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My Ski Trip


iPF Noob
Mar 25, 2010
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I thought some might be interested in how my iPad played into my ski trip. Used my iPad the entire trip for various purposes. For example, using the GPS with a road program to track our travel and plan our stops. Where possible, I was able to calculate when our pit stops should be, which towns and gas stations had the best prices, what restaurants were available. There were five of us in an old van that took $75 at each fuel stop along the 1000 miles each way. I plotted the route with the road app which I found a lot of things to hate. It did not use internal maps, expected 3G service along long stretches of interstate with 50-100 miles between towns. However, by working it out, I could tell which towns were our best options and then check Gas Buddy for prices. That saved up to $0.20/gal on occassion. I was also able to check weather and road conditions. When we decided to stop for the night on the way there, I checked the likely candidates. We found Denver booked solid for an event, but cheaper pricing at Limon which worked out better.

To make the trip pass easier, I had it loaded with several movies, TV shows, and books. Wound up reading a book I downloaded there from Amazon. The iPad kept me company when my wife gave me her bug and I only got two short days in before being laid up (and still am).

The iPad is changing the face of long trips and much is still to be done. I find most of the road mapping programs to be lacking. They need to have the maps built in to a degree that does not get you mad when you do not have a decent 3G signal. Mapping programs should be more flexible and be able to tell you things like distance to portions of the route, and allow you to modify the route to suite your needs. If you want to route thru a particular location, it should allow that with no issues. Particularly if it can tell you where a WalMart is, then it should be able to tell you how to include getting there and then getting back on route.

While I am on the subject, the next dang program that tries to sell me a mechanical nagging program is going to become trash. The routing program I had, added a voice command feature. I had four females nagging me on the road, and the last thing I wanted is another, but almost every screen on the app wanted me to pay money for that "advanced" capability. My personal opinion is that voice navigation should be made illegal as an unwanted and dangerous intrusion into driving. Just the increase in blood pressure the stupid thing causes could be enough to enduce an accident. My Garmin was bought for its bluetooth capability, but I cannot use it how I want because the stupid thing will not allow me to use the bluetooth and mute the voice commands. Worthless carp!!!! They should also have a feature to tell it that if you chose to take a different route, to not continue to argue.

The main problem is that on long drives, the 3G service is intermitten, but actually better than I expected. I can remember how just a few years ago, getting cell phone reception in western Kansas was patchy, but it allow us to call family and get weather updates during some nasty stuff. Once, we stopped in Hays to wait a storm out that was hitting Wichita.

The iPad has a lot of virtue for long drives and vacations. Something I am going to test out more over the next few years. It was definitely worth the money for 3G service. Interestingly, the mountain just got wireless cell service this year and even being only Edge, it was about equal to the wifi service they offer. I would suggest to Apple or an App developer that they might make a way to check the throughput of a location wifi and cell service and allow automatic switching to the faster connection somehow. I had eight open wifi stations available and they would never be consistent about speed. It was like they would alternate who got to receive data.
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