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Oldav8r

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Hello All, 

New member with a few questions. I am about a year away from retirement. We are intending to buy a Class A sometime over that time and hit the road semi-full time in search of a permanent place to land.

in the mean time, I’m doing research on the RVs and the lifestyle. Hoping that Escapees will be a useful resource. 

I’ll start with this: 

I’m looking for a navigation app which will let me easily tailor my route as well as driving speeds/time/distance as necessary. Of course info on nearby  parks which will accept the size vehicle (and dogs). The standard nav apps assume shortest distance and highway speed limits which won’t necessarily apply to a motorhome. 

Anything like this available? 

 

I apologize if this subject belongs in another forum and/or has been previously covered. I couldn’t find a search function to check for earlier threads. Please chalk it up to a rookie mistake and feel free to direct me accordingly. 

 

Thanks. 

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First of all, welcome to the Escapees forums!  We are happy to have you with us and we will do all that we are able to assist and support you in your RV experience.

There may well be better replies than mine as we are people who prefer to use a GPS for navigation, rather than our cell phones. What I use is a Garmin, RV GPS and the Garmin program "Base Camp" for planning routes and such. My only criticism of this method is that we find the Garmin program does not have anywhere near to a complete listing of campgrounds. Other than that, we really like the device.

When ready by all means do not hesitate to ask most any question as there are numerous things to consider as you begin your planning such as a mail service, RV types, brands, and models, as well as a host of other things. We have a wide range of members here who have lived pretty much all RV lifestyles and someone here has owned pretty much every type and configuration of RV.

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There is no one solution to this age old problem. I generally don't use apps on my phone for navigation, too  many areas of the country still that don't have service.

I prefer programs and maps I can download to my phone or computer so I don't need cell or internet service. Copilot is one of those and recently I have taken a liking to RVtripwizard.com. Both of these you need to pay $$ for. RVtripwizard you can put in distance, time and mileage(kind of). This product still needs some cleaning up and has little glitches but I feel its potential is very good. RVTW also displays campgrounds, low bridges. I especially like the campground filter as I can select the affiliate campgroundsI prefer to use. You can also drag the route to the roads you prefer to take.

We also have the Garmin RV660. We feel a GPS, used with common sense, is well worth it. This one and the 770 you can put in your RV height which is very beneficial. We also download the POIs from lowclearances.com which has a lot  more low bridges.

There is no one solution to any of this and the RV population is small so development of anything is very limited. Most of us go through a learning curve of several years to determine the type of driving and camping we prefer. This is an evolutionary process.

There are numerous apps, downloads, books with campgrounds. Allstays, Passport America, Good Sam and Campendium etc. Are you planning to be a boondocker, another can of worms.

I also think you are putting the cart before the horse. Work on getting an RV first, get use to the rv, then worry about how to manage your travel.

Just keep reading and learning. It will take several years to find your niche..................

For your education you might consider the Escapees Boot Camp, offered several times a year across the country. You will also need a mail service to have your mail sent to and decide which state will be your domicile. These are the big things. Many, many little things.

All this is IMO.

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Thanks to all for your welcome and suggestions. 

SWharton: “I also think you are putting the cart before the horse” This made me smile because my wife said the same thing and of course this is simply day-dreaming at this point. 

Some background by way of explanation. I have spent 50+ years as a professional pilot. 21 years as a Naval Aviator, another 18 with an airline and the last 12 in corporate/charter. In brief, planning is what I do. 😎 The question came up as I “planned” some trips and found very little that would do what I was looking for. 

So.. don’t own the MH yet; timing’s not quite right. I’m doing that research and I’ll be back here with more detailed questions as I get smarter. My bride and I went to a local RV show and ran into several active RV-ers who were happy to share tips and experiences. We learned a lot (shockingly- more than from the salesmen 😉). 

Thanks for the prompt input. I’m pleased that this forum is active and that responses come in real time. 

I’ll be back frequently. (In the mean time I’ll be secretly planning fantasy trips)

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We are a very friendly group and love to give information.

To entice you and give you some fantasy trips to do go to roadtrippers.com.............I find I can spend a lot of time on that site with our dreams.

When you are ready to travel then ask the questions you need answers to and as you have additional questions keep asking.

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5 minutes ago, Oldav8r said:

shockingly- more than from the salesmen

 

This is the only thing in your post that I feel a need to comment on. Most RV salespeople were selling cars last month and perhaps factory equipment before that. Most of them will likely be selling something else in a few months. The rare salesperson who actually learns his products well and stays with an employer can be very helpful but they are rare.

On thing that I might suggest while you are in the planning stages is to consider renting an RV for a nice vacation in order to experience what it is that we are so avid about. Not everyone likes the lifestyle like most of us do, so you would give yourselves the chance to be sure it is what you want and at the same time to learn a lot that will be helpful when you shop seriously. 

