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Old 07-07-2010, 11:48 PM   #1
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Google Maps

This may have been discussed, but being new to the RV world I had a "life lesson" on our first trip out. It's a long story but the Reader's Digest version: Google Maps considers "undeveloped roads" as highways. No designation on the map that the highway turns into a one lane dirt road in the middle of a national forest with no way to turn around (16 miles). It would've also been helpful to have known that there was a one lane bridge accross a dam with a 2 ton weight limit and concrete barriers 10' wide. No cell service, no police, just saw three deer a squirell and a skunk. Great if we were filming a Disney movie, but not much help with directions.
Outcome: Bridge held, damaged three doors (at body shop now), needed alignment (yesterday), lost sway bar end link bolts, bought 3 really good maps (Rand McNally is my new friend), new Garmin, New CB and with some great advice from F & D : buying a shortwave radio.
Do not trust Google Maps. Great search engine, but I don't think it would have even been able to find us.
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Old 07-08-2010, 01:01 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C & R View Post
Google Maps considers "undeveloped roads" as highways.

...the highway turns into a one lane dirt road
...a one lane bridge accross a dam with a 2 ton weight limit
...and concrete barriers 10' wide.

...saw three deer a squirell and a skunk.
...Great if we were filming a Disney movie
It sounds like some GREAT boondocking to me.
Did you keep track of the L/L ?
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Old 07-08-2010, 07:56 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by C & R View Post
This may have been discussed, but being new to the RV world I had a "life lesson" on our first trip out. It's a long story but the Reader's Digest version: Google Maps considers "undeveloped roads" as highways. No designation on the map that the highway turns into a one lane dirt road in the middle of a national forest with no way to turn around (16 miles). It would've also been helpful to have known that there was a one lane bridge accross a dam with a 2 ton weight limit and concrete barriers 10' wide. No cell service, no police, just saw three deer a squirell and a skunk. Great if we were filming a Disney movie, but not much help with directions.
Outcome: Bridge held, damaged three doors (at body shop now), needed alignment (yesterday), lost sway bar end link bolts, bought 3 really good maps (Rand McNally is my new friend), new Garmin, New CB and with some great advice from F & D : buying a shortwave radio.
Do not trust Google Maps. Great search engine, but I don't think it would have even been able to find us.
It is the same with the GPS gadgets. You can not totally trust them. I always review the route that these computer gadgets create BEFORE committing to the route. When you see that it routes you to some back road, then you can decide if you really want to go that way. Don't throw away all the paper maps.....
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Old 07-08-2010, 08:15 AM   #4
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These tools (Google, GPS's, Maps, etc.) are not GOD. Anyone using only one tool and not reviewing and crosschecking a new route better be prepared for some surprises, or better read some really stupid warning labels.

John
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Old 07-08-2010, 10:37 AM   #5
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I'm sorry but how is it Goggle's fault that you had no idea of what you were doing or where you were going? Running around in the forests is what you do in the toad, not with your rig. And you can always use Goggle Earth to look at the road and park if there is any doubt into your mind as to where you are going and what the conditions are. Technology is great but it isn't a substitute for the gray matter. Sometimes we have to admit that we weren't as prepared as we should have been and suck it up and admit it was OUR mistake. Been there, done that but don't blame it on anyone but myself for not being better prepared.

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Old 07-10-2010, 12:01 AM   #6
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We use the following in no particular order except not trusting the GPS to navigate us on anything but a main Interstate, or state route. We have input an address to the GPS and allowed it to take us to a destination, however, this destination was in a city, and we verified the route first with a map if we could. I don’t use the device to go into the country with the RV unless I have a backup map to check against, or unless I have been to the area before when working in the field building substations.

1. State Maps, County Road Maps, USGS Maps, and State Atlas or Gazetteers.
2. Truckers Atlas in the Deluxe edition-stands up to harsh treatment better.
3. GPS with its most up to date data files, or if applicable new maps installed into it.
4. This book, although I don't have it, it would be invaluable: http://www.rvbookstore.com/mountaindirectory.html

We have also unhooked the toad, and driven a route or pre-driven a route to a place if we were not sure where it was, or exactly how to get to it, especially if it was on narrow roads or it was winter and we were in the mountains. I never use Microsoft Streets & Trips, Google Maps, or MapQuest, except to check mileage. My navigator is not fluent with the computer so I do those jobs. I just had MS S&T do me a route to Las Vegas from Portland, OR. It would not be the way I would go, but it was one way, at 1051.4 miles, it's closer than the way I would go, but I usually am fighting winter.

