For an RVer, I’ve been rather behind the curve on many things. Navigation has been done using road signs, paper maps, and route notes on a clipboard. I have always been pretty good with directions and orientation, so that worked.
However, after reading Andy’s post about the Garmin USA app on his iPad, I saw the wisdom and convenience it could provide. Since I would be traveling in many unknown areas it sounded pretty useful. So, I got the Garmin-iPad combo prior to heading out for my northwest trek in April.
The expense was considerable for me. But, I reasoned that usefulness of GPS routing and multiple traveling apps justified the cost. At the touch of a finger I have available:
- Garmin USA: turn-by-turn routing
- Apple Maps: better than many think
- Google Earth: satellite views of locations
- US Public Lands: mapped boundaries of BLM, NF, NP, COE, etc.
- State Lines: road laws and info for each state
- Ultimate Campground Project: mapped public campgrounds
- Allstays Camp & RV: campground guide
- Oh Ranger: national parks finder and info
- RV Companion: personal camping and RV info
- Yelp: store, restaurant finder
- Wikihood: what’s in my area
- Gas Buddy: fuel finder
- Wx Alert: warns of bad weather
- Plus others
The mapping apps are especially helpful when looking for boondocking spots. With the iPad mounted just to the right of the steering wheel, and barely above the top of the dash, it’s a quick glance to see the screen. No blocked road view and or looking away.
And, it is conveniently next to a 12V outlet to keep it charged. Running the app can use up the battery quicker. I found a 2A plug that provides enough juice for the iPad.
Plus, the iPad mini 2 with Retina display and cellular Verizon will be the eventual replacement for my aging iPod touch. So, I also have all the utility that a tablet provides with internet, calendar, contacts, mail, messages, notes, first aid, music player, camera and numerous other helpful apps. It’s my news reader using Flipboard, and eBook reader. Eventually I’ll find time to sketch on it using the ArtRage app.
I have some Benchmark Atlases, local maps and reference material I still use. And of course, the laptop is great for trip planning and journaling. With these tools, I’m now up to speed for navigation and travel advice.
Note that the cellular version iPad includes a GPS receiver; so, the Garmin app can be used without an internet connection. The large display makes it easy to see with these old eyes. I’m really happy I bought this combination for GPS plus more.