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Old 06-20-2019, 10:56 AM   #1
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It's 2019, yet route planning tools are abysmal

I have spent the better part of the past two hours trying to do some route planning. Usually we "just follow our nose," but the kiddo wanted to see the St. Louis Arch on the way back to Denver, and I though maybe we'd try a trip that included some planned stops.

Road Tripper ($30 for any real functionality), RV Trip Wizard ($40 to use beyond a "demo" that only lets you do what they want), Good Sam advanced trip planner ($29 paid a couple hours ago but I have no idea how long it will be before they actually process my membership and I can use the functionality), Google Maps (what a joke for anything but commuting), Waze (complete fail for choosing "alternate" and especially "scenic" routes), RVParky.com, etc. All of these have left me wondering what in the world is going on in the world of trip planning these days.

My favorite fail so far was trying to add "The Gateway Arch" or "St. Louis Arch" or anything of the sort to RV Parky... I simply can't. It won't let me. I would think that would be one of the most popular destinations in the Midwest, and I can't add it to my route? What the what?! It shows up on the map when you zoom way in (once you've found the location via Google and zoom in to that place on the RV Parky map), but if you click on the "Gateway Arch" icon on their map, the only option is "view on Google maps." You can't click to add. You can't drag and drop the icon into your route. It just taunts you with an icon that does you no good in your trip planning. There doesn't seem to be an address for The Arch other than
"The Gateway Arch, St. Louis, MO 63102," but when I type that into the "add destination" field on RV Parky, it gives me two choices in a drop down, one of them being... "The Bahamas."

I would be happy to spend forty or fifty bucks on an application or map that works, but none of the ones that people seem to like let you actually try them out (at least not in a meaningful way) before ponying up your cash.

Looks like I'm back to flying by the seat of my pants. Truth be told, I guess I prefer that method anyway.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:01 PM   #2
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I do agree, the programs used to be better. MapQuest used to work well for us for inserting stops but no longer.

The Arch was a confusing spot to get to and we did it early on a Saturday morning. I had studied the route on Google Earth so we knew where we were going but still had to do it several times and as we weren't in the correct lanes. We also ended up going across the river and finding a small park behind the casino on the east side of the river with a beautiful viewpoint.
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Old 06-20-2019, 12:55 PM   #3
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This route planner still works pretty well.

https://www.amazon.com/2018-McNally-...gateway&sr=8-2

No electrical power or Internet connection needed . . . oh . . . you might need a pencil too.

Happy Trails,

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PS -- Easy for the kids to use too!

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Old 06-20-2019, 05:32 PM   #4
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Itís one of the newest national parks, maybe that is screwing the system up somehow?

I agree that trip planning tools need to be better. I had a brilliant idea for one a couple years ago, then I realize that I donít even know where to start in creating it... gotta learn how to program I suppose?
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:16 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kidjedi View Post
I have spent the better part of the past two hours trying to do some route planning. Usually we "just follow our nose," but the kiddo wanted to see the St. Louis Arch on the way back to Denver, and I though maybe we'd try a trip that included some planned stops.

... RV Trip Wizard ($40 to use beyond a "demo" that only lets you do what they want), ...
My favorite fail so far was trying to add "The Gateway Arch" or "St. Louis Arch" or anything of the sort to RV Parky... I simply can't. ...

I would be happy to spend forty or fifty bucks on an application or map that works, but none of the ones that people seem to like let you actually try them out (at least not in a meaningful way) before ponying up your cash.

...

I had the same first impression of the Trip Wizard Demo when I was looking for something better than the Good Sam Planner. But I discovered you could actually plan a trip, you just couldn't save it. I added some stops and deleted theirs and then I was planning my trip. The demo may not work the same way now.


At that time they offered a trial period after you bought. You could cancel and get a refund if you didn't like it. I went for it and have been using it ever since.


I just started a trip and put in Gateway Arch and it took me right there.


Try it, and cancel if you don't like it, if they still offer that option. In my opinion it is the best thing out there.