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Thanks Kirk. I’ve given some thought to renting. Class A’s are a little spendy to rent but, I suppose, cheaper than buying one and discovering we don’t care for life on the road.  

BTW.. I note your dolphins and SSBN Patrol badge. BZ sir. 

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2 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

...I use is a Garmin, RV GPS and the Garmin program "Base Camp" for planning routes and such. My only criticism of this method is that we find the Garmin program does not have anywhere near to a complete listing of campgrounds. Other than that, we really like the device....

You can import POIs into the Garmin using their POI loader program which is available from the Garmin Website. I have loaded over 30,000 campgrounds from the POI Factory, Discovery Owners Forum, Ultimate Public Campgrounds Program, US Campgrounds and other sources. I still find campgrounds that were not listed in any database, but those can be easily added to a POI list that is in the proper format Excel spredsheet.

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Howdy’

I’ve been using Co-Pilot gps app on my tablet and smartphone for years and it works well. Co-Pilot now has a RV app but unless you RV is over 13’ I see no reason to purchase the more expensive one. I like using my tablet in our MDT towing our 5er the large screen makes it nice. I use the same app on my smartphone when driving the Smart Car. You only need a data connection to down load the app and maps. Once that’s done you no longer need a data connection unless you use the active traffic portion. I see no need to purchase a stand alone gps if you have a tablet and/or smartphone these days. Once you purchase the app you can easily load or transfer the app to other devices.

”Happy Trails”

Chiefneon

Edited by chiefneon

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Ah, another compulsive planner! I made a spread sheet for each state and entered data about campgrounds, diners, museums. living history sites, etc. in it so when we were ready to move we could see what might be along our route. Unfortunately, that was ten years ago so my data has expired.

We also used a Garmin dezl 560 GPS and loaded data into if from sites like those trailertraveler linked to. Ten years later that GPS still works in our car now that we are no longer RVing.

Linda Sand

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My son in law gave me a Garmin.  He likes his and I have tried to use it.  Finally I just gave up and realized I will continue to use my cellphone and Google Maps.

Both the Garmin and Maps work well for simple navigation tasks.  Maps just has more capability and works better.  The OP was concerned about time and distances for an RV.  I am not sure about the Garmin, but Maps seems to do a go job of matching actual driving with the estimated travel time.  In addition Maps takes into account actual road conditions and construction delays.  The Garmin has no access to that information.  In case of major delays and even for routine use, Maps does a good job of providing information on alternate routes.  Finally as a search engine, the Garmin is very limited.  Maps has access to the full range of Google searches.  I suppose I could use the Garmin for navigation and the cellphone for searches but it seems easier to do the searches and have them already programmed into the same device.  I seem to do a lot of searches.  I typically make stops at least a couple of times during a driving day.  An hour of so in advance I look for a convenient location to combine getting fuel if needed and finding a place for a food and rest break. 

I do like old fashioned printed maps.  I often pickup a State map at visitor centers.  If not, my Rand McNally meets most needs.  I like to see my overall progress and track options.  I also never rely totally on either a navigation system or Maps.  It seems both like to have me drive through the middle of cities where I would prefer the much longer routes on  beltways around cities.  I have had both stop working or get confused. 

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Both are good in different situations. Google Maps is more up to date and has benefits but uses up your data allocation unless you have unlimited data. Garmin doesn't use the internet. Both drop signals for different reasons. Both do a good job of estimating time arrival, I am often amazed by their accuracy.

We have not had cell for several days recently so Goggle Maps is useless. Garmin is working fine. I think you need both to cover all bases. Both Maps and Garmin are dicey in the mountains.

The one thing that really bugs me about Maps is if I download a route I made to my phone, anticipating no cell phone coverage, the download works but doesn't download the route I have made. Maps insists on only the fastest route for a download. I haven't yet figured out a way to change the download so Maps respects my routing.

Until there is 100% cell phone coverage in the US Google Maps is questionable.

I agree to having paper back up of everything if possible but am finding this more and more difficult to do. Just like I don't like mapping programs on my PC to be internet dependent, becoming more difficult a time goes on.

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11 hours ago, trailertraveler said:

You can import POIs into the Garmin using their POI loader program which is available from the Garmin Website.

Thank you for that information. I only recently started to use that feature, though I have had mine for a while. 

57 minutes ago, JimK said:

I do like old fashioned printed maps.

Me too! Too many years of depending on them I suppose. 

35 minutes ago, SWharton said:

I agree to having paper back up of everything if possible but am finding this more and more difficult to do.

Is  there is a published paper campground guide anymore? 

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Yes there is. Good Sam has their gigantic one and Passport America. These sure don't have everything. There are numerous cgs that aren't in any books. A good example of this is driving from Livingston to Texarkana there are numerous small cgs along US59. I am sure none of them advertise anywhere. Just Mom and Pop cgs.

