What I Learned on the First Roadtrip of 2013 - Day 1
Essential Trip Stats
Days driven: 3
Time zones crossed: 2
Distance: 3715 km
low -15C, high 15C
What to do when you need a third opinion
ROADTRIP! I love the feeling of driving down freshly paved highways, especially when I haven’t had to live through the construction required to build them. One drawback of an upgraded highway can be that any realignment of the road hasn’t yet been shared with your navigation system.
Let’s take a step back.
We got a very early start to day one. Most people would consider it the middle of the night, myself included. Having double checked the driving conditions for our route the night before, we set out and four hours later we crossed into the United States.
Last year when taking our cross country roadtrip, we relied on the GPS navigation system in our car. We soon learned that it was grossly inaccurate with the estimated time required to arrive at your destination. To combat the inaccuracy on this trip, we brought a back up, portable GPS unit which, based on our experience, was more reliable in its estimations.
Most navigation systems are dependent upon downloaded maps to set you route, even the newer ones, which update your route with traffic conditions. If you are diligent in downloading the most current maps (which we are not), there are still limitations to the currency of information. This is where our problem began.
We found ourselves cruising along I24 West, a fantastically smooth and mostly empty highway, when both of our units decided that we were no longer on the road but rather appeared to be driving through farmer’s fields. Having not taken this route before and not being familiar with the area, we were a little worried that our back up GPS had led us astray.
We had a long way to go on Day 1 and were worried that this now undocumented highway was taking us on a less than direct route. Upon considering our options we decided to consult Google Maps, hoping it would be more current than both of our original navigation options.
Google Maps confirmed that we were in fact on the correct (and realigned) highway. When we arrived at our programmed destination for lunch we had cut off 10 minutes from our originally estimated arrival time.
I love smartphones.