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Rand McNally TripMaker RVND GPS for RVs

November 11, 2011 by Chris Guld · 29 Comments  
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In this third, and final, article about the Rand McNally TripMaker RVND 7710 GPS for RVs I’m going to talk about Route-Planning.  The other two articles were:

  1. What’s Up Ahead
  2. Multi-Stop Trips

Some of the comments to the previous articles specifically asked about routing.  We want to know that the GPS is not routing us thru low clearance bridges or on other roads that are inappropriate for RVs.  This video shows how to plan a route thru Baltimore.  Other trip-planning devices would take you thru a tunnel, but the TripMaker knows that there’s a problem there.  Watch the video to see how it works.

Alternate Link: GPS-Route-Baltimore.mp4 – 14.82MB Download

Low Clearance Bridges

I found a low bridge in Jacksonville, Florida for an example route.  Here is how Google Maps plans the route:

Jacksonville low bridge route, planned by Google Maps

Using Google’s Street View – you can see the low clearance!

Fullscreen capture 11112011 102655 AM

Here’s how the Rand McNally TripMaker GPS plans the same trip:

The Rand McNally avoids the Low Clearance in its route

 

Now that’s exactly what we want right?  The Rand McNally TripMaker simply plans a route that avoids the low clearance.

It doesn’t know all Low Clearance Bridges

Be aware that *no* database has all of the low bridges – so, you still have to use all the tools at your disposal.  For example, we are members of Thousand Trails and we’ve spent some time at the Ohio park called Kenisee Lakes.  If you read the directions in the Thousand Trails book, you are told:

Note: There are low clearance bridges on Mill Creek Rd. between State Route 45 and Forman Rd. and between Jefferson St and the preserve on Mill Creek. 

Yet, when you use the Rand McNally TripMaker GPS, it will route you right thru that low clearance bridge.

DSCN1625

 

What you can do in these situations is to mark that segment of road.  When you zoom in and click on the road, you will see these options:

DSCN1627

If you mark it as ‘Avoid Permanent’ – then the GPS will never route you on that stretch of road again.  If you don’t care about marking it permanently, it is easy to use the ‘Detour’ feature to plan a different route right now.

 

Summary

Pros: If you are an RVer and you want to have lots of information available to you as you are traveling, you will love the  Rand McNally TripMaker RVND 7710 GPS for RVs.  As I wrote in the first article, my favorite feature is the ability to look at the amenities at the next Exit.  You also get alerts for State Borders, Time Zones, and certain Points of Interests. 

You will see icons on the screen for different types of POIs (Points of Interest.)  For example, you see image

 

wherever there is a campground.  Simply touch the icon and a menu will pop up that includes contact information (Name, address, phone) as well as an option to ‘Route to Here.’ 

You can very quickly find Walmarts and Truck Stops and Route to them.

Cons: Although the screen is relatively large (7 inches) the resolution is a lot lower than I’m accustomed to on my tiny Droid cell phone.  I find I can view maps more clearly on my Droid.  And, if you’re accustomed to the touch screen of a smart phone, you will find the GPS touch screen to be clunky and slow to respond in comparison.

The TripMaker is slow to calculate routes.  To be fair, we have the ‘Beta’ version of the device.  They sent it to us to evaluate before it was available to buy – the retail version may be faster.  Also, it is faster when you’re planning a route starting from where you are.  I was often testing routes elsewhere.

The RV routing capabilities is both a Pro and a Con.  It’s a Pro because it does take your RV’s height, weight, and propane into account as it calculates the route.  It’s a Con because it’s not perfect – it doesn’t know about every low bridge, for example.  This is not the panacea that many RVers hoped for. 

It’s hard to believe that, only 10 years ago, these devices didn’t even exist!  How quickly we’ve started taking them for granted and being upset when they’re not perfect!  I do like the TripMaker and we will use it for RV Navigation.  But, it won’t be the only thing we use. I will still consult the map on my Droid smart phone when I am questioning our route.  We will still plan the trips using Streets and Trips.  I haven’t yet tried to transfer a route from S&T to the TripMaker – I’ll let you know when I do.

And, oh yea … you’ll always see a paper map on our dashboard!

 

 

This tip brought to you by Geeks on Tour

Geeks on Tour is a membership website with hundreds of Tutorial Videos on topics of interest to travelers, such as managing digital photos with Picasa, Route-Planning with Streets and Trips, and sharing your travels with a website using Blogger. You can subscribe to our free enewsletter, or become a paid member and be able to view all of the videos in the Learning Library.

