Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

Need Your Help and Advice

Sunday April 26, 2015
Charlottesville Virginia




I don’t actually remember when google came out with their “new” maps but after trying it out for a couple of hours on real life trips and hating it, I’ve been doing all the clicks to go back to classic maps for months.  All was well, I could do everything I need easily.

Of course they kept saying “some day” you’ll have to change but they never said exactly when that would be.  Well apparently it has happened in the last day or two.  At least Microsoft gives you a date after which you are toast.  But if google did, I sure didn’t see it.

Anyway, now that Google maps has done away with their classic maps, or at least I can’t make them send me back there, I find that I was right originally.  I absolutely hate the new google maps so I need your advice on what you use for mapping your routes.  I’d love to have a lot of experiences and perhaps a discussion on this in the comments.  I’m using a PC so if you are a MAC person, will I be able to do what you do?

How do you find your campgrounds and plan your routes?
What are you using to map your routes?
Is there a really good GPS especially for RVs that won’t take you down roads or under bridges that you can’t go handle in a Class A?

Not being a GPS lover, I have used google maps exclusively for years as our source for travel routes.  I can drill down and see the road if I need to. I want to see where I’m going rather than have someone I can’t talk to telling me where to turn.   I could be talked into GPS by some really enthusiastic recommendations especially if there is a GPS that will route for RVers.  But for sure I’d love some sort of mapping program specifically for RVs.

If you know of one, please let me know. I just can’t make the new google maps as flexible and informative as the classic maps.

Why do they do this? Do these people ever actually use their products in real situations? Or is it all about how cool it is and how clever they are? 


My new motto



I’ll get back to what we’ve been up to lately and the beauty of Spring in my next post after every one has weighed in on their advice.  Perhaps we can all learn from each other.  That would sure be fun.

Thanks in advance for all your help!   I LOVE my commenters!!


  1. I have never been able to use Google maps so I can't help you there. I just never did like them. I roughly plan my route with a map and MapQuest. I don't like interstates, so I force mapquest to find a route by choosing points on a US or state route, and even then, MQ sometimes tries to veer me off, out of my way, to travel part of it on an interstate. I usually end up going a different route when I am finally on the road. As for choosing stops, I research Natl Parks & Forests, etc. ahead of time, and will try to plan on staying in a specific campground, but it often doesn't work out that way. I alternate with motels.

    You drive shorter distances and there are two of you, so it makes sense to spend more time at a stop and explore. I don't do that as I just don't enjoy it alone. I do try to take some of the shorter hikes, see some points of interest, etc., but it's hit or miss with me.

    I got a new GPS before I left on this trip, and I don't trust it. Jim & Dee of the Tumleweed blog have a truck-style GPS, but I don't know anyone else who does.

  2. Here are some apps I found...http://www.randmcnally.com/product/rv-gps-app, http://happyrving.org/new-android-app-for-rvers/, https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.teletype.smarttruckroute&hl=en We used Map Quest most of the time. Towards the end of our travels, we found a little route planner mapping app, but I could not find it today for the life of me. It would show the route just like AAA used to give you for road trips only it was on the computer. I will keep looking and see if it's still around. It gave campgrounds nearby on your map route as well. It was a small startup company, but the mapping stuff was cool and we liked it. Maybe AAA still has trip mapping and is more modern now with the tech part, I don't know.

  3. We do use Google Maps and have just gritted our teeth and dealt with each modification. Searching for places to stay involves use of Google Maps satellite view and the parks map. Deciding on route involves routing by Google Maps and looking closely at the various options they offer. If we are heading into new territory that looks like it might not be good for towing a 5th wheel we do searches on the specific highway in question. If our route of choice does not match Google Maps I make sure I know exactly where the route deviates, perhaps on paper, and I guide us to our new location.

  4. Google is the new Microsoft. Force products that don't work and/or have fewer useful features on the customer. Hey, it's "free," so don't complain.

    I started getting the notice several weeks ago. It was outlined in yellow up by the search bar. Small print, and you had to click on "Learn More" link to get the details.

