Nav & Tech 002GPS navigation, cellular phones, Bluetooth technology, what did we ever do before these became common place in our lives?  I remember when one could take a road trip for several hundred miles without the thought of a need for any of these things.

The time when you could drive your car or RV all day or cruise the aisles of a grocery store without the need to have a cell phone constantly stuck to your head.  Paper maps or map books guided us throughout the country without issue.  We didn’t need any robotic sounding female voice constantly chanting directions as we made our way across the country.

Nav & Tech 003Don’t get me wrong, these modern marvels are great to have, but as a luxury, not a necessity.  I have GPS navigation in all my vehicles.  I travel with On-Star, a Blackberry, a cellular phone and an air card.  Each has their own unique telephone number including a separate data number and a separate fax number.  That’s a total of six phone numbers for one vehicle.  Remember party-lines, they were one number per two houses.  How things have changed.  In addition to the more complex world of wireless products are the inevitable monthly costs.  There are countless plans available with add-ons, features and ala carte on the side.  Five hundred minutes per month, evening and weekends unlimited (Capped at 1000 minutes) from 8:07 PM to 6:04 AM week days. Free calling on the third Thursday of the month during a full moon providing your birthday falls within the 18 days either side and Thursday’s date is an even number.  (Additional restrictions may apply)  Hmmmm ………………………..Think I will just use it and hope for the best.  Later on I get my first bill.  It looks equally confusing, but wait, roaming charges?  What are roaming charges?  Well, apparently if you roam out of your home area, roaming charges may apply.  But I bought the phone so that I could roam the countryside in my RV.  If I stayed home I don’t need it, I have a phone already there.  Oh well, I guess I’ve got to live with it.

Now, Bluetooth technology, you just got to have one of those.  It makes phones hands free either using a headset or you can turn your entire vehicle into a hands free device.  Oh yes, this changes listening to the mother-in-law with the handset at your ear, of course with the ability to move it away on occasion, to something else.  Instead you can hear her familiar smiling voice booming out of your stereo speakers.  Spare me, please.

Nav & Tech 001So now let’s look at the GPS.  The problem is, if you rely totally on it, you will be at the mercy of Nagging Norma.  “Make a U-turn if possible” is her standard phrase when ever she has lost her bearings, and believe me, she does on occasion.

What about young people today?   With nearly ever vehicle either coming equipped with GPS navigation or added to it, do they even know how to get from A to B without one?  Is it like the manual transmission that few young people have ever driven, or ever will for that matter?  Or math without a calculator?   Yikes!

It just seems life was simpler in the past, not necessarily better, just simpler.

Just Stirring The Pot    –    Lug_Nut     –      Peter Mercer    

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  2. Lug_Nut

    Jo, Yes, it is different strokes for different folks. I have an article specifically adressing GPS types and uses coming up in the next month or so. You may find it of interest. Thank you for your input on this subject.

  3. Jo

    There have been numerous times having the Navigation system has saved our butts. (We have one in each CUV/SUV & the RV.) Either saving time or from getting lost in what seemed “never-never” land. Also use a road atlas most of the time to “get the big picture.” We don’t have the air-card but, that’s not to say we won’t one day. We do have a cell phone (don’t use data) after having had the pay-as-you-go until it just got too expensive, from no use & losing money or overuse costing more than a regular monthly bill. So it’s different strokes for different folks.

  4. Brent & Family, Wow! I’m trusting you actually use all that. I too carry a fair amount, not quite your batch, but enough to be able to keep in touch with business. A lot of people think it is not real camping if you have to be wired. Well, in my case, and maybe yours too, having the means to communicate with business at home, is the reason I have the time to roam. Thank you for your list of multi equipment and technology and your excellent input.

  5. Brent & Family

    I think we a a little more High Tech then our RV…

    At last count I had 12 devices that need to use my internet connection (12 ip addresses of my one router).