Our GS book was given to us when we bought something at a CW 4-5 years ago. It is good enough as a backup. PA sends out a book each year.

You might be interested in POIFactory.com for additional POI's for the Garmin. It's free. Make sure you put them on the SD card or you will run out of space fast.

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Passport America has a published paper directory that I use along with the Atlas, Gazetteer, Benchmark, and the accumulating Public Lands maps. Usually I'll have a small spiral bound notepad in my shirt pocket or within reach with quick reference directions that I'm comfortable with (385N thru Chadron... in Oelrichs becomes/look for 18N/W to Hot Springs then 87N to Alt16... turn left then left into Stockade Lake) and track progress on paper at the towns or intersections, and when we stop for a drink or some such we'll have a look, "So, where are we?" Also, thanks for the info about POI Downloader Program as I'm still considering ( and have been for years 😏 ) a Garmin RV GPS.

Edited by rm.w/aview

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Using Garmin Link on your Bluetooth cell phone you can search for locations and then send them to your Garmin GPS.  Sort of the best of both worlds.  The interface and voice directions our Dezl 760 is much easier to follow then either of our cell phones.  

Did not know that Copilot would work away from cell towers.  Interesting.  Will investigate further.  Thanks for the info. 

Later,

J

Edited by KodiakJack

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1 hour ago, KodiakJack said:

Using Garmin Link on your Bluetooth cell phone you can search for locations and then send them to your Garmin GPS.  Sort of the best of both worlds.  The interface and voice directions our Dezl 760 is much easier to follow then either of our cell phones.  

Did not know that Copilot would work away from cell towers.  Interesting.  Will investigate further.  Thanks for the info. 

Later,

J

CoPilot is a database. No cell service needed. If live updates needed one can use cell service. I have it on a 8" tablet.

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We make use of the Android license that allows us to load the ALK CoPilot RV app on multiple devices under the same account.  We use to 10" tablets for navigating, one for each of us.  We do the trip planning on a smartphone.

We started with ALK in 2003 on a laptop.  Changed over to Android two years ago.

13' 6" is pretty common on most medium to large size RVs.  Also, the RV version is weight and length sensitive to routings.

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19 hours ago, Mark and Dale Bruss said:

The Truck version has a higher weight class and a longer length settings.  Also I think it has HaxMat.

I would not change if you already have Truck.

 

....and I have not found the advantage to the "truck" version (vs.the RV) if you have neither and are investing in CoPilot. I use the RV version and like it a lot.

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On 5/20/2018 at 4:47 PM, Oldav8r said:

Thanks to all for your welcome and suggestions. 

SWharton: “I also think you are putting the cart before the horse” This made me smile because my wife said the same thing and of course this is simply day-dreaming at this point. 

Some background by way of explanation. I have spent 50+ years as a professional pilot. 21 years as a Naval Aviator, another 18 with an airline and the last 12 in corporate/charter. In brief, planning is what I do. 😎 The question came up as I “planned” some trips and found very little that would do what I was looking for. 

So.. don’t own the MH yet; timing’s not quite right. I’m doing that research and I’ll be back here with more detailed questions as I get smarter. My bride and I went to a local RV show and ran into several active RV-ers who were happy to share tips and experiences. We learned a lot (shockingly- more than from the salesmen 😉). 

Thanks for the prompt input. I’m pleased that this forum is active and that responses come in real time. 

I’ll be back frequently. (In the mean time I’ll be secretly planning fantasy trips)

Hey Old-Av....... Welcome to ground pounding......like you I some how survived too many decades of bad airplanes, bad WX, Bad employers, and .....Badly discribed destinations......Keep plates are great but most Three-Letter-"employers" seem to have a need to go to places that often are not on anyone's chats (except Ruskies....hate those backwards R's.....)

As you mentioned you have been blessed with flying for outfits that have great planning tools.......

Flying for "$ketchy-operators" is a out-of-body gig......

Once you fly off the edge of the chart it can be a lonely trip ......however......."Local-Knowledge" is often priceless ......sometimes...

Here is a low-low-tech hint.....to plan your next .....Class-A-Adventure.....get a cup of coffee and wonder around the TV Park and chat with various Class-A-Geeks........almost always someone has made your trip and would love to tell you the..... THE REST OF INFO that NO app will tell you.....

RV planning is a bit like medvac flying in S. America....... Shooting a NDB approach and...... Bingo becon died.....no worries ....... Just orbit for 25 minutes and as soon as they jump start the fuel truck with the NDB battery they will hook it back up to the NDB...

No NOTM'$ ...just a cool Capt with... Local-Knowledge....

 

Drive on.....(enjoy the trip with... Local-Knowledge)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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