    Like you, I have no use for the new Google Maps. I will not use it because it no longer has the features you describe. I'm not interested in pictures of an area posted by the public. This ain't Facebook or Twitter, and someone's two minutes of fame for their pictures don't make me want to use the product.

    I need to drill down to street view like you do. Nothing beats seeing your route and the major interchanges you will use. So I will wait until they come to their senses, or a competitor provides a similar product.

  5. I've never used Google Maps to plan my trips, so I really can't share in your frustration with that. I have used a Garmin 465T (which is an older "truckers" GPS). It can be set to route your vehicle as a car, bus, MC, or truck. You can input length, weight, and height so that the route doesn't take you on roads that a large vehicle can't navigate. It has done a very nice job of this so far. The caveat here is that it's an older GPS and has been replaced by a newer model with a larger screen (not a bad thing), but I'm sure the software hasn't changed much.
    When I want to check out a particular street-level view I still go to Google Earth for that.
    We plan our trips with a combination of the Garmin GPS, Microsoft Streets and Trips (which is no longer supported by MS) and sometimes an older version of Delorme's Street Atlas.
    Hope some of this helps.

  6. I just start using Google maps when I got new phone...I don't know if I had old Google Maps or new maps..I like what I got it has GPS...I just type in an address or a name like a campground..then when it comes up on Google search most often with a map I jus click on the map and my rt. is all mapped out for me ...and I can zoom in...now do you think I have old or new....I have not got any notice yet...on other thing I have the option on my phone that allows Google to follow me...I know some people don't like that...but traveling alone I think it is best for me...if you think I have the new let me know and maybe I can help...but I would like to know what I have...donnna

  7. I did recently get a GPS and smart phone...but alas, they are only as smart as the user.... The is a huge learning curve and plenty of mistakes yet t o be made. So I am anxious to learn from you and your readers.

  8. Feel your pain.... and I want the T-Shirt!!!

    Since we drove separately until recently, I always researched our routes very carefully to be sure we would not have an issue with the Motorhome. I practically drove the route virtually before we left on our trip. However, since I have an older computer, Google maps will only allow me to run Google Maps Lite:o((( So I have an even more useless product!!! I will not even been able to test drive the new Google Maps until I upgrade my computer:-(((((

    I am currently using Google Maps Lite to get my initial route and drill down to street view to check out possible issues. Then I check ALLSTAYS for rest stops, Walmarts and low clearance issues. Once I have all that info, I plug it in to MapQuest which will allow me to drag my route to get around any obstacles or areas I want to avoid. I am going to be searching for a software package that will better meet my needs and hopefully not require me to rely on Google!!!

  9. Guess I'm old fashion, stubborn or stupid as I use exclusively paper maps but then I'm also not driving a very large rig.

    1. Gosh, I'm glad I'm not the only one! I tell people I'm a Luddite. I go to the local truck stop and buy a new version of the laminated spiral-bound truckers road atlas every other year or so and I have copies of all the Delorme's atlas gazetteer for each state I want to drive through.

  10. We are still in the "getting to know you" phase with our new Rand McNally GPS. You enter your rig size, including height, and in theory it will take you on the safest route. Twice on our Laughlin trip I was unhappy with it - once it missed an important turn and once it would have taken us on a narrow road when the interstate was better for a rig. It gives all the road warnings with plenty of notice, but cracks me up when it tells you there's a caution curve ahead. We watched for signs, and every time there's a yellow sign marking a curve in the road the GPS notes it. I've started using the mapping software on goodsam.com for our trip planning because it can be uploaded to the GPS. There are several features we haven't tried yet so can't speak to all the bells and whistles. While it tries to show you just the Good Sam parks, it will show all the campgrounds in the area of your route, and I've used that to pre-plan our stops. I still use Google Earth on my phone to view access roads, parking lots, etc., keeping in mind the time delay will not pick up current construction. The GPS program is supposed to do that (we got the lifetime updates) so we'll see.

