Patti’s Saga of an RV Rookie: Life On the Road or How to Destroy Your New Hubcaps While Your Husband Faints

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May 12, 2011

We did it! We drove from Prescott, Arizona to Whitefish, Montana (our first major RV trip) and loved it. However,  there’s a reason I titled my blog “Saga of an RV Rookie” and that’s pretty much because this is the journey of two people who have no idea what they’re doing. I’m inviting you to follow along, either to commiserate with us or laugh at us, because we love your company.

 Our trip, thank God, was largely uneventful.  The irritations were few, hubby withstood my myriad observations about his driving (even though I was the one who hit the chunk of tire on the freeway, ripping off two hubcaps and a side panel in the process), our Winnebago View is AWESOME and perfect for us, technology was grand, and Sirius radio allowed us to listen to the humiliation of the LA Lakers as the Mavericks kicked their…anyway…you get the picture. And in my defense about hitting the tire chunk, I did hear him yelling “Whatever you do, don’t hit that tire!” but I couldn’t swerve as far as I  needed to avoid the thing.  Something about a car being in the other lane.

Here’s what didn’t work, also known as “Why We’re returning our GPS.” Our gal, Jill, who does all the talking on our Garmin Nuvi 1300 GPS with free Mac downloads, is an idiot. I don’t think she’s ever traveled and if she has, she certainly hasn’t been to Las Vegas, Nevada. Instead of routing us around Las Vegas heading for I-15, Jill told us repeatedly to go through downtown Las Vegas and only when we got on to I-15 did she confess we were right. Uh huh…

Hubby thinks it may be because our particular GPS system uses free downloaded maps so we don’t have to pay a fee like some GPS units. I just read five million reviews of the unit, and many people say this GPS frequently gets things wrong around big cities . However, reviews all indicate  lots of GPS’ gets things wrong, no matter how top of the line they are.  Are our expectations of GPS capabilities too high? I’d appreciate your thoughts and experiences on this topic, if you have a minute.

We’re heading to Best Buy tomorrow, to tell them Jill wanted us to drive places where we would spend money on her friend’s hotels and restaurants, we don’t like her, and we want to trade  her in. Oh, and for the record, Las Vegas wasn’t Jill’s only ginormous gaffe.  She tried to drag us through downtowns three different times,  instead of routing us around those cities. And yes, we had the GPS set for shortest, fastest route. Lucky for us, we knew better than Jill, had a real map, and avoided a couple of major messes.

Jill, darling…I’m sure your mama loves you, but we don’t.              

Happy tales to you and yours, and let me know your sorrowful or great GPS stories.


PS:  I have lots to tell you about other things, including how  I made the best paella in the universe in our motor home. And I’ve been to Spain four times. I know paella.

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  1. Patti Faustini

    Hi Reinita…hubby and I were JUST talking about the navigators we had on our former LG Dare phones and how we miss them. We thought they were flawless. Well, except if I got incoming calls when using the navigator, it would freeze up my whole phone, but that’s another issue.

    We currently have iPhone4’s…and they don’t have navigators! At least, I haven’t discovered one. Wouldn’t you think a fancy phone like that would have a navigator? If anyone knows something about that, please let me know!

    Happy tales, Reinita, and it’s great hearing from you.


  2. I feel your pain. A while ago, DH and I got lost in a two-track road in northern Michigan on our way to a reportedly awesome fishing spot despite having a Garmin, a Blackberry and an iPhone.
    Thankfully, DH has a sense of direction, even when I don’t. I would still be stuck there and potentially could have died in a bear mauling. (Yes, I lean toward the melodramatic.)
    Then there was the time when our dear, dear GPS told us to go around in a circle for no reason whatsoever somewhere between Michigan and South Carolina (it was a loooong trip).
    DH wants me to tell you that the Google navigator on our Droid phones are much better than the Garmin. We’ve actually stopped even using the Garmin. In fact, gonna go post it on Craig’s List.

  3. Patti Faustini

    Hi Verla, and you’re making a lot of sense! I will start cutting Jill some ( a little) slack. I like your idea to check out the route with a map and a GPS before the trip starts. I was naive to think the GPS would be the be-all-end-all of the navigation world. I kind of thought they were like magic! I know…kind of sad and maybe a little scary, but I confess it. That’s what I thought! Stay in touch with more of your great comments!

    Happy Tales,


  4. It used to be that we would never leave for parts unknow without consulting a map or at least throwing one in the car. Now we just grab our trusty little gadgets and take off. I love my GPS, and yes she does make mistakes, but she makes alot less mistakes that my human copilot who even had the map in his lap. At least she can get us out of the fixes she might get us into. I visit Pittsburgh often and I wouldn’t even consider navigating their roads without my GPS. There is no way I could read a map and drive in that city.

