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Old 06-05-2006, 02:03 PM   #1
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GPS - dumb*** questions

I'm studying my Camping World Magazine, (page 52 Early Summer 2006) looking for a GPS unit. I've never had one before and I'm looking for something that I can operate with only 3 living brain cells. I am somewhat computer literate but my new cell phone is already driving me nuts so I want something that require MINIMAL knowledge to operate.

I'm heading to Maine in a few weeks and want to find a route that avoids Washington DC, Baltimore, New York City and Boston.... for obvious reasons.

I've read several threads here and I'm down to choosing the Garmin StreetPilot C330 or the CoPilot Live Laptop 9 Navigation system. My tow vehicle is a 2500 Suburban 2003 - and I don't have any trouble fitting my laptop on the front of the console - or belting it in the passenger seat sideways on a latex foam pad.

Pros and cons please.

Paula Ford

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Old 06-05-2006, 02:25 PM   #2
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I've been using a Garmin unit for several years now and while they aren't particularly 'user friendly' I found with some practice and very little reading of the instructions that I did just fine. Since you're obviously not a male with the typical male hangups about reading instructions, you should do just fine.
GPS units are very useful in so many ways i.e.; finding services on Interstate highways like fuel, rest stops, food; leaving 'bread crumbs' so you can find your way back to camp after venturing out, especially important at night; sunset & sunrise in your exact area; elevation above sea level; travel speed and averages; distance to or from a certain point; geocaching games and so forth. The more you play with it the higher your comfort level will be and the more ways you'll find to utilize the hardware. Garmin has a wonderful support site with all types of hardware and periodic software updates for sale. If you hike,hunt or fish the unit is invaluable. Good luck in your decision and happy trails.

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Old 06-05-2006, 02:47 PM   #3
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Hey Paula,
I have a small hand held for hiking( a garmin etrex) but it was too small for the Burb. I just got the Garmin 2720 from Circuit City. It was pre-loaded with the U.S. maps and is a snap to use.
Here is the link:
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Old 06-05-2006, 02:55 PM   #4
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I use Microsoft Streets & Trips, but I want to give you a friendly caution about strapping your laptop on a latex foam pad.

Be sure you don't block the cooling vents on the back of the laptop.
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Old 06-05-2006, 04:12 PM   #5
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We've used the Garmin c320 for 1 1/2 years, which is easy and portable and uses secure digital memory card (size of thick postage stamp) instead of internal disk drive. It's much easier than laptop, and you don't have to look down or fumble to enter data or read screen. Easy to move from car to car. We did find screen a little hard to read in direct sunlight, but fine at night or in indirect light. We're thinking of making a little sun visor for it... Great if you know destination, and so does the Garmin, not so great if you just want a random moving map to follow along and show you where you are...

Ours gets a little slow with a large memory card and detailed searches, but c330 with disk should be fine, or new software has improved searching. TomTom is similar, though being sued by Garmin for patent infringement, and may have issues if they lose. Lots of less expensive places to buy than CampingWorld..

John McG

In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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Old 06-05-2006, 04:16 PM   #6
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Hi Paula,

I use a Garmin 60CSx with a 1gig microSD card. I have loaded the entire US, east of the Mississippi, using Garmin's City Select software. I purchased the car nav kit with the GPS unit so I could mount it in the Suburban and move it to other vehicles as well. The car kit included the map software and all necessary hardware. This is a handheld unit with full routing capability. I purchased this unit over a more car dedicated unit as I need it for navigation while driving and for Geocaching when not! The expandibility of the unit (memory that is) made it particulary attractive as I have loaded, on a separate memory card, the entire topo map software from Garmin. Two chips, two separate GPS capabilities! With a third chip I could load the Blue Chart SW if I were a sailor. Quite a unit.

The note above about reading the manual pertains to this unit as well. They simply arn't very intuitive. That said, once you become familiar with the unit, it'll become second nature.

Regardless of the unit you choose check at for their price. 60CSx was $404.00. No tax and no shipping. Generally sells for between $449 to $499.

Hope this helps.

Take care,

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Old 06-05-2006, 05:50 PM   #7
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I use DeLorme in my laptop. So far it has done very well. I think all programs/GPS units are going to have their own idiocyncracies. I also have a Garmin Etrex that I use for geocaching and cycling, but it is not really much use in the car. I get great peverse pleasure in telling the synthovoice directions on DeLorme where and what to do One issue with DeLorme is that you don't want to route "cold" without checking it first. It does some interesting routing sometimes

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Old 06-05-2006, 05:57 PM   #8
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I have a laptop stand and use nroute with a garmin 18. Bought as a package with map cd. Consider Microsoft Trips and Streets packaged with a gps. I find that product a better trip planner.
I don't know where you are starting but it sounds like you want either I81 to I84 to I495 or sneak up the bay tunnel east of I95.

EDIT: Take the Bay Tunnel bridge and go up to the Tappanzee Bridge (I84) then go east.
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Old 06-05-2006, 06:17 PM   #9
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I use Delorme daily on my laptop which sits on my DIY stand.
If you want simple... use a map turned in the direction of travel. Place your finger on the road you will travel. Move your finger as you see cross roads.
State road atlas pages require more finger movement. But the good new is they are stiffer than state maps and don't require much brain work to fold.
Pilots have used this method for years... long before GPS and higher brain power requirements.
You only get lost if you forget to move your finger.

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