Messing with the GPS lady

CRESCENT CITY, Calif.--I've been on my road trip for more than 24 hours now, and I've already found something to amuse myself while I drive.

Now granted, this probably wouldn't amuse anyone else, but it does give me something to chuckle at as the miles roll by.

And that is to program a destination into the Magellan Roadmate 3000T GPS car navigator I'm reviewing, head in the direction it suggests and then make unexpected detours.

As anyone who has used one of these devices--or something similar to it--knows, the GPS doesn't quite know how to handle this without assuming that you've done something wrong.

Road Trip 2006

Thus, the gentle but authoritative female voice requests, very calmly but firmly, that I take the next opportunity to do a "legal" u-turn and return to the route the device has provided me.

This can continue on for miles and miles, as I discovered Thursday when I detoured substantially. The unit didn't seem to get that I had changed routes. And to be sure, there's no reason to blame the poor device. After all, I told it where I wanted to go, took its advice and then ignored it, all without informing it I was disregarding its suggestion.

But it did confuse me at one point when it appeared to have finally understood that I was on a new route and was now pointing me forward using the alternate highway I had chosen, and yet miles later, it suddenly told me to take a u-turn and go back. There was no call for that.

Anyway, for those of you with years of experience with these devices, this probably sounds very naive and behind the tech curve. Well, you may be right. But I've got 2,000 or so miles to go and only , and I have to find ways to humor myself while I pass through countless small towns and innumerable trees.

Meanwhile, I do have to praise one of the other GPS units I'm carting around, the Garmin GPSMap 76Cx. I've been using that device to divine my latitude and longitude coordinates at each stop so that the interactive map on the road trip special report page accurately shows my location. And it has been doing so obediently and, I have to assume, accurately. Way to go!

Autoplay: ON Autoplay: OFF