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Monday, August 6, 2018

A road-trip with two out-of-date GPS boxes was not a good idea.

I guess that it's time I purchased a newer GPS system (and some newer old-fashioned paper roadmaps).  The old Garmin is on the right and an even older TomTom is on the left.  The last time I checked, neither was readily updatable from around the time when I migrated to Apple from MS-Windows.  Even though there is a new battery and alternator in my vintage 2005 car, that old Garmin draws a lot more juice than I am comfortable with.  The outdated maps in both boxes had me driving in short-circles in select parts of Western Kentucky and Tennessee; that was nerve wracking, especially at night.  On one misadventure the GPS was telling me to drive full-speed-straight-ahead for another 6-miles when a stop-sign suddenly popped up and triggered my caffeine-keen reflexes to keep us from sailing into a cornfield at 70-miles-per-hour.

Unless I travel straight west across the top of Illinois (or the bottom of Wisconsin) for around 30 to 50-miles before I start heading south on any trip I am forced to drive through Chicago one way or another.  To avoid the heaviest potential "shooting zones" of Chicago / Cook County, the Tri-State-Tollway is usually my best bet ... but construction zones, accidents, stalled / disabled vehicles, and good old fashioned heavy vehicle traffic in and out of O'Hare Airport can add about two-hours to the trip.  I'm darned if I do and damned if I don't ... but all is well that ends well.  I took the tollway route both there and back.  We left home around 1:30pm Friday and got to our destination at midnight.  We started back at 1:30pm on Saturday and arrived home at 10:30pm; about 90-minutes quicker than the trip down.  For a Chicago Saturday night, the tollway traffic was surprisingly civilized.


Sdv1949 said...

I quit with stand along GPS units years ago. Google Maps updates at least weekly, it's free, and the new smartphone batteries can last all day.


Zendo Deb said...

I wish I'd seen this sooner. But for future reference...

The distance between 294 and 355 (slightly west) near O'Hare isn't great, and 355 is generally in better shape than the Tri-state. Though I think it is more expensive... (And this is from a few years ago. Heading south, 355 ends at 80.

If your plan is to go south on 65 through Indianapolis, then you have the choice of heading south on 57 just before I-80 dumps you on the southern end of the Tri-state tollway. This can be a good thing (if the weather is fine) you can hear cross country at Kankakee, and pick up 65 just north of Lafayette Indiana. (80-94 through Indiana is a short stretch, but I don't remember ever seeing a time it wasn't under construction.) Don't head cross country in Indiana if snow is predicted. There is a reason they sited that windfarm where they did.

If you have access to traffic info, so much the better.

"Zack" said...

I'm probably the sole person in Lake County hoping for the Rt 53 extension ... it would put a fast entrance to your alternative route ... very near to our front door. As it is now, sometimes it is still favorable for us to snake through the local traffic and jump on 53 down to your route. It would have saved us a couple of hours on this trip if I had been more tuned into the traffic reports ... WBBM has "traffic and weather on the eights" but what they said were short delays were actually somewhat monstrous.

Maybe I gotta get real and get a high-tech phone with live traffic apps (and current maps). If the first self driving car in akin to an Abrams Tank, I may just lease it.

Thanks!! We are currently strategizing our next drive to Florida ... it has been a while ... I had forgotten about the winter snow and ice hazards along that Indiana forest of windmills.

Take care.