    You need to realize that shortest and fastest might not be the same thing. Fastest might mean a longer route but faster roads like four lanes. Shortest might take you on cut through roads that are narrow and a lot of jack leg turns. It is only a machine and makes its decisions on facts. It can’t make judgment calls. at least not yet.

    I usually plan my route with a map and GPS. I see what the Gps suggests and then review it on a map to see if I agree. The GPS is usually pretty much on the $. Sometimes it can take you to some strange places that I actually find interesting. Once we decided to let it take us the shortest not fastest route to a known destination just to see what she suggested. We ended up going through a sugarcane field on a less than dirt road. It had to have been a road or she wouldn’t have known of it’s existence but it didn’t appear to be a road by any stetch of the imagination.

    So cut the little lady some slack, she is still better than trying to read a map and drive.

  5. Patti Faustini

    Hi there, Randy! The things we learn from our Woodall’s family…who knew freeway tire chunks were called “alligators” and hubcaps are called “wheel skins?” I feel so “in the know” now!

    Hmmmm…getting a real trucker/rv GPS. That sounds heavy duty and like something that may actually work. I wonder if they cost zillions of dollars. I’m going to research those. The thought of going through four GPS’s to get a great one is as appealing as taking a shower in our last KOA. But I don’t know if it’s ok to talk about that or not!

    Happy Tales, Patti

  6. Patti Faustini

    Hey Gary, and it’s always great hearing from you. Sounds like your Gabby and Jill could be good girlfriends! And it IS a nerve wracking thought that our military might be counting on GPS systems like “cross the road for no good reason Gabby!” Kind of like leaving the toddlers to babysit the newborns….

    Happy Tales, Patti

  7. Patti Faustini

    Hey Scott, looks like it’s going to be the Heat vs the Bulls…no Mavs for us to root for. Sorry about that! You know, you have a good point about our GPS’. Maybe they are right more often than they’re wrong, and I’ve been too tough on Jill. She has been a good girl from time to time. And, as you point out, with all their flaws, the GPS’ have “saved our bacon!”

    The paella recipe is on the way.

    Happy Tales, Patti

  8. Patti Faustini

    Hello Jon, and how nice to hear from you. I’m going to research the Rand McNally motor home GPS. I’ll write a review of it here. It would be great if one designed for RVers worked really great. Thanks for the tip.

    Happy Tales, Patti

  9. Patti Faustini

    Hey Corey, and nice hearing from you. I don’t know what happened to the Lakers…we could only hear the game, but others have said they lacked drive, spirit,and Phil Jackson said they seemed ‘depressed.” Maybe they’re depressed because they make so little money? hmmm….It sounds like Dundee and Jill would get along great. Maybe this is why God made maps!

    Happy tales, Patti

  10. Professor95

    Yes, Patti, I can tell you are still a RV Rookie 🙂

    “(even though I was the one who hit the chunk of tire on the freeway, ripping off two hubcaps and a side panel in the process)”

    Those tire chunks are called “Alligators” and the hub caps are “Wheel Skins”. Of course, much of this comes from Smokey and the Bandit CB lingo in the days of the great fuel embargo and “Screamin’ Chickens” (Pontiac Trans Am for you rookies).

    We are on our 4th GPS. If I had only let go of a few moldy bills to start with and purchased a real Trucker/RV GPS I would have saved quite a bundle. We still have a Garmin, but the software (maps) and routing warn us of one way roads, low bridges, weight stations, red-light cameras and provide trucker type routing which is what we need when towing or driving a motor home.

    Good luck on getting your money back and avoiding a 15% restocking fee where you bought your Nuvi. I’ve had one too many bad experiences with that electronics chain on a similar return.

    Great post! I too love your stories.


  11. Gary

    Our Gabby does the same thing, like making you cross the highway and going down two blocks and then turn to get on the same highway you crossed in the first place. The scarey thing is that we got the GPS system from our military. I hope they don’t have the same problems with theirs like we do.

  12. Scott Alexander

    We call our Garmin, “GyPSy”, and she does occasionally err regarding the best route. However, she has saved our bacon many times, and I wouldn’t leave home on a trip without her. When I think she’s wrong, it turns out that she’s almost always right.

    So sorry about your Lakers, but we won’t mind if you cheer on our Mavs! We thoroughly enjoy your posts. Can’t wait for your paella recipe!

  13. Jon

    That seems to be a problem with all GPS’s …Mine tends to do that all the time.. I am going to try the new one by Rand McNally designed for motor homes.. If anyone gets one please let the rest of us know how it works.

  14. Corey

    Hahahaha…your posts always make me smile. My GPS is named Dundee and he talks in an Australian accent. Dundee and I USUALLY get along well, but sometimes he guzzles down too many Foster’s and leads me down no name streets to who knows where. Then me and Dundee have words…

    On a side note…Why Lakers? Why? Pau Gasol looked asleep in these playoffs!