I have to say one of the best acquisitions I bought before leaving is my GPS. I purchased it from David Pickering, the owner of MapWorld in downtown Calgary. I bought all my maps there and David and I poured over each one of them for the next 2 hours. David had traveled Central and parts of South America extensively. He was a wealth of information and eager to share his knowledge. I bought his personal GPS already loaded with all the maps of Central America and most of South America.
Gloria has a stern, firm voice. She believes she is always right – and I have to say, most of the time she is. I have her on the dashboard, with the itinerary of the day put in. She tells me how far I am to my destination, how many hours before I get there (this is a very rough estimate, since I always drive below the speed limit, take a lot of pit stops and it doesn’t take into consideration traffic jams, detours and other surprises on the way). Her best feature in my opinion is that she tells me when my next turn is coming up. So on the highway, in the States for example; when my next turn would be in 600 km, it was safe to turn her off. In cities, it allows me to change lane well in advance to make my turn. This is a huge advantage when driving a big rig.
Gloria is a gem, there is no doubt about it, but she has a few glitches. In Boulder, Colorado for example, I was on my way to a canyon to spend the night. She sent me around town, taking a convoluted route down tiny streets with sharp turns and low branches that were really not appropriate for my truck. “Hey Gloria, I’m 27 ft long and 12 ft high, I cannot go down these tiny roads!” I suspected there was a better way, down boulevards to my destination and sure enough the next morning to go back to my seminar, I followed big avenues all the way. I think Gloria was trying to avoid the evening traffic jams, but she never gave me an option. Google Map, which I love, tells you about accidents, traffic jams and alternate routes to your destination. There must be a way for me to change the settings. I found nothing pertinent on the device itself – may be online? I’ll have to ask David. I was told by Harvey, my Canadian neighbor in Islandia, that only GPS designed for trucks will take length and clearance into consideration – not ones for automobiles.
In Mexico, every toll road has a free alternative. I would love for Gloria to tell me when toll roads are coming up so that I don’t miss my turn off for the free road if that’s what I decided to take that day. Toll roads can be pricey and the free roads are in good conditions from what I’ve seen so far. I am actually pleasantly surprised by the quality of the roadway here – but that’s the subject for another blog
I noticed another problem in Hermosillo, Sonora’s State capital city. Large boulevards would split up with 2 lanes going up and 2 lanes staying at ground level. I imagine the overpass will detour at some point but on the GPS both lanes are going in the same direction. “Keep going straight” Gloria tells me. “Gloria, I would panic, over or under? Over or Under Gloria?! And depending on which lane I’m in at the time of the divide I would be stuck with that choice. Sometimes it’s a lucky one, other times I’m forced to turn around, go back and take the proper lane. Gloria being very quiet for once.
If I decide to take an unplanned detour Gloria would freak out. “you’re off course” “Recalculating” Recalculating”! “Oh just chill Gloria, I’m just getting gas.”
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Au plaisir de la route!