How To Find What You Came Here For

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Traveling with Magellan

 This is a copy of the e-mail and Facebook message that I sent to Magellan after we returned from a Thanksgiving trip to Tennessee.  It is very safe to say that we've had just about enough of technological glitches!

We've had our Magellan Roadmate (with Lifetime Map Updates) for just under a year now, and honestly we are ready to just switch over to using our phones as navigation.  This last holiday trip is a good example of why:

We were traveling from North Carolina to Tennessee.  There are a couple of ways of doing this, but the best way if the weather is dicey (which it was), is through Asheville to keep to the main highways.  We thought we'd fixed things so that's what would happen, but instead we ended up taking little side roads and two-lane mountain roads through blowing snow and high winds.

I'm typically willing to write that sort of thing off as either my husband or my mistake in setting up the trip.  But that wasn't all that happened.  Our unit routinely routed us so that we turned right off the road we were on, traveled one or two blocks, turned left and traveled one or two blocks, turned left again to travel a couple of blocks, and THEN turn right onto the SAME ROAD WE JUST LEFT. 

Also, it likes to tell us to turn in one direction at an intersection (let's say left), and send us down the road that way for half a mile or so, then have us do a U-Turn so we can then be traveling in what is (it turns out), the correct direction.  Of course, it could have just asked us to turn right at that intersection, but apparently the U-Turn thing is more interesting.

Even more fun is when it had us get on the highway in the WRONG direction, travel for a bit, and then tell us we were at our destination....despite being in the middle of nowhere on the highway with no exit in sight.

Magellan is also apparently a bit confused about roads.  Like, where they are, what they're named, and what direction they should be traveled.  I'm not talking about new roads (although we've had some interesting experiences on those!).  These are roads that have been here for at least 50 years, and that we travel often.

Which makes me suspect the Magellan has some kind of GPS dementia.  It remembers those roads sometimes, and other times it has no idea there even IS a road.  Even when it is on, it seems to get really confused about whether it's day or night, and where exactly you are.  Last week it was convinced I was in the next town over.  I have no idea why...particularly since it had more satellites than it knew what to do with.

It also likes to turn itself back on when you get ticked off and shut it down.  Apparently, it doesn't like being ignored.  It also turns itself off and back on again - typically at the worst possible moment in your trip.  Too many times to count, as we approached a turn, the unit suddenly tells us that it's powering down.  As we stare in dismay, it proceeds to go black.  A second later it's powering back up and continuing on with the trip as if nothing had happened.  We thought it was a power issue at first, but apparently it just likes to reset its tiny little, dysfunctional brain.

We had a Tom-Tom before the Magellan, and we really liked it.  The issue we had with our Tom-Tom was that it liked to completely re-draw your route if you pulled off for gas, or a potty break.  When our Tom-Tom died (the touch screen stopped working), the Magellan was attractive because it didn't do that.  You could leave the road you were on and find a gas station or restaurant, and it would keep the route you'd originally programmed.  I didn't realize that the reason it wasn't going to re-route us was because it wasn't completely sure where we were anyway, and it was just guessing about the directions it was giving us.

We're going to give tech support a shot, but unless we see a MAJOR improvement, I'm giving this thing to my mother-in-law.

How about you guys?  Do you use a GPS when you travel?  If you do, is it an actual unit or do you use your phone?  Has it ever steered you wrong?  Tell me in the comments!

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