In this third, and final, article about the Rand McNally TripMaker RVND 7710 GPS for RVs I’m going to talk about Route-Planning. The other two articles were:
- What’s Up Ahead
- Multi-Stop Trips
Some of the comments to the previous articles specifically asked about routing. We want to know that the GPS is not routing us thru low clearance bridges or on other roads that are inappropriate for RVs. This video shows how to plan a route thru Baltimore. Other trip-planning devices would take you thru a tunnel, but the TripMaker knows that there’s a problem there. Watch the video to see how it works.
Low Clearance Bridges
I found a low bridge in Jacksonville, Florida for an example route. Here is how Google Maps plans the route:
Using Google’s Street View – you can see the low clearance!
Here’s how the Rand McNally TripMaker GPS plans the same trip:
Now that’s exactly what we want right? The Rand McNally TripMaker simply plans a route that avoids the low clearance.
It doesn’t know all Low Clearance Bridges
Be aware that *no* database has all of the low bridges – so, you still have to use all the tools at your disposal. For example, we are members of Thousand Trails and we’ve spent some time at the Ohio park called Kenisee Lakes. If you read the directions in the Thousand Trails book, you are told:
Note: There are low clearance bridges on Mill Creek Rd. between State Route 45 and Forman Rd. and between Jefferson St and the preserve on Mill Creek.
Yet, when you use the Rand McNally TripMaker GPS, it will route you right thru that low clearance bridge.
What you can do in these situations is to mark that segment of road. When you zoom in and click on the road, you will see these options:
If you mark it as ‘Avoid Permanent’ – then the GPS will never route you on that stretch of road again. If you don’t care about marking it permanently, it is easy to use the ‘Detour’ feature to plan a different route right now.
Pros: If you are an RVer and you want to have lots of information available to you as you are traveling, you will love the Rand McNally TripMaker RVND 7710 GPS for RVs. As I wrote in the first article, my favorite feature is the ability to look at the amenities at the next Exit. You also get alerts for State Borders, Time Zones, and certain Points of Interests.
You will see icons on the screen for different types of POIs (Points of Interest.) For example, you see
wherever there is a campground. Simply touch the icon and a menu will pop up that includes contact information (Name, address, phone) as well as an option to ‘Route to Here.’
You can very quickly find Walmarts and Truck Stops and Route to them.
Cons: Although the screen is relatively large (7 inches) the resolution is a lot lower than I’m accustomed to on my tiny Droid cell phone. I find I can view maps more clearly on my Droid. And, if you’re accustomed to the touch screen of a smart phone, you will find the GPS touch screen to be clunky and slow to respond in comparison.
The TripMaker is slow to calculate routes. To be fair, we have the ‘Beta’ version of the device. They sent it to us to evaluate before it was available to buy – the retail version may be faster. Also, it is faster when you’re planning a route starting from where you are. I was often testing routes elsewhere.
The RV routing capabilities is both a Pro and a Con. It’s a Pro because it does take your RV’s height, weight, and propane into account as it calculates the route. It’s a Con because it’s not perfect – it doesn’t know about every low bridge, for example. This is not the panacea that many RVers hoped for.
It’s hard to believe that, only 10 years ago, these devices didn’t even exist! How quickly we’ve started taking them for granted and being upset when they’re not perfect! I do like the TripMaker and we will use it for RV Navigation. But, it won’t be the only thing we use. I will still consult the map on my Droid smart phone when I am questioning our route. We will still plan the trips using Streets and Trips. I haven’t yet tried to transfer a route from S&T to the TripMaker – I’ll let you know when I do.
And, oh yea … you’ll always see a paper map on our dashboard!
This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour
Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger. You can subscribe to our free enewsletter, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.