Garmin GPSMap 60c
My first GPSr was a Garmin eTrex Legend. I’ve since upgraded to the GPSMAP 60C, which is has a larger, color display, a much longer battery life and, most importantly, autorouting. I recently took a vacation where I drove from Washington, D.C. through Gettysburgh and Philadelphia to New York and then back to D.C., and did it entirely with the GPSr. No maps or directions or missing my turns because I wasn’t paying attention. The GPSr managed the route and notified me in advance when I needed to turn.
Geocaching.com Besides driving directions, I also use it for geocaching, which is sort of a modern day treasure hunt. Someone hides a container with a logbook and some inexpensive trinkets somewhere and posts the GPS coordinates on the Internet. Other people then enter those coordinates into their GPSr and go find the cache. Sound easy? It’s not necessarily as easy as you might think. Most GPS receivers have a margin of error of 15-50 feet under unobstructed skies. Compound that with some creative cache container camouflage and you might have a cache that’s almost impossible to find. Example: the coordinates lead you to a small field of rocks about 300 feet square. One of those rocks is a hide-a-key (the cache). That one took me three attempts before I finally found it… Once you find the cache, you sign the log and perhaps trade one of the trinkets for one you brought with you. For most people, the reward is in finding the cache and enjoying the cache location (normally a scenic spot), not the trinkets found within the cache.
The GPSr is also useful for calculating the ETA to a destination, finding your average speed or even for finding the nearest Starbucks. It’s one of the few gadgets I own that I actually use almost every day. It’s become an indespensible tool in my daily life. If you’re thinking of buying one, I strongly recommend that you do and that you get one with routing if you can. You’ll constantly be finding more and more uses for it – for instance, you’ll never lose your car in a large parking lot again…