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More GPS

With all due respect to Dean and Bob, I would not recommend buying either a
Quest or a 2610 with the new Garmin models available.   While they are
useful, they are not nearly as intuitive as the newer ones.  I really would
not buy anything that has me changing maps out when I cross a state line.
The idea of getting started with something cheap and graduating to a better
one later doesn't apply here.  It's just the opposite with GPS.  The newest
ones are the easiest to use.   


For a car, I'd buy a Nuvi.  They're so simple and packed with features.  The
car rental companies rent these out with their cars now almost exclusively.
I have a friend who bought a Nuvi with a smaller screen.  It was a
discontinued model.  It uses the same "NT" software that my Zumo uses and
has the whole country worth of maps and all the rest.  It's fine for his
needs and it was cheap.  It has the rechargeable battery so you can play
with it off the bike or out of the car.  The small size is really great for
walking around a city and just keeping for reference.   It's not waterproof
and the big screens are easier to see, but it's still quite useful.  


Zumo is waterproof, easy to use.  The 450 has everything you really need and
you can get great use out of it without even looking at the manual.  Mine
came in the mail at work one day.  I had an appointment in the city that I
had to leave for just as the package arrived.   I opened it and took the
whole box with me.  I pulled the thing out at a stop light.  Fastened it to
the car adapter at another stop light and plugged it in at another.  By the
time I was out of Elgin, I had it running nice color maps and calling out
street names I was passing.   When I got to the call, we needed a restaurant
and punched one in.  It took us there.


Zumo will talk to you, but the screens are so functional, and easy to read,
you don't need voice.   That is huge for me because I like to listen to iPod
music when I ride, not a synthetic nanny telling me what's coming up in 400


The other waterproof Garmin with the new software is the 376C.  It's made
for boaters but comes with the street maps.   It comes with the very
expensive Satellite radio antenna.  ($250 or so last time I looked.) If you
want that stuff and are into charting and things like that, this is a good
choice.  It has a lot of buttons that are not as easy to work with on the
bike, but it's a good unit.  The cost is similar to a Zumo 550.  


 We have a club member who is a total geek and has the weather service
stuff, satellite radio and traffic service hooked up to his.  It's a nice
system, but he can't change routes like I can.  He spends days working on a
route and then follows it to the letter.  He knows more about this stuff
than I ever will.  He also saves every route of every trip he's ever been
on.  This is not my M.O. at all.  I'm strictly in the moment and Zumo is
better for that.   


My experience with these charted routes is that, if you decide to deviate,
they try to route you back to the last point you left the "correct" route.
They will take you backwards so that you don't miss a waypoint on the route.
This is just wrong, if you ask me.   You end up dorking around with the
machine more than riding.   I'm not looking for that experience when I ride.
I want nice music, great roads and the ability to find things if I feel a
need.   Each way has merits.  It depends on what you want and how much time
you're willing to devote to (yawn) ride planning.  


John, the original writer, said his target user of this machine was looking
for something that would do routine GPS functions easily and didn't want a
lot of other rigamarole.   I think the Zumo 450 is the ticket for that.  I
bought the 550 out of lack of knowledge.  I'd be just as happy with a 450.  


That and "buy online" are the two best pieces of advice I can give.   Do a
Google search for "Garmin Zumo 450", find a reputable seller with a good
price in a neighboring state.  Consider freight charges and tax in your
buying decision.  Get out the credit card and pull the trigger.  These
things are great.