It was a tough decision to leave my friends behind in Charleston, SC but the desire to hit the road and see the rest of America is a strong force. Preparation is essential for a trip like I had planned. Though I have a decent GPS system on my cell phone, reception can be poor at times and it is geared primarily toward automobile travel. My dog and I were traveling in a 37 foot motor home to places we’d never been. That’s why I did a route request on the Google Map & Direction online service.
Google’s mapping service is so easy to use especially since my internet home page is Google. At the top of the screen I simply clicked on maps and was taken to an image of the United States. At the top left of the screen clicking on “Get directions” took me to two fields where I typed in my starting location; Charleston, SC and my destination which was Austin, TX. “Get directions” was highlighted in blue and clicking on it resulted in a route highlighted in blue spanning a route that included Atlanta, GA. I don’t want to drive through Atlanta in a car much less a motor home but with the Google map and direction service, alternative routes are provided. Positioning the mouse over each subsequent route changes the route’s blue line and one of those showed me an alternate through Jacksonville, FL which turned out to be almost the same distance and just a few minutes longer. I chose that route to avoid Atlanta and to enjoy a more southern route.
Specifics of the route are shown on the left of my screen and can be collapsed or expanded as needed. For this trip, it showed a southerly route on I-95 followed by a westward route along I-10. The total estimated mileage for the trip was given at 1266 miles and according to their calculations should take 20 hours and 53 minutes. Great. Positioning the mouse over each leg of the journey resulted in a marker that appeared on the map’s blue line route which gave me an idea of where I might want to stop along the way. Our first stop was in Kingsland, GA just shy of Jacksonville, FL.
Before departing Kingsland to continue our trip toward Texas, I once again looked up my route on Google’s map and directions service only this time my starting destination was where we were in Georgia. Overnight stops included Bonifay, FL and Saucier, MS and St. Martinsville, LA at RV Parks I had previously researched.
The remaining 395 miles to Austin showed the route going through Houston and though I was headed to Austin preferred not to go through Houston’s congestion. By clicking and holding the mouse button on the little circle in the middle of Houston on the blue route line and dragging, I pulled the route to a more northerly route through Conroe, TX where we made our last stop before arriving in the Austin area. According to Google, the change added six miles to my trip but eliminated tons of stress.
By combining the step by step computerized voice of my GPS system with the homework I did on Google’s Map & Direction Service, my dog Charlie and I arrived at our destination in central Texas without any great excitement or tales of adventure…my way to travel!