  11. Last week I was able to revert to the old google maps. I use the gas layer a lot when we are traveling. This link was helpful. I also turned off automatic updates. So I have now reverted to the factory installed google maps and will not accept any updates what so ever. No telling how long it will last.


    Look on ebay for a copy of Microsoft Trips and Streets. I use it extensively when route planning. It's not great but I haven't found anything else. Unfortunately, Microsoft it their infinite wisdom, decided to stop supporting the product.

    Good luck with the search.

  12. I use Google Maps, but have no idea what version it is. I also have a trucker's GPS. Then there is also my paper atlas. I use all three to decide my route. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn't. I'm not much help, am I?

  13. Sherry, we use a Garmin 465T like Dee and Jim and have had very few issues with her, although you do have to use a little judgement at times...she seems a bit confused out her in Page AZ! I will first plan my route using Microsoft Street and Trips (bought the newest version when they announced they were no longer supporting it) and then recheck it against the GPS. If there's a severe discrepancy I will do my best to find out why, and then determine if I can take the route I wanted. When on the move, I use Allstays, rvparkreviews, and suggestions from Streets and Trips for campgrounds. I sporadically use Google Earth but it seems maybe I should start? For non-interstate travel I found truckstopsonline.com last year to be useful in plotting where to stop for fuel on those undesirable long travel days. Hope this helps!

  14. Sherry, we have used Google maps for years and we didn't like the change either for quite awhile. However, we have gotten more used to it.

    That said, it appears that this web address might give you the old version for awhile, no idea how long.


    Also, read this page where I got this information.


    As to GPS, we have used Garmin for years and while they aren't perfect they are my preferred GPS.

    Here is a link to comparisons of the various RV specific GPS.


    Hope this helps.


  15. I dislike the new maps on PC as well. Here is what has worked for me to get around it...but it doesn't work on all my systems or browsers for whatever reason, probably depending on what I have accepted or used on them.

    For a while I was using the old Google maps at http://www.google.com/local but then they just kicked that over for me too. Now I found the old, and it's working for me this week, at https://maps.google.com/maps/mm

  16. One addition to what I just posted. I assume that one of your concerns is low clearance bridges. The RV/Truck type GPS claims to have this but I don't know how complete that info is.

    Here is a link that claims to offer a package that you purchase and add to an existing GPS to offer this same info although they claim a better database.


  17. I just must be old fashioned in this case. Give me a paper map any day.

    1. I spent my entire working career behind the wheel of a car getting from one point to another using paper maps and I would never willingly go back. We travel all the time and are in new places all the time. The sheer pleasure of not having to worry about a map and how you are getting somewhere, especially in a city is worth the minor aggravations of a GPS.

      To us a GPS equals pretty much headache free travel.

      But as they say, YMMV.


  18. I like the classic maps better, but now use the new maps. What I do is make a preliminary route using G-maps, then put it in the GPS. What I really use it for is to be sure I know exactly where the RV Park, State Park, etc. is located and does it correspond to the GPS. If I can't see a satellite view of it, I have even changed my destination because I have been fooled once too often by the GPS saying to go down this road, just to have to unhook the car and turn around. The ONLY thing I like about the new maps is the feature where you can see pictures of areas of interest around where you are headed. (Bottom right corner) Of course, it is full of pictures of non-interesting places too....but you catch some gems in there sometimes.

  19. I have always used MS Streets and Maps to plot my routes. I find it very user friendly and it has categories of places along the way including campgrounds. It is PC based and can be manipulated many different ways and you can check many alternate routes.

    We mainly use RVparkreiews to look at campgrounds along with Passport America.

    Since I decide how I am going before I leave, I use a standard Garmin GPS to help along the way.

  20. I'm the official router for the two of us. I start with Google maps, fought against the old one, but figured I can't fight progress, so use the new version. Then depending on where we go, I choose an RV park by looking on RV Park Reviews, the park website,and any other website such as state or national parks. Once we know where we're going, we plug the address into our Rand McNally GPS (RV Version). She's got all our info in it, our height, width, length, etc. Then I go back and compare the Google Map route and GPS for differences. Sometimes as we're driving I pull up the map on my phone (Google) to see what's coming up too. Works for us!

