Friday, June 30, 2006

GPS: Don't Leave Home Without It!

Earlier this year my dad purchased a Global Positioning System (GPS) and to be honest I was quite skeptical. Oh yah...another toy! Well...I was so wrong! This thing was AMAZING and I think at least 3 times a day during our trip either Sharon or I commented on how thankful we were to have it with us! A GPS my friends, is absolutely wonderful and well worth the $ if you travel at all!

This great little system attached to the front window of the car and sat on the dashboard. Upon arriving in Alberta we programmed it to read where we were (ok....took this rookie 2 days to do so!) and then we were off. Too cool! If you haven't tried one of these...DO!

I would program in our main locations and the machine did the rest. When we were leaving Three Hills Sharon went into the address book and pulled up our hotel in Calgary that was 1 1/2 hours away. Within seconds we knew exactly how many kms it was to the hotel, how long it should take, what direction we were driving, what road we were on, what direction and when the next turn would be and much more! Too cool! As we would get closer to a turn 'LucyFits' (our name for the voice as she just had to have a name) would begin to calmly say, 'Right turn in 3 kilometers.' Getting closer she'd say, 'Right turn in 1 km' then, 'approaching hard R turn' then *ding, ding* at the corner and she'd prepare for the next part of our journey! What a blessing when travelling in unknown areas! A map was no longer necessary although I did find myself carrying the Calgary phone book in the car the entire week so we could look addresses up to enter into the system. Want to know where the nearest Wal-Mart is? LucyFits can get you there lickity split!

The only small problem we ran into was when I was trying to map us to Three Hills which is a very small town. So small that we finally figured out it didn't really exist on LucyFits' system other than by name! The whole time we were there it looked like we were driving through fields. (Hmmm...come to think of it, we almost were!)

If you're in the mood for lunch, look up restaurants and LucyFits could tell you every one in the area or, the exact location of one if you looked it up by name. Need Gas, an ATM or Shopping Centre...oh yah...she can get you there too!

I found I had so much more freedom this vacation and did a ton more than I ever would have if I hadn't had LucyFits with me! It gave me freedom and a ton of security to have her guiding me.
Another great thing about this system is that if you make a wrong turn, or miss a turn, LucyFits recalculates a new route for you and doesn't even make rude comments for missing your turn! :o) Surprise, surprise...I'd get talking and missed my turn on several occassions!

Also, when Sharon and I took the 'dry run' from our hotel to Rocky Mountain College 9 kms away, it was on a Sunday morning. We got there just fine. But, come Monday that wasn't to be the case as Calgary has traffic realignment during peak hours for traffic going into the city in the morning and heading out of the city at night. The route we'd taken had changed directions so we couldn't use it to travel to the college. We just went straight where we had planned to turn and LudyFits quickly calculated a new route for us to take. Here you can see the route I'd take to pick Sharon up at night. (Took a lot of pictures resting the camera on the dashboard while driving this trip. They turned out surprisingly well!) In the morning the lane I'm in in this picture was travelling in the opposite direction and at night they close it down with pylons and change it's direction. You just know I had to use this lane every single night as I loved driving the 'wrong way' down the street! (One night I laughed as I quickly realized I wasn't the only one like this! The lane that I was in was full of cars but not a single car could be seen in the 'normal' lanes travelling in the same direction. Guess there's a bit of rebel in many of us!)

While we were in Calgary there were a number of examiners staying at our hotel. There were 3 others who were examining at Rocky Mountain College so rather than them hiring a taxi each morning and afternoon I'd play chauffer and take them back and forth. After the first day or so I was comfortable with the route so didn't use LucyFits all the time. Not soon after leaving the college one of the examiners mentioned that the nice lady wasn't talking to us any more and could I turn it back on. It was fun and everyone who got in the car quickly saw the benefits of having a GPS.

If you have an opportunity to try one out or even better to purchase one, I'd say 'Go for it!'


  1. I try to get one of those when I'm travelling on business and renting a car, unless it's someplace like Des Moines that I know pretty well. They are very handy! I think my next car will definitely have one of these.


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