So after having driven off the map multiple times and having no inclination to stop doing so, I need to either go back to maintaining a great set of maps (might still so that), or buy a GPS.
Unlike backpacking GPSs, where they keep the price the same and just keep piling more features in - though in all fairness they're not that much money, in-car ones have come down in price and have gotten quite affordable as long as you're talking portable and not the specialized in-dash variety.
Just for fun, I checked to see how much that in dash Navigation System is for my Scion (which I turned down at the time.) $1800. Eeeeegads. That's enough to buy two top of the line portables and still have considerable lunch money, and I don't even need a top of the line one.
I'm a Garmin fan and I don't have any need to change so I started there first:
On the road-Automotive:
After some time with the Comparison feature I decided that I wanted Widescreen and something I could update (they all can do that it turns out), and having the street names read outloud to you sounded like a nice touch "Turn Right on Elm St" (rather that just Turn Right)
So the nuvi 1300 looked like a good choice:
Great - where do i get one? Well since I've never used an automotive GPS, going to look and touch one at a brick and mortar store sounded like a good idea. Garmin tells me that Sears and Best Buy and another one I'm forgetting have them. Well I like Best Buy over Sears, so I checked out their site to get an idea of their stock and they talk about a 1300T which the Garmin site doesn't even mention. The difference is that instead of just having the maps to the 48 states preloaded it also has ones for Hawaii and Puerto Rico. I pause a moment to consider this. I've driven in Hawaii - all around Oahu. One single map was just fine thank you. Ok 2 if you include the trail map. A GPS was most certainly not necessary. The idea of paying extra for such a feature amuses me, but sends me back to look further.
I probably should of just stuck with the 1300T. On checking the Garmin comparisons further (they highlight the differences with a slightly different color) I see that the nuvi 1350 has a feature that tells you what the correct lane you need to be in. Oooo that's a feature worth paying for since most of my misadventures start with being in the wrong lane. However is that worth $50? Hmmmm.
I think it's time to backtrack to the cheapest Widescreen and go from there.
Fortunately Garmin allows you to limit the blizzard of choices by selecting features on the left.
I selected Widescreen and the choices shrank down to just a couple of pages. Glancing down to the cheaper ones I see there's a different family of the nuvi that is the 200 series: 205W, 255W and the 265WT. So I compared those and the 1300.
The 205W doesn't have the street name announcements, and a friend said her experience was that the street names helped a lot. The difference between the 255W and 265WT seems to be Bluetooth and the stated advantage is that you can use your phone hands free which doesn't sound like an advantage at all.
For hands-free calling, nüvi 265WT integrates Bluetooth® wireless technology with a built-in microphone and speaker. Just pair it with your compatible Bluetooth phone and talk hands-free through the 265WT while staying focused on the road. Simply dial numbers with nüvi's touchscreen keypad to make a call. To answer calls, just tap the screen and speak into its built-in microphone. Enjoy convenient one-touch dialing for contacts and points of interest.I don't think that's worth $50 more than what the 265WT is to the 255W.
So the 255W's page is here:
List price is $219.
Checking Best Buy ...
As luck would have it it's on sale for $169.99