This week my wife, two sons, and I traveled from the Twin Cites of Minnesota to Mount Rushmore, staying in Rapid City (SD) and visited Devils Tower (WY) and other points along the way. I had my Garmin StreetPilot 2730 along for the trip. I found a number of the POI files that I had downloaded from here to be very helpful for the trip. For example, some of the most basic needs along a road trip, obviously, are:
Some of the other ones that are quite handy, too, are the Interstate Rest Areas, radio/TV stations, ham radio repeaters, and (for us anyway) Wal-Mart.
I have not downloaded any POI files lately, but this trip reminded me that I definitely need to add some more. I found that while on the long stretched of I-90 it was handy to select a few Interstate Rest Areas ahead of time by searching either "eastbound" or "westbound". That wasy I was able to have a few lined up ahead of time and then when one of the boys said, "Daddy!..." I could judge in short order whether to wait for a rest stop or to find a gas station quick.
We did also have some computer access at various hotels we stayed at and it was very nice to be able to find a street address ahead of time for certain hotels that we planned to stop at along the route.
Because it was pretty warm during much of the trip, we probably averaged one trip per day to a Wal-Mart somewhere to buy Propel water and other drinks. I did find that a number of Wal-Marts had moved from the location in the Garmin list, but often the POI file had the latest location.
Needless to say, I found that entering whatever hotel we stayed at as a favorite was quite handy. For example, we returned to our hotel in Rapid City at night after the evening program at Mount Rushmore. I am sure that we could have made the trip without a GPS, but I know that I felt quite a bit more confident just having it quide us back to the hotel.
As an aside, we flew to Orlando back in February and that was the first time for us flying somewhere and bring the GPS along. I really didn't talk a whole lot about it ahead of time with my wife. She knew, of course, that I had the Garmin StreetPilot 2730 and used it daily for work, but I rather doubt that she gave it a whole lot of thought. When we got our rental car I plugged in and had it take us right to our home for the week. Sometime during that first day in Florida my wife told me that we would not travel again without the GPS! Needless to say, it worked quite well and helped us find the usual tourist locations like Magic Kingdom, Epcot Center, Animal Kingdom, MGM, Spaceport, etc.
I know that some other GPS manufacturers are having a means to update maps and POIs more frequently than Garmin does, some possibly even including wi-fi or other means of connecting to the web to update. As loyal as I am to Garmin, I think that they really ought to consider adding the means to update more often.
Every time I take a road trip of any great distance I seem to learn something. This trip reminded me that I should have done a little bit more planning and downloaded more POI files ahead of time for the South Dakota area. Of well, we learn from our experiences and next time I will be even better prepared.
I also hope that a replacement for the 2730 includes a SiRF chip.
I was just about to post something similar. My girlfriend and I are moving from Illinois to Oregon and I was wishing I had loaded a few more POIs.
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