BMWMOA Route 66 GPS Review

Oct 24, 2012   « Prev Article | Next Article »
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The September 2012 issue of BMWMOA magazine reviewed the River Pilot Route 66 GPS with Ready2Go Tours software. The article follows:

The River Pilot Route 66 Attractions with Ready2Go Tours© for Garmin® GPS

“History Cradled in the Palm of Your Hand”

     While this great country of ours holds many wonders that can be appreciated on two wheels, for those of us unlikely to fund overseas touring on our BMW’s anytime soon, historic Route 66 is the “Holy Grail” of domestic exploration, encompassing eight states from windy Chicago to the blue Pacific. This once vibrant path from the heart of the Midwest to southern California shores is now an iconic ghost of renamed roads, rusting landmarks and fading memories, assimilated by progress. Yet, like Dorothy’s ruby red slippers, an appropriate Garmin® GPS mated with the Route 66 GPS Turn By Turn Attractions Guide© can magically transport you back through time to a detailed re-tracing of not only the original journey, but introduces you to some 900 points of interest (POI) along the way - a sort of historical treasure hunt, where each ‘chest’ has been buried, not in sand, but by the relentless march of time.

Pontiac, IL.     My voyage began with contacting River Pilot Tours of Cheyenne, WY. Be forewarned: when it comes to customer support, these are passionate people who delight in successfully equipping you with this unique tool of discovery. I spoke at length with company CEO River Pilot (Yup – that’s his real name), and he personally coached me thru the remote downloading of software into my Garmin Zumo 660® (600 series is the best platform, though the Zumo 550 can also be accommodated). Once on-board, I was treated to turn-by-turn instructions (English or French), audible and visual proximity alerts should I approach preserved relics or active/refurbished sites, and high-resolution photos with informative texts to enhance my encounters – all neatly tucked away inside your choice of the Zumo’s hard drive or the micro-SD card. One cannot help but be impressed by the quality and quantity of material that has been researched for this product – the entire route and each POI has personally been visited, verified and often photographed. This download would easily be worth the purchase price even if you never found the time to venture along its meandering path – the historical content alone, a virtual archive of fading Americana, is a worthy and visually stunning addition to your device!

     I found the company-provided ‘pdf primer’ invaluable in prepping my GPS to embrace the software, and customers are strongly advised to follow these recommendations to the letter. What you gain in return is an authentic tour guide of a seemingly transparent landscape that could very well translate into one of your most nostalgic domestic trips ever taken by motorcycle. Extreme care was exercised to create this “living document” (periodic updates), and it’s evident that River brought his computer industry, military and flight training disciplines to the table when he meticulously crafted this resource. In close association with Garmin®, this company has created digital mapping that sets the bar at its highest level for GPS-assisted travel, and has earned both praise and credibility from customers and cartographers alike.

     Since heading down to central Missouri in July for the BMW MOA Rally could take me along nearly 300 miles of old Route 66 in Illinois, I put the software to work just south of Chicago. Audibly alerted when near a point of interest, I followed instructions and found myself in Pontiac, IL, standing in front of an old brick firehouse. It’s really a museum of artifacts about Route 66 unique to Illinois, and displays a beautiful mural on its south side. In fact, the entire neighborhood is dotted with businesses that seem to celebrate an older time, when life had simpler choices and just one road could be your gateway to traveling adventure.

     Speaking of “gateway,” my travels to Sedalia had me passing by the Gateway To The West ArchGateway Arch in St. Louis, MO. Again, the software educates you as to what you’re near and it vectored me to where I found myself starring up at this magnificent 630’ structure, symbolizing America’s quest for exploration and honoring those pioneers bold enough to begin a new life west of the Mississippi. It was America’s first National Historic Site.

     With about 900 points of interest programmed into your GPS, it’s easy to immerse yourself in American history, from covered bridges (Glen Carbon, IL) to Lincoln’s historic home (Springfield, IL) to the Dixie Truck Stop in McLean, IL (the original Route 66 Museum before it found bigger quarters in Pontiac). I could have spent days just wandering the states of Illinois and Missouri, but I had a rally to get to. I can foresee this software resource providing me with several summers of exploration not unlike those early pioneers, where you sense something of interest is out there – you just have to be bold enough to go find it.

     To preview or acquire this product (as well as several others), simply access the web site: http://shop.spotitout.com/ or contact the company by phone @ 1-307-222-6347. It retails for $29.95 and can also be gifted by purchasing a pair of $15 Spot It Out® pre-paid gift cards, available, for example, at Best Buy®.

Kevin Greenwald, #124358