Friday, April 3, 2009

Traveling With TomTom

As I've discussed in previous posts, we've recently returned from a trip to Colorado. We enjoy traveling by car and always see interesting sights and get along well together on long trips.

But in the past couple of years, traveling has become far more relaxing and enjoyable than ever before. I've always been a pretty good map reader so being the navigator was, for the most part, enjoyable for me and a good way to pass the time. Then along came mapquest and my job as navigator got much easier. But that improvement was nothing compared to the joys of traveling with TomTom.

I think everyone must already have this gps navigation system but just in case you don't, I'm telling you. You've GOT to get it.

The pleasant voice (you can choose the one you like best) patiently tells you everything you need to know about navigating to your destination. She (we chose a woman's voice) gently guides us to the proper lane for our next turn, tells us the name of the street or highway we need to take, and exactly how far it is until we get there. Her warnings usually start at about 2 miles out and she reminds us at 1 mile, 1/2 mile, 1/4 mile, and then so many feet. While her voice is telling us what to expect, it's clearly displayed on the easy-to-read monitor.

Another enjoyable and useful feature is that the monitor displays and constantly updates exactly how far we still have to go to reach our destination and what time we are expected to arrive.

If somehow you go awry and turn the wrong way, she tries not to panic as she repeats, "turn around as soon as possible"; and if you don't, she tries to figure out an alternate route using your ill advised turn.

Last summer I had an opportunity to go to Washington DC to do what I could to help my son, Secondborn Army Guy and his family move into their new home. Mr. Right couldn't get off work and my daughter-in-law had just given birth to their 4th child and could not join my son and their older 3 children right away due to follow up appointments for her and newborn appointments for their new son.

So I set out with nothing but me and my Tomtom. I want you to know that I don't think I ever could have done it without it. If you're not familiar with the Beltway around Washington DC, let me just describe it as formidable and fearsome. The traffic is unbelievable and the shear size of the beltway is amazing. I've never seen so many lanes on any interstate.

Here is a picture we took as we drove into DC in 2004. This is what it's like before it gets really big and really congested. I couldn't take pictures at that point though because I was navigating and it got really hairy...and scary.

But at about 1 a.m. I sailed into DC just like I owned it. I made an errant turn and Tomtom patiently guided me back on course. And when our destination address changed at the last minute, I typed it in and drove seamlessly to the new location.

So this post is meant to be a community service post. If you don't have a gps navigation system for your car, get one right way. You'll wonder how you ever got along without it. And not only will you have new found independence to travel alone, but when you're traveling with someone, you'll have lots more time for the license plate game.


  1. I think I should get one for Brian (me). I think he (I) would love it, don't you think?

    Also, I've never played the license plate game, can you believe that? Must be because my music is always up so loud.

  2. i did(not) buy a GPS unit over Christmas because I have it on my cell safe is using a cell phone for GPS? and where's the sweet voice to direct me for all of my wrong turns?

    but really, you think i need a TOMTOM? I liked the very scenic route back to Lincoln, right? LOL



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