  21. I use a GPS because I don't have a navigator, but I also have a paper map on the passenger seat and review it when I'm at a rest stop. I tape a note to the dashboard with exit #'s because the GPS sometimes wants to go a different way. I have tricked the GPS by entering in addresses of Visitor Centers or A post office this will keep me on the side roads and off the major highways. A GPS doesnt show the entire route at once, its purpose is to annouce the next turn to you. I have used Google, Mapquest, freetrip.com which is now part of GoodSam and probably AAA. I am not loyal to anyone in particular. KOA even has a mapping device on their website.

  22. Well you know you are not alone Sherry. Steve the other day was just upset as you are because he said he can no longer put GPS coordinates which Google removed from their new mapping. We do have a Rand McNally GPS which also recently has been choking and misdirecting us. Recently we bought an IPAD and there are so many apps that helps locate RV Parks, Fuels, low bridges and so on. We haven't used it because Steve was relying on Google Maps. Now we will definitely be using the various apps on iPAD.
    As for the maps I had been creating, that will have to be exported somewhere to a new map.
    Nina of Wheeling it actually blogged about the new map she is using, this might help.

  23. I like MapQuest for planning our routes, and Eric likes to get a visual with paper maps. We don't use a GPS --we tried one briefly but the stupid thing kept trying to make us turn left off of a bridge into the water. Didn't exactly win our trust. For in town travel we use Waze on our iPhones -- it's a great app and never steers us wrong.
    As far as figuring out where to stay, I use a combination of Ultimate Campgrounds (for public campgrounds), RV Park Reviews, and I also just search online for "camping near wherever it is we want to go" and interesting things come up. :-)

  24. We have a trucker's GPS that we always program for our destination. I also map out our route on Microsoft streets and trips on a Windows laptop that I keep on my in-dash pull out desk while we're traveling. We bought the GPS version, so I can make on the fly changes or have it re-route us if we make a wrong turn, or Mui decides to follow the truck GPS. If we're traveling in an area were not familiar with, I use Google Earth or Google Maps Satellite/Street Level to zoom into and check out the roads. Once I am satisfied with the route, I can add rest areas, fuel stops, campgrounds, and more from the built in list, or put in an address myself. One problem with S&T (at least my version) is that it doesn't know that we're a rig with a toad. That's where the trucker's GPS comes into play. We always program it as well, and it's usually in agreement with the route, but if it signals an alert, Mui makes the decision, based on the type of alert, whether to stick with my route or follow the trucker's GPS.

    I have heard there is a GPS out there geared for RVers, but because we have the trucker's GPS have not looked into it.

  25. I print off directions before I go anywhere even though my pickup has a navigation system. I like the big picture which you can't get with nav systems. And I print it off in segments so I get good detail. As soon as Google changed, I tried to use it a few times and after a few tries and a lot of wasted effort, I switched back to MapQuest which I had previously used for a long time. The new Google Maps sucks.

  26. I too hate the new Google maps. In fact I switched over all my maps earlier this year. That said I haven't found a really easy alternative. I used to love Microsoft Street and Trips, but it's been discontinued. Delorme has a mapping program that many people like, but I haven't tried it. Otherwise your best bet is simply buying an RV or trucker GPS.


  27. Sherry, I agree!!! We are upset about the change, too. I googled some things this morning and came across a petition to sign to bring back Classic Google Maps.


    Also, found this page with others not happy with the change:


    Connie in PA

  28. Like most folks here I pre-route with Google Maps on the computer, then note all my addresses or coordinates down for stops and plug them in to the GPS. We got a truckers' GPS for the RV, it will avoid low bridges and all that stuff. The feature I like the best is it shows gas stations and other stuff right on the map with little icons as you are driving. It was worth the money, but it is just a tool and you have to use your judgement when it's telling you where to go!


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