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Old 06-28-2018, 07:28 AM   #1
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Join Date: Sep 2017
Location: Carolina Beach, North Carolina
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Need for GPS

I have used a GPS (Tom Tom) in the past for car travel. I like them. As I get ready to pick up the Escape 19 I am reading about special RV GPS. Little on the fence as these can get pricey and on line reviews are mixed. So, two questions. Do I really need one? Nice thing is you enter your rig dimensions and it routes you away from narrow roads, tough turnarounds, and low underpasses. But this may be more of a big rig problem and not so much a 19 problem. Does anyone need special navigation help with the 19? Second question. If you have an RV GPS does it work? On line I have been reading horror stories about routing mess ups and general unreliable performance. I can make plenty of mistakes on my own without a GPS helping me.
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:59 AM   #2
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More then you asked...

I use a standard GPS. Depending on where you are headed, it may behoove one to take a look at it's route and verify it on a paper map. I find the GPS doesn't always use what is really the best route to get somewhere, trailer attached or not. The only trailer specific thing I watch out for is I can't always make the turns the GPS calls for. U turns are limited, and I always eyeball parking lots before pulling in, especially gas stations.

I see no reason to have a specific RV GPS, the height of our units isn't much of a limiting factor.

I always take the best paper maps I can find when traveling with the trailer. Review the route you want to take and then see if the GPS concurs. Many times I ignore it till t locks in on the route I want.
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:39 AM   #3
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I have the Garmin RV GPS and don't see much advantage to it. I'm not going under super low underpasses to start with. We wanted to upgrade our unit anyway, so we went with this one. It has a larger screen than our older one, plus it shows an image of the upcoming highway exit (major highways) and tells you which lane you need to be in. I really like that feature, which our older one doesn't have.


I don't know if it's particular to the RV unit, but it will tell me when sharp curves are coming up. I have to laugh as more than half the time I don't consider it a "sharp curve" and then when I'd get to one that I did consider a "sharp curve" (oh, let's say on 101 along the OR/CA coast), it never gave me an alert.


I keep forgetting to take it off "trailer" mode to see if it does the same for "car" mode.



Supposedly there's a way to download the directions to the route you pick on GoogleMaps to the unit, but I was never able to figure it out. It'd be nice as many times the GPS wants me to go a different route than the one I want. On my recent trip I had print outs from GM as well as paper maps from AAA with my route highlighted in orange.


At the beginning of my trip I wanted to head over to 101 from the Eugene area, instead of Corvallis. So, I programmed in the little town of Drain as part of the route. Forget doing that! It kept wanting me to take U-turns for miles on end, until I finally got a chance to start the route over again on the unit. I don't take the U-turns option off as one time I did and it sent me hours out of my way when I missed the turn-off (which I didn't know I had missed). I didn't have paper copies of my route with me - I will from now on!


So, yeah, just get a regular GPS with a decent size screen and that tells you which lane you want for your exit (very handy when you're pulling as it can be harder to switch lanes at the last minute) if there are multiple lanes to take.
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Old 06-28-2018, 09:43 AM   #4
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A good road atlas combined with Google Maps is what I use.
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:27 AM   #5
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I had a GPS program for a tablet. Warned of tunnels (LP shut off.), low clearance and restricted RV parking. I just bought a detailed atlas and spent most of the time flipping pages with in a state. I found state DOT maps are the easiest to deal with on a long road trip. I highly recommend the Michigan map if traveling there It shows campgrounds you would never know that were there. Always have a paper map back up.
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:32 AM   #6
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A friend just told me his regular one does many of the things I've been wanting- it does let him put in the size and height of his rig, and also avoidances. What I found with my Garmin, though is that it ignores avoidances most of the time. (You can avoid tolls, but it routes over the ferry anyway, for example.) But it does let you record a regular route- from what I gather if you routinely go a different way than the programmed route it lets you enter that preference. (Such as me going north by bridge instead of ferry and then I5, which on a map is shorter and counts as faster as they don't include a ferry wait or even crossing time.)

One thing I've found about popular scenic routes is that with dashcams abounding, you may be able to find a Youtube video of someone driving it and see if that's a route you'd take. I did this for 299 Redding-Arcata and once for Port Townsend-Port Angeles.
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:32 AM   #7
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And on this same topic- can those who have non RV GPS and like it, recent models anyway, please post what kind and the model?
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:35 AM   #8
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I purchased the Rand McNally RV GPS and like it. You can use their mapping service on line and then download to your GPS, really convenient. That was before I got a truck that also has GPS. But the Rand McNally does plot those locations that will accommodate your tow and trailer length and height combo, like certain gas stations are too small to allow a combo easily. Rand McNally also gives you lifetime map updates, whereas your vehicle may not.
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:43 AM   #9
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Both Garmin and Tom Tom allow for the installation of POIs (points of interest) including low clearance locations. I personally wouldn’t buy an RV GPS when POIs available on the internet allow one to “customize” a standard GPS.
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Old 06-28-2018, 10:48 AM   #10
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My Samsung S8 has GPS and we used it a lot on our last 6K mile trip. Didn't need a cellular connection and it responded easily to voice commands and uses Google Maps. Another device in the cockpit would just be more clutter for us. Use the bike in unsure situations like dispersed camping.
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