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Filed under: Gadget Reviews, Technology & Camping

GPS Technology helps avoid Navigation Nightmares in winter!

January 9, 2012 by · 2 Comments 


After visiting with family and friends for the holidays, many full-timers are back on the road again in January, moving to new locales to explore and enjoy.

Driving through unfamiliar territory can bring the unexpected, especially during winter months.  A detour, a weather incident, or even an illness can cause a well-planned trip to turn into a navigation nightmare!

Fortunately, GPS technology can assist with many of these challenges.  Although car GPS has been around for some time, GPS devices designed specifically for larger-sized vehicles is fairly new.  And an RV is a very unique “larger sized” vehicle with legal and physical restrictions different than cars and even commercial trucks.  For instance, commercial trucks don’t carry propane, travel on back roads, or need dump stations.

Rand McNally, with its vast experience with car and truck navigation, most recently focused on RV-specific routing. The result?  The Rand McNally’s TripMaker® RVND™ GPS. The portable devices provide RV-specific routing as well as contain features and content to help with the unexpected, such as:

  • User-set warnings for road changes such as sharp curves, dirt roads, border crossings, toll booths, speed limit changes.
  • Listings of thousands of rest stops, truck stops and parks with specific amenities such as 24 hour pharmacies, dump stations, diesel fuel, and propane available.
  • Listings of dealers for repair of your vehicle, hospitals, and pet emergency facilities with phone numbers.
  • 3-D lane guidance feature providing advance notice of upcoming interchanges so that you can be in the correct lane ahead of time.
  • Routing to any point using RV-appropriate routes with legal and physical restrictions.

This story was recently shared by RVer Judy Jones, of Kerrville, Texas.

“We were on the Blue Ridge Parkway and had a flat on the RV.    We stopped in Blowing Wind, NC and used our car GPS to find a tire store.  When we got there, it was closed and then used the GPS to get back to town.  It directed us to Blackberry Street to get back to the main highway.  Blackberry was not the road for us! It had steep grades -one we got stuck on and almost burned up our transmission.  It turned into a dirt road for a few miles of up and down and then “a tunnel” which was narrow and low.  A friendly neighbor came out and was amazed that we were on Blackberry Road because no RV should be pulled on that road.  He helped us measure and we slowly made it through the tunnel.

Now we own a Rand McNally® TripMaker® GPS, which kept us out of trouble on our last trip.”

For more information on Rand McNally RV GPS visit


2 Responses to “GPS Technology helps avoid Navigation Nightmares in winter!”
  1. Alan says:

    GPS technology is one of the highly evolving technologies nowadays. I have a feeling that it will continue to get famous in the future. However bleak that future seems to those who labor to bring forth this technological advancement, it can still be considered promising.

    Some may be tricked in thinking however that they provide the best technology but the one you mentioned here is undoubtedly as promising as any other innovations offered in the market. Thanks for the insights.


  2. John Koenig says:

    My experience with the Rand McNally RVND7710 has been quite different, sadly in a bad way. I am reporting after having used the RVND7710 for almost one year with over 10,000 miles driven. I paid $370 at as a pre-order in October of 2011 (getting Lifetime Maps as a bonus). I did not receive the unit until December, 2011. The screen in NOT bright enough. Even at maximum brightness, when driving in bright sun, its washed out and very difficult to see clearly. On a bright sunny day, sunglasses are probably being worn which exacerbates the problem. My initial battery life was about an hour. After several charge / discharge cycles, battery life has improved but, still less than two hours. The Ram windshield mount is huge. Even when carefully mounted on clean glass, the mount has dropped off the windshield three times, one time resulting in a scratched GPS screen. Start up takes much longer than other GPS units I’ve used. In complicated interstate interchanges, the route you need to take is often NOT clearly marked. Several times, I’ve wound up on the wrong ramp because of this. This unit uses similar colors for adjoining roads / lanes. Couple that with a washed out screen and, on a complicated interchange, its easier to find yourself on the wrong ramp than the ramp you need. I’ve tried changing the color the route is depicted in but, the software changes to use similar colors on roads you don’t want to be on. There are only two voices, one male, one female. Both are poor. For a long time when I first started using the 7710, I thought it was saying SLIDE right. I finally realized it was saying SLIGHT right. Perhaps if there were more voices to chose from, there would be one that was clear. On my Mac OS laptop, the included software is strange. By default, it installs itself in such a way that it opens when the computer starts up. Even though the 7710 is NOT connected, the application opens. I have to Force Quit said application. It should only open when I call for it or, connect the 7710 to the USB port. Before I head out on the road, I connect the 7710 to my laptop and check for map updates. On the road, the information shown is wrong far more often than I think is reasonable. My 7710 routed me on a WI interstate that has been undergoing major renovation for well over a year. The exit it wanted me to take had been closed for months. While driving on I-15 heading through NV towards Los Angeles, the 7710 shows that the road just stops! (it doesn’t. I’ve seen that type of weirdness multiple times). The way of navigating around the 7710 is Byzantine. Far, far, FAR more complicated and difficult than TomTom and Garmin GPS units I’ve used. Although there are many features on the RVND7710, until Rand McNally can work out the numerous hardware and software short comings, my recommendation would be to NOT waste your money on this expensive but not ready for prime time GPS.

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