Al
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Old 06-20-2019, 06:31 PM   #6
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I recently updated the radio in my 2006 dodge 2500 (Which I might ad was made before there were smartphones. - That's kind of sobering). I installed a pioneer AVIC-W8500NEX nav system and I absolutely love it. I've used Garmin's desktop route planner before, but it has issues. Using this pioneer is easy and awesome. I simply select my final destination and then add in waypoints as I see fit - even on the fly.

We may be traveling through an unknown city and you can add a waypoint of a restaurant or site you want to see in about 20 seconds. Recalculating the route is incredibly fast and it keeps track of your route (or not, depending on the settings.)

The map updates seem to lag reality by about three to six months, but I've not really had an issue with that. The hardest part was traveling through Dallas when it told us to take a road that wasn't there. Construction had removed it in the last three months.

It's kind of a combination of traveling by the seat of the pants and pre-planning because it's so flexible. If you know your route, you can plan it all out - or do it on the fly.

it also does Apple Car Play and Android Auto wirelessly so it works very well with your smartphone.

I bought mine at crutchfield and the service was excellent in getting it up and running.
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:07 PM   #7
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As an aside, if you are not staying overnight in St. Louis, there is a nice RV park/campground in central MO in Columbia. Cottonwoods RV Park.
https://cottonwoodsrvpark.com
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Old 06-20-2019, 07:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Piggy Bank View Post
As an aside, if you are not staying overnight in St. Louis, there is a nice RV park/campground in central MO in Columbia. Cottonwoods RV Park.
https://cottonwoodsrvpark.com

Stayed there last year on the way to Salem. We enjoyed it. Only stayed one night so didn't get to look around much.


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Old 06-20-2019, 09:25 PM   #9
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I use RVtripwizzard. I don't have any of the difficulties y'all mentioned above. I can add places, add routes , save information and make excellent print outs.

Mississippi is flooding in St Louis right now. Be careful planning on stopping near the water. The I-64 MLK bridge is also closed.

I would stay nearby and visit down town without the trailer. Visit the arch and then go to the Shafly Pump Room for lunch. The zoo is also good.
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Old 06-20-2019, 09:26 PM   #10
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PS..... Not anything in East St Louis.
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Old 06-21-2019, 05:01 AM   #11
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I have been using RV Trip Planner for the past 2 years and it has put together sever as l well planned trips of thousands of miles and hundreds of nights on the road. I had a little trouble with a ferry route last year, but the support team resolved it in short order.
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Old 06-21-2019, 08:47 AM   #12
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It's 2019, yet route planning tools are abysmal

Another rvtripwizard user here, recommend it.

As for the Arch, we just spent a few weeks in St Louis and they are dealing with floods. Flood water was approaching the arch 2 weeks ago. May want to call ahead.

There are three nice campgrounds close to Eureka, MO just outside St Louis, the KOA, Jellystone (right by Six Flags) and Pin Oak.

KOA was full, but here are links to the ones we stayed in.

https://www.campjellystone.com/park/...reka-six-flags

https://pinoakcreekrvpark.com
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Old 06-21-2019, 09:59 AM   #13
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Drive Time Calculator

kidjedi,

I feel the same way about the apps... too frustrating. I use an old fashioned Rand McNally Road Atlas and "I want to see that" or "stay there" approach to trip planning along with Google Earth, Drive Time Calculator and whatever else I need. Planning the trip, for me, is part of the journey. I take as much time as I need for routing. Once I decide where I want to go, I use the Drive Time Calculator to enter everything. You can also rough calculate the cost of fuel for the trip, miles, avg mpg and other stuff. The DTC is at:

www.free-online-calculator-use.com/drive-time-calculator.html#calculator

Another tool I've used is distance between stops for initial rough estimate of where I want to rest, get fuel, eat, stretch, etc. 👍🏼
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Old 06-21-2019, 10:17 AM   #14
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Sites near the Arch

Look at the sites in St Charles Mo. Can't remember the name(Sudemeir?) but we stayed there both going and coming to Yellowstone. This is a suburb of St Louis and is near a most interesting Lewis and Clark museum.
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