So after 10 days of travelling, I have some new insights as to what to do better and what could have been planned out more thoroughly as regards to gear and navigation equipment.
So my weaponry of choice on this trip included:
1 Toshiba Tecra laptop, with Wifi, Streets and Trips 2006, and iGuidance.
1 Bluetooth Holux GPS receiver (can also be used as a GPS mouse w/the USB cable).
1 HP iPaq 5550 PDA w/Bluetooth, wifi, and a fresh install of TomTom Navigator 5.21.
An aerial flare gun, road flares, etc...
There were 5 of us travelling on this trip, so each of us had various phones/car chargers, using CDMA and GSM networks. My friend even brought a CDMA broadband card for high speed internet.
Before the we left on our trip, I found that S&T's uses a static baud rate with any GPS receiver. The software only can use a 4,800 baud rate.
Browsing GPSPassion, I found a solution to this problem.
However, using GPSgate did not work correctly as it would constantly say my GPS receiver was not outputing data and thus would freeze S&T. I double-checked this result to make sure my receiver was not faulty, and found that it was software related.
I scrapped S&T's during the first hour of the trip and resorted to using TomTom for the rest of the trip.
S&T was great for planning and double checking our routes against TomTom's routes but much further than that, it's a quite bulky set up.
As for using TomTom, we got lost about 4 times total this trip, because I was using an older version of maps. It often had us going onto non-paved roads in rural areas. It even had us driving through a national park on a dirt road to get to our hotel!!
But for metropolitan areas, like Denver, Phoenix, etc.. it worked perfect.
My lesson learned is to bring paper maps next time, have all our routes on paper and confirmed to make sure of roads and road conditions.
I also learned that next time I go on a major trip like this, a satellite phone is a necessity. We drove approximately 4,500 miles in all, in 10 days. Only to break down 150 miles away from home on the last leg of the trip.
We were 11 miles east of Coachella in California on the 10 West around 7pm when our truck (2003 Yukon XL) died. We suspected it was the battery or alternator. The following morning, after getting home at 3am, I had the parts tested, only to find that the fuel pump had died.
We were quite lucky to break down so close to a city that we had cell phone coverage. There were quite long stretches of the trip which we had no reception, and were miles away from any type of city. Parts of Nevada, Utah, Colorado, and Wisconsin illustrate my point. If we had broken down, the only way to get help would have been to flag someone down.
All in all it was a great trip with only a few hiccups. I'll be more than willing to answer any questions you guys have about S&T, TomTom, etc..