One piece of advice that should've been obvious to participants of last weekend's Rental Car Rally from Long Island City, New York, to Montreal, Quebec: use GPS.
Or so I figured, as one member of a three-person team equipped with a MacBook, an EVDO card, a GPS navigator, a backup GPS navigator, and a radar detector to know when authorities were nearby in case we, uh, pushed the speed limit a little bit. (We only used that in New York state, though, because radar detectors are illegal in Vermont and Quebec.)
The surprising truth? A large number of the driving squads had nothing but paper maps on them, making the overnight rally--with six backroad checkpoints, most of which were marked with nothing but a set of coordinates, to ensure that you couldn't just take I-87 the whole way--a pretty difficult affair.
But even with GPS, there was some head-scratching when everyone's Garmins and TomToms navigated them right to the shores of Lake Champlain and recommended that they take a ferry. The gadgets were right: teams that drove onto the Grand Isle ferry arrived in Montreal hours before teams that chose to drive around the lake.
As for the teams that opted for maps over GPS, most of them made it...eventually.… Read more