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Old 08-19-2019, 12:06 PM   #1
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Best RV route advisor?

We are heading out in a couple of weeks for 2 months of camping around the US. Interested in hearing what apps have been helpful for others in choosing best routes. For instance, what is the best route around Chicago instead of going through the city?
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Old 08-19-2019, 02:10 PM   #2
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I've been working on planning for long trip next year, and, I think the problem is, every program, web site, app, and driver is going to have a different definition of "best".


One thing I might consider now that I wouldn't have before, is using Waze to do this actively on the day of travel.


The other thing that is missing from your scenario is more specifics of the direction from which you are approaching Chicago, and where you want to be on the other side.
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Old 08-19-2019, 03:09 PM   #3
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ref bypassing chicago...from where are you coming and to where are you going?
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Old 08-19-2019, 06:20 PM   #4
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I donít need specific directions around or through Chicago, just interested in learning what apps folks like for RV routing (as opposed to regular maps/GPS which sometimes donít give RV friendly routes). We have 2018 Navion 24D, which does have navigation system, but wonder if people have apps they prefer.
Thanks
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Old 08-19-2019, 07:28 PM   #5
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I have not found one solution. I use a combination of Map Quest which post alternate route, iphone, a couple of different GPS units, paper map and forums such as this.
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Old 08-19-2019, 09:10 PM   #6
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i use our in-dash Rand McNally GPS and if we're in a new area one where we have not been in a while i will check the route the GPS recommends against our RM Trucker's atlas.
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Old 08-20-2019, 06:52 AM   #7
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The best advice I can offer is to not rely on any single tool. We use a Garmin 770 RV GPS as our primary tool. Then we use a hardcopy of the Motor Carrier's Road Atlas plus Google maps as backups. On travel days, I input the destination in to the GPS and then review it using the atlas and google maps. It makes a nice activity while I drink my coffee. Also, beware of smart phone based apps that require a data connection. You hit many holes in coverage as you travel and can be left blind. Finally, always ask the destination campground for advice on the best approach to their site. They often know way more than any GPS or app.
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:19 AM   #8
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Best Route Advisor

Not always the "best" advisor but I always listen.... The Audible Route-ometer in the passenger seat.
There is no way to turn it off and if you ignore it it just gets louder.
Also have an Audible Wave-ometer in the boat, works the same. Regards, Mike
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Old 08-21-2019, 06:45 AM   #9
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Not always the "best" advisor but I always listen.... The Audible Route-ometer in the passenger seat.
There is no way to turn it off and if you ignore it it just gets louder.
Also have an Audible Wave-ometer in the boat, works the same. Regards, Mike
Yes, I forgot about this advisor. Sounds like we have the same model except mine also has the I Told You So option that repeatedly updates me whenever we go astray.
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Old 08-25-2019, 05:56 PM   #10
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We have been in all 49 states, all Canadian provinces, the length of Baja, and western Mexico to Mazatlan. After all that my favorites are CoPilot, a world wide GPS app which doesn't use a data plan, and AllStaysCamp&RV app for finding campgrounds of all kinds, gas stations, rest stops, Costco, Sam's Club, etc. Also campgroundreviews.com for opinions on different camping venues.
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Old 08-25-2019, 06:16 PM   #11
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RV Trip Wizard
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Old 08-25-2019, 06:25 PM   #12
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We've been on the road for 7 weeks now, our first big trip. Southwest FL to Chicago and then back, all at state parks. We've used a combo of our Garmin 770 RV GPS, Google Maps, and the LowClearances.com database imported into Google MyMaps. (I've seen too many of those videos on RVs banging into low bridges so I'm paranoid about it) The combination has served us pretty well, but the Garmin can be frustrating when I want to plot a slightly different route that I found on Google maps. Inputting waypoints along the way can be tedious. We've gone to just ignoring the GPS at times and letting it recalculate until the routes are in sync.

I'll second BlueRidge's comment about calling the campground for the best approach route. We had a pretty stressful approach to Kiasutha campground in the Allegheny National Forest thanks to some local road closures and Google leading us astray down a gravel country road which quickly went to single lane with no shoulders and no place to turn around. (we're in a 31' class A and towing a CRV) If I had called in advance, it would have save a lot gray hairs. At another campground, we navigated to the wrong entrance (not knowing there was more than than one CG section) and had to re-route back to the correct one.

