Garmin GPS V Deluxe 19 MB GPS with PC Cable

SUMMARY: Great GPS for road trips once you learn how to use it, and get used to how it works.

I have owned half a dozen different GPS units, with the GPS V being the most recent. I knew people that had the GPS V and the earlier version the GPS 3 and 3+. They had told me about using it for navigating. My previous GPS was a Magellan Map 330. While the Map 330 had road maps, it didn’t do routing (tell you which roads to take to get where you are going). I still used it while travelling, and it was helpfull, but I really wanted a GPS to give me directions. So I added the GPS V to my Amazon wish list. I planned on buying it at some point in time. When Christmas came, I was surprised when I found my wife had bought one for me. This was also the deluxe package that came with the MapSource cds, and unlock codes for the US and Canada. Excitement turned to disappointment when I found the unit I got was missing a spring clip out of the battery compartment, and it wouldn’t work at all. Since it was Christmas, I had to wait days for Garmin’s tech support to be open. When they were finally there, I called and explained the issue, and they mailed me the missing part. I had a couple weeks to play with it a little bit locally, before we used it on a trip to Las Vegas/Los Angeles. I had the MapSource CDs, so I downloaded maps for the Las Vegas area, and the Los Angeles area into the GPS. I also plugged in coordinates for places we were planning on visiting, and also routes for how to get from one place to the other. I was planning on hitting about 25 used book stores around the Las Vegas area, so coordinates for each of these were also loaded.
When we got into Vegas, I turned the unit on. Our first destination was Pahrump, NY, so I selected the route I downloaded into the GPS from my PC. The GPS had us leaving the airport and heading north. It didn’t make sense. I knew the best route was to head south and go across the mountains via 160. Why was it taking us north? Finally I gave up on the GPS directions, and went the way I knew to go. All along the way, it kept trying to take us north. I figured out later that the GPS wanted to take us up to I-95, and get to Pahrump from the north. A longer route. We used the GPS to get us from Pahrump to Oxnard, CA, and using the routing downloaded from the PC was a pain was well. The GPS also seemed to have problem tracking while in the mountains, and would often be recalculating the route. The GPS was very helpful in navagating around the Anaheim area. Using the GPS to get back to Pahrump was a little better. Next task. I had entered in 25 used books stores around the Las Vegas area and had made a route to hit them all in an efficient order. We followed the GPS, and it took us to the first store. When we left there, it kept wanting us to back to the same place. After playing with the GPS, I figured out the store we went to was actually the last store at the end of the route. We went to the first store on the route, and the GPS then worked fairly well taking us from store to store. About halfway through the route, it wanted to take us back to the last sote skipping the second half of the stores. I stopped the navigation, and restarted it, and it got us back on track. All in all using the GPS was kind of a pain.

Those were my first experiences with the Garmin GPS V. My experiences since then have been much better. I have learned to use the GPS better, and have had much less problems with it. I have used it for various trips including a trip to Tennessee which had me driving from Knoxville to Gatlinburg, and have had few problems. I have learned not to use the routes downloaded from the PC. I still use the PC to download detail maps, and to enter addresses and waypoints. Now when I want to go somewhere, I just tell the GPS to calculate the route, and it generally does a good job. It will be interesting to take it back to Vegas, and see how it does taking me to Pahrump again.

I do geocaching, but I haven’t used this GPS for that. It is kind of expensive, and I don’t see the need to get it scratched up or risk breaking off the swivel antenna. I still use my older Magellan Map 330 for that.
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