Monday, August 24, 2009

The Garmin Navigator: my new best friend!

When I bought my Prius, I considered adding the navigation option. But at a cost of $3,000, it just didn't seem worth it. I remember telling this to my friend Neil Kornfeld who exclaimed $3,000....that's nothing, my car navigator costs me over $100,000 a year (after all, I have to feed her, buy her jewelry....

Before leaving Canada, Sally gave me a portable navigation device for our car in Europe. I must confess, I wondered whether it would work in the smaller villages and along the narrow roads of rural Belgium. BOY WAS I WRONG, THIS THING IS FANTASTIC!

I can't even begin to understand how it works. But if you haven't used one, you simply type in the place you want to go to, and a street address if you have one, and it provides you with a map, an estimated time of arrival, and very detailed instructions, accompanied by a lovely lady's voice to tell you when and where to turn. And if you don't turn when you ought to....RECALCULATING!...and then the instructions begin again.

What I didn't expect is that the unit also gives me the applicable speed limit, my speed, and warns me whenever there is speed radar along the road. This is invaluable, especially in countries where speeding fines are very expensive.

The amazing thing is that it is supposed to work in every country in Europe. It can be programmed into different languages. It is quite remarkable.

Last week there was a photo in the French newspaper of an unbelievable traffic jam....hours long, and if I understood the caption correctly, it implied that this is what happens when everyone's GPS system directs them to the same road all at once...pity, since there are so many lovely little roads in France.

I mention this since we too often want to avoid taking the major problem. We just program in an intermediate destination that will take us along a different and potentially more scenic route.

Garmin has completely transformed our driving experience and I highly recommend the affordable nuvi 275T navigation unit. And when I get home, I can apparently add in 'hands free calling', regular traffic reports, and (if I want) notices of special sales in stores en route. What else can I say?

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