I've also used All Stays, Campendium, CampgsitePhotos. Also heard good things about RV Trip Planner but haven't had a chance to review it yet.

And coincidentally, we are now staying at Illinois Beach State Park just north of Chicago. We drove in from Indiana and I was worried about the city traffic, so we chose to take I-294, thinking it would keep us way west of the city. Well, we were west of I-94 but it was very busy and still city. The urban sprawl around Chicago is quite extensive!

Safe travels!
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Old 08-25-2019, 09:56 PM   #13
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Paper maps are a must

My experience is that paper maps of the states are a must. They can show you the big picture far better than the digital GPS displays. The truck atlas mentioned above sounds good, but we have always relied on a handful of AAA maps. Free with membership.
Don't get me wrong. You will want a good GPS. I like the bigger Garmin units 6" or 7" for easy visibility.
Coincidentally, we had to bypass Chicago a few weeks ago and used I-355 and I-290. It was definitely the best route and planned it on the paper maps, then configured the GPS to go that way.
Happy travels!
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Old 08-26-2019, 05:03 AM   #14
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I use https://www.rvtripwizard.com/, they have , for us, been very good. You let it know how high, wide, long, and heavy you are and it keeps you out of trouble. You can customize your routes by dragging anytime as well keep adding stops. You can have show campgrounds, fuel stops, Walmart's, ect.
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Old 08-26-2019, 06:42 AM   #15
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For routes, I usually use the Rand McNally unit in my RV and sometimes double check it with Google Maps. For trip planning, I generally use Furkot and RV Parky. ( furkot.com and rvparky.com )
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Old 08-26-2019, 07:36 AM   #16
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Thanks for the link to Furkot. I had not heard of that one before.
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Old 08-26-2019, 09:47 AM   #17
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Been full timing for well over 1 year. Re: Route planning learned the following:
1> GPS is the last tool used - never the 1st. You need to know where you are going and basically how to get there before trusting GPS.
2> Start with paper maps and/or Google Maps on a computer. Phone based Google Maps does not begin to offer a large enough screen to see the area to be traveled.
3> Large screen Google Maps usually offers several different route choices. Can also filter choices based on Toll roads, highways, etc.
4> Allstays - Great App which we used to ID fuel stops, campgrounds, specific stores, low bridges, etc.. Not great for map route planning but great for showing these locations. So if we want to get fuel & propane at a specific place such as Love's or Flying J we can route ourselves to one of these in the direction we are heading. Great for finding Trader Joes or Walmarts. BTW - we have ended up doing much of our grocery shopping at Walmart Super Centers all across the country. Found that their grocery selection has gotten much, much better over the years and their prices are low and very consistent. Allstays is best at showing campgrounds & parks along with reviews and viewers suggestions. Have found some great places using this.
5> Find the Satellite and Street views on Google maps very useful for judging entry /exit routes into parking lots and campgrounds. For our Class A, towing a car, have found some gas station where there was no good exit from the pumps as they have been oriented straight into their main building. Prefer pumps oriented parallel to them.
6> So - having a destination in mind, with possibly some stops along the way for fuel & food helps determine which roads we will take. Can lay this out in Google Maps and see total distance & travel time. Just saw a YouTube Fulltimer review of RV Trip Wizard which they like a lot so will look into that app as well.
7> Beware GPS! There have been a number of times where our GPS has given very quirky, and even really bad, directions. Once it tried to route our 12' RV under an 11' bridge, and then when traveling to get around that on an alternate route it literally directed us through the Tennessee woods on bad dirt roads over a mountain - only to come back out on the same road we had been on previously. Has also told us to exit an Interstate - travel a few miles on some back roads, only to put us back onto the same Interstate! We use GPS still but having used the other tools mentioned we at least have a good idea of when GPS is mis-directing us.
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Old 08-26-2019, 10:34 AM   #18
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Thanks for the link to Furkot. I had not heard of that one before.
X2 .... thanks!
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Old 08-26-2019, 12:07 PM   #19
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If you can spare a hr n half route yourself through Indianapolis. You'll save $$ too as no tolls. Hope your not dependent on Verizon n Google Maps. Both have been increasingly undependable on Coast to Coast travels. I'm thinking of going back to Garmin. Safe journey
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Old 08-26-2019, 03:55 PM   #20
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Use RV Trip Wizard especially if you donít have a Garmin GPs
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