cover the windows four decks up........ Norton was almost

seven hundred feet long and it felt like a tea cup...........

I see you are Sub Service. What was your duty? I was in communications and Doc was a

''shanker mechanic''.....

Stay in touch .....

Wind to your back and smooth seas ahead .......

God bless our service personnel and bring them home safe....

Seajay the sailor man......

(maybe we should form a SAILORS CLUB or something)( We could use the Marines to guard the door )

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