My Friend uses a GPS designed for the Long Haul Drivers, it's around 450 dollars or so, and supposed to be the cats meow. For that kind of money, I can buy a tank of fuel and figure out how to get their myself.

We also have measured the width of our coach and it's height so we know exactly how wide and high we need to be to get through something. It's too expensive a toy to hurt not using our brain first. I never trust myself, always asking the navigator what she thinks as she is more cautious than I, and it's always better to get a second opinion.

Additionally, we went from Home in Washington State to Florida and back last year through this spring. Well ahead of our journey, I logged into every state along our route and asked for their visitor guide and they sent us the latest state map as well-FREE!. When we arrived at the state border which was not in our map box, we stopped at the visitor center and got two maps of that state, one for the coach, one for the toad.
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:02 AM   #7
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Monty, I always ask my wife and she fires back...."Come on, where is your sense of adventure.". Only one time did she decide the adventure was too much. That was Route 66 between Oatman and Kingman.
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Old 07-10-2010, 09:03 AM   #8
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We have found Microsoft Streets & Trips an excellent mapping system. You can program it for large trucks and that will keep you off of one lane dirt highways. You will still have to educate yourself on the tunnels & roads you are not permitted on or in. Most GPS's can be programmed for large trucks but still do not tell you what tunnels you cannot go through. Even the route maps from FMCA don't clarify that, although I do not know why. The majority of motorhomes have propane. Until recently we have not had all electric motorhomes. Self education about the roads you are going to travel is an absolute necessity. Height is an extremely important issue as most all of us know, probably to well.
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:54 PM   #9
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Tom & Patty, The better half freaked out when we went to Jerome, AZ. She did not like the road up to it, nor the city streets within. She especially did not like the dirt road I took her on, when going to the state park. And this was in the Jeep. I would never have attempted it in the MH, plus the signs siad no large trucks or RV's. That road in Texas with the MH though got my attention enough so we always check our route using two different sources at least.

Ted - Have not used MS S&T, have a promotional copy, but it seems like work planning out a route and not just using the paper map. Guess I am old school, computer is good for some things, and paper is good for other things.
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Old 07-10-2010, 04:16 PM   #10
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I use Google Maps for the actual driving, but I have always used Good Sam's trip planner first. It conveniently marks rest areas, campgrounds, fuel stops, mountain driving advisories, problem tunnels and bridges, etc. Though not easy to read through, it is thorough.

I just print up a copy, decide my stopping points and then use Google Maps to go.

I've tried MS Streets and it was too painful to program, then follow. It always wants to send me on various side trips.
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Old 07-11-2010, 04:28 PM   #11
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There are two modestly-priced GPS's that are intended for truckers: Garmin 465T (I think) and Rand McNally. Each can be programmed for the size of your rig, and each is supposed to select only appropriate routes. But read the users' blogs, and you discover they're not perfect either. I'm sticking with my Garmin 660 and the Trucker's Atlas - plus a portion of the other tricks mentioned here. So far, so good. Mostly.
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Old 07-11-2010, 06:09 PM   #12
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:22 PM   #13
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I agree wholeheartedly on the need to use "grey matter" when we decide our route. I took for granted the fact that I had been to this destination quite a bit but obviously from a different direction. Also, it was just a couple of hours away. I was over confident. I'm just shocked that after traveling 20 miles on the same road, it would just stop and turn to dirt. No warning. Nothing. No way to turn around, already in the National Forest. Pretty scary. Thanks to all for the advice. Very well taken. I've tried calling Nasa for satellite imagery for our next trip. No luck yet.
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Old 07-11-2010, 11:45 PM   #14
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C&R:

Funny you mention that (satellite imagery). I occasionally use it to verify if a road is dirt, too winding, etc., especially in the mountains. I often use it to verify I can get into and out of a gas station, parking lots, etc. I recently decided that since a Flying J came up on my google map that I wouldn't need to check the satellite. WRONG! The Flying J in Cedar City, Utah is for cars only. Of the million Flying Js on I-15, I had to pick that one.
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