Wednesday, March 23, 2011

New Garmin nuvi 465LMT

We ordered a Garmin GPS for our trip to the Perry, GA, FMCA rally last week, and had to wait a few weeks because this is brand new, but it got to us with a few days to spare.  At first glance, it looks like a standard nuvi in a black case.  But this is a new one called the nuvi 465LMT based off the 465T, both are designed for the Trucking industry, and the major difference between the two is this one has Lifetime Maps and Traffic.  I wanted it because we are driving a Class A RV across the country this summer.  I wanted a unit that will keep me on established truck routes so I have greater confidence that I'll have bridge clearance and clear all the weight restrictions.  How does this know?  Well, you enter in your vehicle data:  height, axle weights, width, total length.

This is a great improvement over my 5 year old nuvi, so maybe more units will have this feature, but I'm impressed with Lane Assist, which guides users to the correct lane at the right time – especially helpful when navigating complex highway interchanges.  If you are in 6 lanes of traffic, it will show you which lane you need to be in to stay on course (upper left corner).

 It will also pop up warning signs, like curvy road ahead, or one that we ran into, a big Red Box showing the road ahead has a weight restriction (I had deviated off course).  The one I DON'T want to see is this:

Like I said, this comes with Lifetime maps, which you can update 4 times a year, and lifetime Traffic.  The traffic indicator is an FM receiver that picks up a signal in major cities and displays a colored circle in the upper left of your screen, showing Green, Yellow, or Red.

There is one more unit for the Trucking industry, the brand new dezl 560LMT.  It offers a few more features and a slightly larger screen.  But it costs a little more.  The 465LMT retails for $399.99, the 560LMT retails for $529.99, and the older model 465T retails for $349.99.

I feel much safer on the road with one of these units, because my rig is 13'1", and each state has slightly different heights for their overpasses and bridges. 

See ya on the road,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Kentucky Bourbon Trail

If you are making a road trip through Southern Ohio, Indiana, or Northern Kentucky, you've got to take a day and do the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.  The trail starts at Lexington, KY (on Hwy 75), and goes back through the woods to the southwest and past Elizabethtown, KY (on Hwy 65).  There are campgrounds in the area, but we just stayed overnight at my favorite shopping place.
 I'm not a bourbon drinker, but this was a wonderful day of learning all about moonshine and prohibition, and at the end of the tour, the tasting room wasn't bad either! Yes, they still age the bourbon in oak barrels, some for 25 years!  It's really spooky when they take you into the aging house and there are 12 stories of barrels stacked over your head on oak timber racks.  Some of those oak timbers date all the way back to the 20's.  Each distillery has it's own theory on aging, but once or twice a year all of those barrels are rotated between several floors in the house, because the middle and top floors are different temperatures than the bottom floor.

Now they only make the spirits and most of the bottling during the winter, but they still give hour long tours and of course have gift shops all year long.  Whatever the season, it's worth the stop.  You can stop at all the major, and not so major distilleries along the way, like: Four Roses, Jim Beam, Heaven Hill, Wild Turkey, Woodford Reserve, Buffalo Trace, Makers Mark, and others.    My favorite was Buffalo Trace, don't miss it.  Our tour guide (Freddie) was great, the company is very family orientated, they don't lay off workers during the summer, they use them to improve their infrastructure and construction projects.

If you are traveling through the area, this should definitely be on your "Bucket List".


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Made in America

ABC News has a series going on this week called Made in America.  It's been very interesting so far, but it got me to thinking: Buy an RV this year, it's Made in America!  You'll help the economy, you'll see the sights, and it's a great family outing!   I know, gas prices are going up, that just means used RV prices are going down!  You can always buy used camping gear on Craig's List, or borrow from a friend.  For less than the price of a hotel room, you can drive to a state campground, sit around the campfire, teach the kids how to make S'mores,  go hiking, and just GET AWAY FROM IT ALL.  Get the kids together and go in the woods, it's the best and cheapest family time you can have!
You don't have to go very far to find a state campground.  My favorite memories as a kid were our two week summer family campouts.  My own children have grown and gone, but they still remember camping and playing board games in the tent before bed.  I know, because they will start talking, just out of the blue, about some trip we took once.   You don't have to be the wilderness guy from discovery channel, you can learn as you go.  Start out small, over night trips, not much to cook.  You have to get your feet wet setting up the tent for the first time, or backing the RV in the camp site the first time.  Don't worry, we've all been there!
Contribute to buying and doing things Made in America, and camping IS Made in America, camping IS what Lewis and Clark did, way back when!