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Comments

29 Responses to “Rand McNally TripMaker RVND GPS for RVs”

  1. Morgan on November 11th, 2011 1:49 pm

    Thanks for this series… Looking forward to all of the new features!

  2. butterbean carpenter on November 11th, 2011 5:56 pm

    Howdy Chris,
    Thank you, for the info and lack of info included..

  3. Ed on November 11th, 2011 6:18 pm

    Why can’t they put out a GPS program for trucks and campers we are not the only people whe are concerned about weight, low underpasses or areas where you night need to turn around. When I need propane I pull into the lot my brother-in-law stops on the road and walks in. He told me to not do the anymore as sometimes campers can not turn around for many reasons, but that’s training not a GPS. problem.

  4. Bill on November 11th, 2011 7:34 pm

    Thanks, Chris. I asked for the routing options and you came through. Great job.

  5. David Cross on November 11th, 2011 7:35 pm

    Have you figured out how to import your own Poi’s yet? I sure would like to do that. It says I can on the box but I can’t find out how. My new 7 inch calculates very slow also and seems to take forever to initalize when I turn it on. My 5 inch is the same.

  6. GlenO on November 11th, 2011 7:36 pm

    I have the RV 5510 model (5″) and have only used it a few times. As I understand it has the same RV unique features that the 7710 has except the smaller screen size. The colors faded out on a recent trip after being on about 4 hours. After being cut off for an hour or so the colors seemed to come back correct. Not sure if it has an over heating isuse or not? The routing on a recent trip was most questionable trying to send me 80 miles out of the way of a road I knew was RV friendly. Makes me wonder about trusting its routing? As you noted you must always double check with a good old fashion map. You want to trust it but no doubt best to double check its path. I inquired with Rand CS and was told the unit must have thought its directed route was quicker??? Sure wasn’t the case in this situation.

  7. Jerry Bertelsen on November 11th, 2011 7:56 pm

    Thanks Chris. Great information. Keep up the good work.

  8. Jim on November 12th, 2011 6:51 am

    Morning Chris,

    Can you route yourself off the Interstates and just run secondary roads?

    Thanks,

    Jim

  9. Susan Berube on November 12th, 2011 7:24 am

    There aren’t many GPS units on the market that can be used by a larger RV. We used a Tom Tom on a trip this year and on more than one occasion nearly got ourselves into extremely hot water (low bridges mainly). Now we have a Garmin that has a truck option and hopefully that will solve our problems. Luckily we got it at a good price otherwise we would not own it!

  10. Rick on November 12th, 2011 9:44 am

    The answer to Jim’s question is yes. Just inter towns on the route you wish to take as stops and it will route you on the roads you wish to travel. I just did that traveling from Michigan to Arizona. I wanted to avoid interstates and take US highways across Missouri and Kansas and stay away from Oklahoma. Works just fine, just takes a little time on your part setting the route up.

  11. Geoffrey Pruett on November 12th, 2011 11:19 am

    So the buyer of this new “must have” toy becomes the research department. Sure is a common story lately, no wonder consumer goods are in a slump. Playing at being the best source for information in traffic is not going to fly, as the FAA can tell you it takes a lot of dedicated people to get some where near correct, anything short gets people hurt.

  12. Chris Guld on November 12th, 2011 3:11 pm

    Yes, there are several route options you can set – one of them is Avoid Freeways.

  13. Montana Mike on November 12th, 2011 3:36 pm

    In answer to the question about a real, experienced GPS system which has been around for many years and is something of a standard of its industry, try CoPilot Truck. You can even program in the dimensions and weight of your rig and it will adapt its directions. The downside is that support is curt and even insulting, so I regretfully quit using it years ago.

  14. Mike on November 15th, 2011 11:07 am

    Does it have a “stay on the interstate as much as possible” option? My two Garmins seem to think that by hopping off the freeway a few miles before the “real” exit will save some time or distance.

    This makes me still layout the route on Streets & Trips or a paper map beforehand so I know when I can ignore the Garmin.

  15. Jim H on December 7th, 2011 3:37 pm

    Great Article! Keep up the good work. I really enjoy your articles.

  16. Sue streeter on May 13th, 2012 10:13 am

    What are the pros and cons in a comparison of the Rand McNally 7110 and the Magellan 1945 LM. I am most interested in the routing, especially where interstates and US highways are concerned as to recent road work and routing changes are occuring.

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    I WAS WONDERING IF THERE WAS GOING TO BE A GROUP SESSION AT THE LOUISVILLE RALLY ON JUNE 21ST.
    THANKS,
    JOHN

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