Afterthoughts - Garmin eTrex 30 GPS: Would I take it again? Is it reliable? - Achtung Baby: Bavaria with a GPS & Some Great Canadian Gear (Tour 13) - 2014 🇩🇪 🇦🇹 🇨🇭 - CycleBlaze

June 8, 2014

Afterthoughts - Garmin eTrex 30 GPS: Would I take it again? Is it reliable?

I picked up my eTrex 30 GPS a few years ago. I like gadgets. I first used a GPS back in the early 90's when I was busy flying a Cessna 175. In those days I think GPS tracking was only reliable within 100 m. Today you can almost pinpoint a speck of dust in the breeze.

My initial plan was to painstakingly organize a route based on others' routes. Sort of the tried and true. When I got there, I kind of used the routes, but for a few reasons, they were used more as guidelines. Not that anything was wrong with the routes from a variety of web based cycle sites. If I wanted to avoid busy roads or wanted a faster route, I modified accordingly. The nice thing with the gps is that any time I went 'off' of the map, the gps would recalculate my route on the fly. It was great. It always had my destination in mind.

All of this being said, I really love maps. And always have. To the point that I have had National Geographic maps on my walls for years. So to go without a map was strange. I now know that I will use a physical map to give the overall idea of where I am going. Always. Lesson learned. I also know that the best way to navigate endless small roads and paths is with a gps. I will always use a gps on bike tours for just such navigation. And through major cities? Incredible. So easy to get into, through and out of any city.

Any problems? Yes. Upon returning home I Googled an issue I had while I was away. Though the street by street directions were there along with all of the street names and bike paths, I was unable to enter a Euro address. It kept asking me for a US or Cdn state or province. It worked if I had the co-ordinates, which worked in my case since my hotels bookings included them. But what a pain in the butt. Unless I have missed something, it stuns me that Garmin has not figured out how to get this working on a GPS. Isn't that a key issue? get you to an address? Though a great unit, this software glitch is pretty serious, I think.

In summary... every subsequent tour will include an overall map and a routing gps. But I sure hope they figure out the Goto Address feature.

Garmin eTrex 30: 3/5 (lower marks due to the address issue)

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