Saturday, April 13, 2013


Figured I’d write a post to explain to the Folks why (in the 21st Century !!) I do not own a GPS.

When I started out on this (mis-adventure) I actually did have one.  I called it ‘Betty’.  That chosen name turned out to be quite ‘appropriate’ later on.

That was November, 2010 and was also when I had the Class C TOWING (READ ==  Backing up was to be avoided at all costs !!) a small trailer that housed my motorcycle.

That stupid thing sent me down country roads,  into major residential areas and would yell at me “Turn left now” – then – TURN LEFT NOW !!”  I was in the middle of the frikkin’ Interstate !
I pulled it out of the charger more often than not and it stressed me beyond belief.  Finally (and thankfully) it died !

I’ve had numerous people ask me (because they are so SHOCKED) why I don’t have a GPS.  I answer “Because I don’t need one.”

In a recent Blog, Rene' and Jeanette commented:

“Sassy, I wonder why you would not use a GPS to guide you through difficult and complex roadways in major metropolitan areas. I use one and it is truly a gift. Your thought????”

Well I really have been meaning to get another GPS – however, since it’s been almost three years now obviously it has not been a priority.  And, believe it or not, I’ve gotten lost much, much LESS without a GPS.

The main reason why I have not gotten another one is BUDGET.  Every month something else comes up that depletes any extra money I may have.  For example, my little camera just died.  And oh, the poor little thing, it was a painful death.  You see it fell to the floor while I was driving one day.  I had forgotten that it had fallen and later remembered ‘where’ it had fallen.  In between the slide out.  As I had already put the slide out it was crushed in there.  I had to retrieve it from outside and amazingly enough it was still kinda working but the outside shell and view area was all cracked.

And now my computer is dying.  The battery is no longer holding a charge but thankfully I can have it plugged in all the time so I am getting by.  And for the cost of a new battery, well I might as well buy a new computer.  So that’s in next month’s budget.

This computer is only two years old but I’ve never liked it from Day One.

I think using a GPS is great when there are two people travelling.  The driver does what the driver is SUPPOSED to do.  Drive the rig and watch the traffic.  The Co-Pilot (usually the wife) checks the GPS and instructs the Driver along with the GPS’s instructions.

While driving across the Country last Fall with my Brother and Sister-In-Law, I had a good laugh many times at my Brother’s expense.  Whenever he was going through a major City with multiple lanes he would say “Carol” – then – CAROL !!!  “What lane am I supposed to be in ?”  I would say to him – “Don, Just keep following the signs that say I-40W” (or whatever Interstate # we were on).

My little Bennie is the greatest little Co-Pilot anyone would ever want – but he’s not so good with technology.  LOL

As a Solo I want all my focus on the driving and not pressing buttons or looking at the maps on the GPS.  And really you only use the GPS when you are on the road. Once I arrive at my destination in the States/Canada then I pretty much stay put – so no need of a GPS.

I would much prefer to plot my route on google – thereby having a visual in my head – the night before my travel day.  One day, I’m sure, I will get a GPS, but for now the way I’m doing it works very well for me.

This brings me to a post I’ve been meaning to do.  A post of all the great websites there are out there for us RV types.  I must get to doing that post soon.


  1. Growing up with travel trailers and being my dad's co-pilot, I learned to read maps at an early age. To this day, I do not rely on a GPS and use atlases, including a trucker's atlas. For city interchanges and locating campgrounds, I'll use Google Maps or Mapquest to fine tune our route. Have talked to sooooo many RVers that end up going down 2 miles of unpaved road to get to the same places we get with no problem . . . via paved roads! :)

  2. When traveling I also plotted my course like you do, maps work really well, and the computer mapping was helpful. I would write out lists of turns like you do, taped to the steering wheel :)

  3. Denise, we fully understand your GPS concerns. It is also our experience that this thingy can make you VERY nervous, especially when you are alone in the rig. Even after brand new updates they are never updated enough to keep you from making a U-turn on the Interstate. LOL.
    And sometimes they get you off the beaten track and under a too low bridge. There IS a version available for truckers and big rig drivers. But I don't know any details about it other than it DOES cost a lot of money. Too bad you crushed your little camera in the slide-out.

  4. We bought a new battery for Terry's computer on I can't remember exactly what the cost was but around $45-$50. That was quite some time ago and it's still working great. Get a generic.

    We always plot our trip on the computer before we head out. It's a double check and most of the time gets us where we need to be without too many problems.

  5. New battery. Buy it on eBay. Comes from Taiwan, same battery, $25.00. Had mine 3 years now.

  6. I also plot out our route using the Atlas and Mapquest and Google Earth so I have a really good idea of where we want to be. Then when we use the GPS, I double check everything it tells me. We did the same as Jeri - we ordered a new battery for my computer from Amazon for about $45. I figure it'll get us through another year or two before I have to get a new computer.

  7. Funny you say that. I was driving back home yesterday and thought what a godsend GPS is for solo travelers. Couples have one person to read the map and navigate. I can't imagine not having my trusty Garmin GPS. (My Roadtrek came with a built-in Tom-Tom and it's just about worthless).

  8. We use a Garmin and only once did it try to take a short cut to our destination by taking us on a gravel road. With a tiny bit of homework - looking at a map - in advance of the drive, we knew that the first exit was not the best exit.

    In major metropolitan areas, our Garmin has served us perfectly well. Updating our Garmin is easy and the updates do make a difference.

  9. I've been using GPS since late 90's never had any use for a Garmin. Mostly used a laptop with street atlas with a plug in GPS to tell me where I was any time I stopped. When traveling by car mid afternoon stops allowed me to find hotels with information about price range pets and the like.
    Now I've gone to smart phone with great camera and mapping with poi that does everything the laptop did. I use copilot which is not dependent on internet so I can plan a trip with stops that allow me to view the location and know if it misguides me, only time I ended up in wrong place is when I thought I knew better and didn't follow the directions it gave or didn't understand due to hearing loss.

  10. Sassy

    On a recent trip our Garmin basically did the same thing told us to turn left on a street that wasn't there. then it had done the same thing several times before.
    some times I think that they are just another expensive toy.

  11. You know, we lived for years without having a GPS and somehow we always managed to get to our destination. I wonder how we did it?

    I took a local bus trip during an event a few years ago and the driver had his directions taped to the steering wheel just like you do.

    Then the other day my GPS went black while I was driving. So glad I had done my research in advance so knew what road signs to look for.

    Skip the GPS; do what you know works for you.

  12. I think it's best to plan out the route, then set the GPS, but still check maps to be sure that the GPS doesn't steer you wrong! Mine tried to send me a very long way home from Dallas a few weeks ago. Fortunately, I already knew what route to take, so I told her to shut up & turned her off!

  13. Using GPS, while driving, on a hand held phone has just been ruled illegal in CA by the state supreme court.