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My GPS Page

First a plug. I get my GPS units at TVNAV.com They have always been very helpful and havesome of the lowest prices around.
Here is a web page that has lots of GIS information

A few years, on a rally, a friend and I got behind and they got impatient and picked up the signs. The map was worthless. A well meaning local gave us direction, but it was the wrong direction.  Luckily I was able to figure out the vague map and we rode in.  A week later I purchased my first GPS. Really all I needed was an excuse anyway.


My first GPS was a Garmin GPS III+.  It cost $300.00 when it was new.  It does everything a good bike computer can do except cadence.  The main highways are always on the unit and detailed street maps can be uploaded from a CD. The poor thing now sits in a closet. It works but the battery box shorted out. For a while I used an external battery box. It worked fine but the battery box was difficult to hang on the bike. I don't need it anymore so if you read this and want it; send me an E-mail.

Well someone did want it and it is gone.

Next I got a Garmin Etrex.  It cost me $70.00 on sale. I used it mostly for walking the dog. (We took long walks sometimes)  It gives me distance, speed, average speed among other data.  Also, when pre-set, it will show the direction and distance back to the start or to another preset point.  There is no map but a crude display of the route traveled. 
I can see where it would come in handy when hiking. However I have noticed it cuts out when under trees so in the deep woods it could be worthless.
Lately my dog has gotten to old for long walks so I use this GPS for directions to a rally. I use the computer map to find the start point and program it into the GPS. In the wee morning hours when I am half awake the GPS will show me an arrow pointing to the start point. More than once it has gotten me to the right way when my instincts said to try the other way. It even helps me to get out of town. I don't know about you but after a few twists and turns to get to parking, the way out can be a real mystery. The GPS records the trail I came in on and I just follow the trail to get back to the main road.
Not too long ago I drew a route on the Garmin software and discovered that I send it to the ETrex and it Arrow would follow that route.

On the bike I now use an eTrex Vista. It is the same size as the Etrex above, but about half the size of the GPS III+. It has more memory so I can store more maps and/or routes. In addition to everything the GPS III+ had it also has a chart for altitude.
If I get ambitious I can program in a route on the computer and upload it to the GPS. Set the GPS to navigation and it shows an arrow for the direction of travel and the arrow will "bend" in the direction of an upcoming turn.


My latest is the VistaCX - It is the successor to the Vista above and has a color screen. I am not a fan of color for the outdoors. The screen is so much harder to see than the B&W Vista in sunlight. While the Vista above had four large data fields, in the trip computer mode, the VistaCX only has three .

I took both the Vista Cx and the edge on a field trip using the Auto routing. Both worked fine untill I got off I-30 then stalled. I reset on the return trip and got "Find I-30 and make a left" Doing some research I discovered that both the Vista and the edge will follow the base map, which is major highways only. If you want it to work on side streets you need the "City Navigatror" and that is another $139.00.

Now I have an Edge 605. To be blunt at first I was not impressed. It is a LAP computer, not a trip computer. Most riders will want the Edge 705 which is the same thing but also has Cadence and Heart rate monitor. I figure I already have heart rate and cadence. The edge has a real neat feature where you can select the number of data fields you want to read. this works great except the more fields the smaller the letters. For me, on a recumbent, the color screen is not always easy to read. I can always read my existing heart rate monitor and cadence on my standard Cateye bike computer. One thing I did not like is that the average speed is "overall average" so you can't stop or the average goes down. The Vistas above both have "average while running". Turns out I was wrong, that setting can be changed. And you can set it to stop calculating when the bike slows down.
I was so impressed with the Edge's auto routing that I broke down and bought a NUVI 660, Also Garmin. Right after I got it, I went to my grandaughter's wedding near Seattle. I entered my daughter's address, the church, the motel and the airport rental dropoff. Thru the entire weekend I never once looked at a map. The GPS took me everywhere without a hitch.

My wife has a Garmin NUVI 2555 LMT. The LMT stands for Life Time Maps and Traffic included. (I have lifetime Maps on the NUVI 660 but it cost me an extra $100.00) It is interesting to see the differences 5 years make. The 2555 turns on and loads 10 time faster than the old 660. Also no more "calculating" it calculates so fast.

So why use a GPS when a Basic bike computer will do?  For one, the GPS will save a trail on the map so you can see where you have been.  This can come in handy if you wish to return thru unfamiliar territory.
Before leaving on a ride I will set a "waypoint" now the GPS will tell me the distance to return and the direction, both "as the crow flies"' of course.
By using the CD on a computer you can plot a route and upload it to the GPS. Also you can input a route directly into the GPS but it is a lot of work, sorta like texting.
Once at a rally I lost track of the way back to my parking lot.  It was downtown and everything looked the same.  Before I left the truck I had set the return waypoint so I changed the GPS screen to a arrow that points to the destination, then rode and the arrow pointed the way to the truck.
It has been a while since I have been to this page so it is time for an update.
I don't use routes, I have seen routes take gravel roads just because it is a foot shorter and so on. I prefer to follow a track.