    We have 2 cell phones that have wi-fi capability.
    one laptop
    one desktop pc
    a network printer
    a shared network drive
    an ipod touch
    a wii gaming system
    an xbox
    our dish network DVR is connected
    and our camera has eye-fi to send our photos over the network
    and we have a webcam that does not require a pc.

    We have all this hooked up to a cradlepoint router and use a ethernet bridge to turn wi-fi into our WAN. I was using a laptop connect card…but had to switch between two cards to avoid the overage…both companies limited us to 5GB per month. Clear WIMAX can not expand soon enough…

    We have 3 digital cameras, 2 GPS units, bluetooth, and mp3 players galore…my biggest task every night is making sure I have everything plugged in to recharge…

  6. Hi John, I guess that just underlines the fact that GPS programs are written generally for cars and may get you in trouble driving a large RV. Thank you for your participation and interesting input.

  7. John

    Hi Lug_Nut,
    GPS units can be a great help but, should be used wisely. GPS technology can’t see that there is snow or other obstructions on a road. A recent trip by an Orgeon couple was proof of that. They went on a trip to vist family on Boxing Day and used their new GPS Christmas present. They ended up on a shorter route suggested by the GPS and got stuck in the boonies and were snowed in until help arrived afew days later.
    Maps are a good backup.


  8. Marlan at RV52, Yes there are many personalities from make to make. I would expect some differences especially when comparing U.S. and european programmed units. Thank you for your great input on this topic.

  9. GPS have personalities too :

    My father-in-law’s Acura gets REAL MAD at him when he takes a wrong turn, saying “TURN AROUND NOW”, “TURN AROUND’ and its very, very forceful.

    Now I rented a Mercedes recently and she acted very nicely … She would say in this very charming British accent “If at all possible, make a U-turn at your earliest convenience”.

    We’ve also noted that GPS that have navigation from Navteq act a bit quircky too.

    I can’t live without my atomic clock indoor outdoor thermometer. No need to EVER go outside again! I can just see if it is hot – cold – or just right.


  10. Brad Fuller, I think there are many that feel similar to you, albeit not so experienced. There is a feeling of being tethered when you are that accessible 24-7. Thank you for taking the time to participate and for your interesting input.

  11. Funny thing is I’m a very technical person and hear what you say about all of these gadgets but I still don’t subscribe to the idea that we really need these things. I grew up reading maps and went into the Navy and used maps while flying airplanes at 500 miles per hour at 500 feet above the ground. I’m never lost but occassionally become temporaily disoriented. This Christmas my wife bought me my first GPS. I don’t need it but will use it since she bought it for me. I don’t carry a cell phone because I don’t want people calling me while I’m away from the phone at home. I do have Onstar in the truck just in case I need to call someone and because you can’t find payphones any more. I like technology but sometimes I just feell the need to get away from constant contact.

  12. gmas, Glad you found the article of interest. Thank you for taking the time to post your comment.

  13. gmas

    Wow.. good article… yep a lot of the newbies would be lost without their high tech gadgets… but strange the road seems to go on without ’em… as you can only go two ways.. on it… either going or comming… smile

  14. Curtis McRee, Good going! I’ve got a feeling you will still be driving the open roads long after many. Thank you for posting. It’s great to hear happy people. Thanks for your great post.

  15. Thomas Becher, Wow! Sounds like you and your GPS have a long time relationship. Better tell her about the young one you have been eyeing. Don’t do a Tiger Woods now. Thanks for your excellent input. Cheers.

  16. Larry Gallagher, I love your descriptions of your GPS. Thank you for joining in on the fun and for your input.

  17. Dogleg, Glad you enjoyed the article. Sounds like you got it right. So, can I borrow your wife when you are not travelling? Thanks for the great input and for taking the time to participate.

  18. Tommy, Yes, the embracing of new things is always a challenge for many. Thanks for shining that light on it and for your participation on this topic.

  19. butterbean carpenter, Hey, great, I love it. Thanks for your humorous comments and super input.

  20. Nancy Gearheart, Good for you, kick that GPS to the curb. Nothing beats the old true way. Thank you for your input on this topic.

