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Old 05-18-2008, 08:46 AM   #1
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We are getting ready to go out on our first long RV trip in our Class C Winnie Aspect. My Tom Tom GPS system is recommending I go the fastest route which stays pretty much on major freeways. However, each daily trip leg is often 100 miles more (or greater) with the "fast" routing with a time savings of about an hour in most cases. Given that the motorhome probably isn't going to be driven at the max speed limit (say:75,) wouldn't I be better off going the shortest route?
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Old 05-18-2008, 08:46 AM   #2
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We are getting ready to go out on our first long RV trip in our Class C Winnie Aspect. My Tom Tom GPS system is recommending I go the fastest route which stays pretty much on major freeways. However, each daily trip leg is often 100 miles more (or greater) with the "fast" routing with a time savings of about an hour in most cases. Given that the motorhome probably isn't going to be driven at the max speed limit (say:75,) wouldn't I be better off going the shortest route?
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:03 AM   #3
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It depends how fast you want to get there.

Both my wife and I aren't retired and both of us have full time jobs, so we don't have time for rallies, "visiting" the factory for tours or service, or month long trips. When we do have time off, we set our Garmin 260W for the fastest route and usually go around 500 or so miles/day. Make sure you "block" car pool lanes, and enter yourself as a "truck". We are ALL FOR any time saved!
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Old 05-18-2008, 09:04 AM   #4
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Be careful with shortest routing - fine for a car but that might take you on roads not suitable for your rig. I always choose fastest unless we're dawdling and want to take in the scenery.

If the Tomtom lets you favor and avoid roads, tell it to avoid the small secondary roads unless you want some real adventure

Oh - never blindly a route - always review the routing beforehand to avoid surprises (ask me how I know this!)
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Old 05-18-2008, 12:44 PM   #5
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In trucking we had a saying "Miles are still Miles" and being that we were normally measured and costed on a per mile basis, we were trained to find the absolute shortest route possible. Trucking focuses a lot of cost per mile, and being that the load and the driver normally pay per mile this makes sense. The loads are normally quoted using Rand McNally Map Miles, which is often referred to in the trade as "Book Miles" vs. Actual or "Hub" miles.
That being said, Hub is normally about 10% greater than Book, but, the money is all based on book, so it is the only accurate way to track this. A Good Driver finds ways to timely make the shortest route. The focus isn't normally on the time it takes, but the length of haul...

That being said, your GPS will most likely lead you down some pretty obnoxious trails taking the shortest route. The Interstate, and US highways are most generally faster, but you are correct, it doesn't take much before they add up lots of Out Of Route Miles. Keep in mind that Miles are Miles, and More Miles means more fuel, maintenance, and risk.

For me, GPS or Mapping programs are the start and end of my trip planning. They give me an idea of how I want to go, and then I reference the GPS when when underway. The majority of route though is checked with paper maps or Google Maps, before departing, I especially like to see the sat photos of congested parts, or what might be tricky turns, or narrow cities. I use Delorme, installed on a "Dash" mounted laptop.

When routing, the best advice is never make any assumptions on routes never traveled. I have been in some really messed up situations with a tractor trailer... All of those times I got stuck, it was because I tried to cut a corner, or asked someone opinion... And no, I don't find it amusing when having to reverse for 6 blocks down a Chicago City Street because of a low bridge...

GPS is a great tool, but it is a REFERENCE tool, and should be used only with good common sense, and a really good paper map. I Like the Rand McNally Laminated Trucker's Atlas, and replace mine yearly, though I do normally wait till December since the truck stops put them out for 1/2 price when they are tring to get rid of them for next years version.

If I was depending only on the GPS, I would leave it set on a fast route, or stick to major highways, regardless of the time.

Just my thoughts!

John
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Old 05-18-2008, 01:37 PM   #6
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There are a couple of things I like about our DeLorme Street Atlas software for routing a trip for an RV. DeLorme lets you choose your preference of road type and even avoid certain types of roads (secondary roads or toll roads, for example). Not only can you specify fastest or shortest route, but you can also program your own preference for average speeds for different types of roads so the software plans your route based on the speeds you actually drive.

As others have said, don't just blindly accept the route any software, mapping web site, or GPS device gives you. Review the route before you attempt to drive it.
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Old 05-18-2008, 02:05 PM   #7
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John Canfield and Moder2 gave some excellent advice.
My garmin is always on fastest route. I have been led up some not so good roads for an RV when set on shortest route when in an area not familiar to me.
Besides that, you are still the BOSS where you want to go and the route traveled. If a really nice byway looks good., take it, turn the gps off the routing function, take the road and when your done, it will recalculate back to its origional track.
It is a great tool, but its not an absolute, must do what I say or else.
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Old 05-18-2008, 05:36 PM   #8
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As others have said, do not accept in blind faith the route your GPS or other routing device indicates. My copilot program tried to take me under a 10'6" overpass in Pensacola on the way to Destin, Fl. Yes, it was routing me as an RV. Fortunately I saw the overpass from about a block away and had time/opportunity to avoid the hazard. Needless to say, I no longer have an over abundance of confidence in "Copilot". I check every route against paper maps which makes me sometimes wonder why I ever bought the bleeping Copilot thing. DW refuses to use the thing.

BR(before retirement) our route was always "fastest". PR(postretirement) our routes are almost always scenic utilizing US Routes and primary state routes which generally translates to slower and more mileage but at less speed which makes the mileage average out about the same.
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Old 05-18-2008, 07:11 PM   #9
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Chief, liked our 17th avenue train trestle underpass, did you? That's one of the reasons why the airline pilots coming into Pensacola tell the passengers to set their watches back 50 years.

IBHIPRU2?, good advice given by all. GPS is not God. It does not think. It is merely another tool. Use the other tools to verify your route before you travel. Happy travels.
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Old 05-19-2008, 01:23 AM   #10
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Shortest route would work okay for traveling in the country and between cities but I have found that it is not good in cities. It will route you through the heart of the city and oftentimes through the worst (less safe) neighborhoods as well. There are times that it is better to drive a few miles on the city bypass than go directly through the town.
The other thought is about driving speeds. Staying on the Interstates puts you on the road with the trucks and you will be pushed to maintain their speed. In some areas is is downright unsafe to drive 55 mph. You will be overrun. But if you drive the secondary highways then 55 is a nice speed to drive and most other drivers are doing the same. Your miles per gallon will be better at 55 than at 65 or 70 so you will save money on fuel even if you do drive a few extra miles.
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Old 05-19-2008, 02:12 AM   #11
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We have been using delorme with laptop for years.I IS VERY adjustable as far as routing.I bought a hand held with tom tom 6 an is not very flexible no road prefernces just fastest an shortest.Fastest on one route took 10 min then switched to shortest took 45 min dirt roads an driving around in circules.If you plan route use fastest an then if you dont like route use alternate route.It works good but not deloreme or laptop.
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Old 05-19-2008, 04:15 AM   #12
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I am retired so I go The longest way its more senic but I don't have to be anywhere at any particular time.
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Old 05-19-2008, 04:32 AM   #13
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My experience with the MapSource City Navigator North America software used on my Garmin 2610 (motorcycle) and 2620 (truck) is that selecting "Shortest Distance" will produce exactly those results. This can (and has) put me on some roads (and I use the expression loosely) that are not suitable for RVs. I use the "Fastest Time" function as my default.

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Old 05-19-2008, 05:13 AM   #14
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I second the advice to not completely rely on your GPS. Mine,(Garmin), has taken me to some really lousy routes. Check your paper maps and know about what you want to do, then use GPS for local information .
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