VIDEO: Road Atlas

Posted In: Product Review, RV Products, Video

Maps. No great American road trip is complete without ’em.

Or is it? Sometimes it’s tempting to think we can leave the maps at home. After all, these days they’re packing GPS units in cereal boxes. And GPS units have maps, right?

Not so fast, my friends.

As much as I love our GPS, we haven’t yet invented a technological gadget that truly replaces a good old fashioned ink-and-paper map. A GPS is not a map.


Part of the fun of a road trip is charting your own course. You need to scan a map to get the big picture, an overview of ALL the territory.

You make discoveries when browsing maps that can really enhance the quality of your trip. (“Hey, why are we taking a boring ribbon of asphalt when we could be traveling The Avenue of the Giants?”)

You also learn when browsing maps. You learn geography, you learn topography, you learn trivia. You develop a better understanding of our country, its wide ranging landscape, and how all the pieces fit together. The same can’t be said of punching coordinates into a GPS.

When we travel, Kristy usually handles on-the-fly map navigation while I steer our rig down the road. Many times she’ll pick up the map to check one small matter, and then continue reading it for a long time.

Once we bought our GPS, I thought this behavior might change. But no, we still find ourselves referencing a map. The GPS tells us how to get from point A to point B. But we use the map to define point A and point B!

We’ve used different maps over the years, but always come back to a Rand McNally version. You may want to get one with spiral binding, since it allows you to easily leave the atlas open to a page of your choosing.

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