  21. I have been traveling in a Class A motorhome since 1974. Some times part time, some times full time as of 1997. I get to anywhere I want to go in the U.S.A
    I don’t use any of those electronics you speak of. I am 75 years young and I can still find my way to anywhere I want to go.If people don;t use their BRAINS,
    instead of relaying on all those gadgets, then you are helping yourself get
    a bad case of dementious. or the dreaded brain decease. Al.
    All of my factalties are working fine and I plan to keep R.Ving for many more years to come. I do carry a pay as you go phone to keep in touch with my family.
    and I carry a laptop computer. I use wifi when a camp site has it. I life a simple
    uncomplicated life as I go along enjoying life with NO STRESS.
    That is my Story and I’m sticking to it. By the way, I plan to live to be over 100 years young, I have a good start on that.

    Curtis McRee

  22. Thomas Becher

    I don’t go anywhere without my GPS sweetheart. When I get in a strange city, she’s been there before and usually knows were I want to go. Oh sure, sometimes she had a Senior moment too, but most of the time she’s dead on. Maybe she could have taken a different street that might have gotten us there faster of avoided a toll but she’s worth every penny I paid for her. Don’t let her know but i’m looking at her younger sister, the one with lane assist. In the past , I knew their Aunt, Miss Garmin StreetPilot III . Boy did she age, with her little screen,no color and constant pushing of all the buttons. She was also an expensive date. About $1000. The new girls are cheap dates at around $150 -$200 . Remember He who dies with the most toys WINS

  23. Larry Gallagher

    I really find the GPS great if your in a strange city. Otherwise, I just let David (the girls talk too soft for my half deaf ears) babble in the background. I love to hear him say in a discusted voice..Reeecalculating..when i don’t take his desired route. The air card was a definate asset when we were in the middle of nowhere in the desert and couldn’t get a signal on the cell phone. the’re both Verizon (go figure). The air card always came through. As far as bluetooth goes, I’m just happy that at my age I don’t have yellow tooth..enough said..

  24. Dogleg

    Hey, Lug_Nut,

    Clever article…really and truly! I enjoyed it. Yeah, I have all those gizmos, too. Wireless LAN in the MH, GPS in triplicate, Cellphones and Skype. Y’know…could live without, but would rather not.

    But the one High-tech thing that I have that I’ll betcha y’all may not have considered… is a really brainy NAVIGATOR with a decent pair of binoculars!! OK, she also stays online continuously for weather, reservations, and contacts during the whole time we’re traveling, keeps the GPS in front of her constantly, and isn’t hesitant to ask directions at gas stations. LOL! But nothing is more up-to-date than the current road sign 500 feet ahead that she’s looking at.

    Ya just cannot replicate that, can you my friend?

  25. Tommy

    Each new generation reminisces on “the old days” or laments the passing of an era. I’m sure the folks that took up William F Buckley’s advice were equally reminiscent as the later generations came via train (whether wagon or iron horse).

    We can either embrace technology or live in the past. The nice thing about the RV lifestyle (still) is we can have it both ways or any combination thereof 😉


  26. butterbean carpenter

    Howdy lugnut,

    You mean I can actually operate my MH without all of these components I don’t
    understand how to werk?? Even my stereo that came with it doesn’t werk…but
    with the state maps, that fall apart after 2r3 foldings, It is possible to find my way
    across the vast trackless expanse of our WONDERFUL country…. My xwife & her
    husband have a GPS in their rig and it led them a merry chase in the Nevada and
    California hear it is really a spooky story..hwy-2lane-1lane-to cow
    path-to hwy…no way to turn around and he is in very ill health…

  27. Nancy Gearheart

    Next summer I plan to put a bunch of miles on my rig. My GPS tells me I have made a “fatal error” so is out of commission. I will use my atlas and state maps for road directions, cell phone for reservations, etc., and my laptop with air card for email, points of interest on my route and games. Now how can I go wrong…