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I too was a hold-out in favor of paper maps over GPS, but finally the
technology got good enough to allow a device that's really easy to use for
someone who doesn't want to make a career out of GPS.  The Non-Techie GPS to
get is the Garmin Zumo 450.  There is one called 376C that people buy, but
it's really a lot more difficult for routine use.  The Zumo 550 has all the
Bluetooth and satellite options on it.  I've looked all of that over and may
use it someday, but after two seasons of riding with this thing, I'm not
lusting after any of that.  The newer ones are definitely easier to use than
the old ones.  I think it's worth a few extra bucks for the Zumo model but
the 550 may be overkill.   It does come with a car adapter, which is very
good.  During the week, I keep my Zumo in the center console of my car with
the adapter under the seat.  I usually know where I'm going, but it's great
to have when going to a new address or trying to scope out a new route to


 All of North America fits inside the built-in memory of most of the newer
GPS units now so you don't have to fool around with switching maps.   You
can even buy a chip with the maps of Europe and the UK on it and slide it in
the slot on the side.   


 Buy on the internet and make sure that the price you compare includes
freight.  If the place doesn't sell in your state, you don't pay sales tax
either.  There is no reason to buy from expensive retailers on these.  The
retailers can't fix them.  Warranty is with Garmin.   


I got my Zumo 550 for about $650 plus tax. It shipped in one day.  I thought
I might use some of the Bluetooth and other features it has, but after two
seasons with it, I have no desire for any of that.   The going rate for them
back when I bought mine was $1000 from the motorcycle retailers.   The Zumo
450 is less money than the 550 and deletes all the things I don't use
including Bluetooth, satellite etc.   


What the 450 does have is the really ingenious and fast Zumo GPS unit.
This thing has a screen bright enough to see.  It recalculates really fast
when you veer off the path it's chosen for you.   One of the best things is
that I can operate the thing with winter gloves on.   It's waterproof.  You
can unhook it from your bike and put it in your car.   You can carry it
around because it comes with a rechargeable battery that lasts about 5


Rather than program in predetermined routes for a trip, which takes quite a
bit of time, I get out the road atlas and pick some towns Ii want to run
through on my trip.  Pick towns with short names for less typing.   Pick
towns that take you off the beaten path and are near a turn in the route you
want.   Here's an example.   If I want to go to Deal's Gap in NC from
Chicago, I might pick Beecher, IL for my first destination.   This will take
me around the city and down to a good spot near the Indiana boarder near a
short-cut.   Then, I'll pick Rosedale, IN.  That will put me near IN 10 and
I-65.   From there, I'll find a town south of Indianapolis on I-65 and from
there, I'll pick a town to the southeast that has a bridge over the river.  


 When I get to that town, I'm down in scenic country, so I'll turn my
"Tools>Navigation>Avoidances" setting to "Avoid Toll Roads" and "Avoid
Highways.   All the other ones are always checked.    Unless I'm really
wasting time, I'll leave the first setting in "Navigation" to "Fastest Way".
If I pick "Shortest distance", it will sometimes put me on some very small
roads, wind me through subdivisions, etc.   When you have "avoid highways"
combined with "Fastest way", you seem to get nice routes with very
interesting roads.    A couple times, I've been on little roads that close
before I'm done using them.   There is an inevitable detour.  Some of these
are poorly marked because the roads mainly serve locals.    The GPS
reprograms as soon as you turn off the route.   I've had many detours
figured out for me on the screen so I don't have to hunt for detour signs or
spend half a day trying to figure out where the road goes when some kids
have take the signs to decorate their bedrooms.


I don't use "waypoints" or predetermined whole routes on a long trip.  GPS
is much less flexible in that mode.   I tried using pre-made route just make
a new destination when I get to the last one.   It's very quick to do this.
I can do it while riding (Be careful) or sometimes I'll stop for gas and
have a look at the atlas to pick a new town to go to next.   The advantage
to doing it this way is that you might see a great looking road or sign for
something you'd like to go by.  You just turn off the route and go there.
The GPS recalculates a good way to your "destination" and keeps
recalculating every time you move off the route.    This is a great way to
explore new roads and places you'd never dream of going with just a map.    


I don't know about the rest of you, but I simply cannot read a map through
the plastic map pocket while I'm riding;.   The Zumo is easy to read by


OK, so I've now got to the Indiana border town with the bridge crossing the
Ohio.  I pick a new destination in KY or even TN.  This one might be
Frankfort, KY, or maybe a small town strategically placed nearby on a little
road I like the looks of.  Maybe I've decided to go down the state on little
roads and avoid interstates.  I might pick a town 150 miles or further away.
The place I pick is strategic for getting me on the general route I choose
to go. l find some town along the route I'd like to take and punch it in.
Because the GPS will not take you down a dead end, you always go with the
confidence that you're not going to have to turn around at the end of some
blind alley.


Warning:  GPS does not know gravel roads from paved roads in some states.
Even if you select "Avoid Unpaved Roads", it may route you on a gravel road
but I've never been on a gravel road that didn't come out closer to where I
wanted to go when using my Zumo.   


Now, if you don't click "Avoid Toll Roads" and "Avoid Highways" and "Fastest
Way", you'll get the fasted way.


If you have a 1200RT, your mounting options are limited.  I have a Big Mac
flip-up tank bag.  I wanted to keep the flip up feature.  That precluded my
mounting Zumo between the handlebars.   I looked at putting it out on the
left side bar, but it blocked the rear view mirror there.   I bought myself
a Gadget Guy mount for the RT.  It gives you a horizontal round bar that
runs above the instruments.  You can mount your GPS and any other gadgets
you might want.  This thing is solid and totally trustworthy.  It's not
cheap, but now that I have it, I wouldn't mount any other way on this bike.
I can fill up the tank in a minute or two without dismounting.  This is
really handy in crowded stations where you want to fill and get out of
there.  I just park on the side and go in for the washroom after the tank is
full.  This way I'm not blocking the pump for others.   


There are a few new skills to learn when you get a GPS on your bike, but so
long as you don't get too caught up in detailed programming, saving your
routes etc, you'll get the hang of things quickly.   Then, there's the
advantage of "I'm out in the middle of nowhere and my fuel light has come
on, where is the nearest gas station?"   Or "It's getting near time to find
a motel, what are my options?"  Or "I'm at the motel and we want something
decent to eat tonight."   "Where is the Public Library in this town? I want
to use the internet to check my email."   The list goes on but you get the
idea here.  It's really a better world with this thing on your bike.