Saturday, September 30, 2023


RV boo-boos: GPS lies. RVer probably cries—while making difficult exit

If you’ve been RVing for long, you’ve probably found yourself and your rig in a tight spot. Sometimes it’s “our own darned fault,” but sometimes we have help getting into a predicament. When the GPS lies, things can happen.

Such was the case for Karlene S. She writes about an experience she had in the Southland. “Driving cross-country in our Class A with Honda CR-V in tow, we were following our GPS to our next stop at a campground near Murfreesboro, Tennesee. However, the GPS had us get off the freeway one exit too early.

“As we wound down a road that kept getting narrower, we ended up in a driveway between a house and barn. Luckily, the owner didn’t come out with his shotgun, and after a multi-point turn around, we got out of there with only a few scratches from tree limbs.”

Karlene sums it up this way: “Lesson: Don’t always believe what the GPS tells you!” Sounds like good advice for all of us!

And back in the day

We’re sorry to report that Karlene wasn’t able to provide us with a picture of this predicament. Most likely too busy looking out for that feller with the shotgun. However, we do have a strange photo from the archives. This one was a “publicity photo” for the RV industry from days gone by. We assume the thought was to illustrate how much fun you can have in your RV. Nowadays, we suspect this one wouldn’t get past the exploitation screeners. And just think. Back then they never dreamed of a GPS!

If you’ve seen, witnessed, or had your own “RV boo-boo” moment and have a photo to share with others, let us know. Fill out the form below, and put “boo-boo” on the subject line. Be sure to link your photo with the attachment tool on the form. 

Click or drag a file to this area to upload.

Other stories by Russ and Tiña De Maris


Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña De Maris
Russ and Tiña went from childhood tent camping to RVing in the 1980s when the ground got too hard. They've been tutored in the ways of RVing (and RV repair) by a series of rigs, from truck campers, to a fifth-wheel, and several travel trailers. In addition to writing scores of articles on RVing topics, they've also taught college classes for folks new to RVing. They authored the book, RV Boondocking Basics.


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1 year ago

Mom, is that you???

1 year ago

My first GPS was software on my ancient laptop with a responder that attached to the windshield, powered by my cigarette lighter. Thank goodness technology has improved!

As a visual learner, I like to preview our trip on Google maps’ satellite and street views. In many cases, You Tube will have videos of the drive to specific campgrounds or attractions. Once I have “seen” myself driving the route, I am much better at telling GPS to get lost instead of vice versa.

1 year ago

We had a “Magellan”, which was bought out by Garmen. Then we made the mistake of thinking a new Garmin would be better. It’s not.
running them both at the same time the old Magellan was more accurate time and time again.

1 year ago

We use maps and gps. In addition, I do a google satellite view of the area I want to visit. Really helps out when you reach your destination and recognize the streets, buildings and landmarks.

1 year ago

We are in a class B and can go most anywhere. Have used maps all our years. One year got a GPS. It sent us places we didn’t even know existed – saw a lot of neat things and had a good time. BUT if I actually want to get somewhere – paper map.

Jeff Craig
1 year ago

Got bit twice by Google Maps. Once was a minor issue, when it put me down the wrong street to enter the Rapid City KOA, and another one where it put me on a State Highway in southern Louisiana, only to come to a railroad crossing on a six foot levee – that even my high clearance Class A barely cleared. If I’d been in a longer diesel pusher, I’d have been screwed!
Since then, I bought a refurb RV GPS, but that died shortly after I bought it (backlight gave out). I’ve been using RVlife Pro and ToGo Premium for ‘RV Safe’ GPS, as well as Trucker Path routing on a trial. Between the three of them, and Waze for traffic on my two cell phones, I haven’t had an issue yet.

1 year ago

We had a similar GPS experience in Sopchoppy, Florida. The infernal thing took us on a dirt road that deadended at a fence while we were trying to get from the highway to the city campground. I had to back the fifth wheel 1/4-mile and turn around in a barnyard, with help from the friendly farmer. We then stopped at city hall to ask directions and made it to the cg without further headaches.

1 year ago

I don’t have GPS and no plans to. I like my paper maps.

I think a good example of not to trust your GPS is the story this last week of Ronnie and Beverly Barker. They followed their GPS ending up in the mountains on a road they got stuck on. Also, a good reminder to use common sense – if it looks wrong it probably is. I read they put in ‘no highways’ which is probably why they wound up on a gravel/dirt back road.

Also, always carry some water and food with you which they evidently did not have in their RV.

Irvin Kanode
1 year ago

I’ve seen signs at street entrances warning not to follow a GPS down it.

We once had the GPS tell us to make a left onto the desired road. But we were on a bridge over it and no interchange.

Uncle Swags
1 year ago

I have the paper maps from most state visitor centers and I highlight the routes driven. While driving I use the app that came with my RV (Becker) and Google maps on my cellphone. Part of the fun is listening to the 2 ladies argue when they have different ideas on which way to go. “Don’t listen to her, she doesn’t know where she’s going!!!”

And technology always does something to remind you that it’s not your friend. I added a WalMart stop on a recent trip and because I didn’t drive into the WalMart,the lady kept sending me back until I cleared it.

And Karleen shouldn’t worry about getting lost in Tennessee, unless she has the wrong bumper stickers.

1 year ago

Just had a similar issue in Deming New Mexico about 2 months ago. The Garman truckers GPS and the wife’s I pad tuned into Google maps had us get off the highway an exit before. It took us down the road over a couple of cattle guards and then turned us down a dirt road, at that point I saw a couple of RV’s about 100 yards down the dirt road and the GPS indicated that the park was about that distance, so we made the turn. It turned out the RV’s were neglected pieces of junk. We were now on a narrow dirt road with deep gullies on both sides, luckily after a few hundred yards we saw someone and they said it happens every week and told us a 1/4 mile down the road was a field to turn around. What a lucky break!

Ray D.
1 year ago

Good morning fellow RV ers hope everyone is doing good. As far as planning a weekend camping trip or a major vacation I’ve always relied on the Rand MC road atlas for trip plans. It never lets me down, once we have made our destination and reservation plans I sit down at the table and start making out the desired route. Then write out directions on a large post-it pad place it on dashboard, then as each direction is accomplished cross it out. Hasn’t failed yet. Yours in RVing Ray and Joy.

1 year ago

I have an old Garmin 660, and it’s the worst ever. It will tell me to drive miles down the street and make a U turn rather than turning left where I am. It doesn’t know of roads built years ago. And the worst was when it directed me to drive over the Snake River to get to my campsite.

Last edited 1 year ago by chris
1 year ago

Can’t count the number of times google maps has routed us around, over and through somewhere and then we end up right back on the same road we were on to begin with. We have seen some interesting things though. We just laugh and keep going.

1 year ago
Roger C
1 year ago
Reply to  Glenn

unfortunately the link doesn’t work unless you have a subscription.

1 year ago
Reply to  Roger C

I don’t have a subscription and the link comes right up for me. Do a search for Indiana RV couple missing in the last couple of weeks to find it. Very sad.

1 year ago

Paper map first and always. I pulled into a gas station once, while pulling my toad. Went to circle the station for a better approach to the pump island, Surprise, no road behind the station. Had to disconnect and do a multi-point backup exercise.

1 year ago

hahahaha….as to that photo…I ALWAYS look like that when we go camping! lol
Don’t you???

As to GPS reliability…..I am old school and still use–and love!—-paper maps.

1 year ago

Always listen to the campground for final directions! We use RV Tripwizard and a GPS for directions and had we followed either, we would have been directed onto a street that had VERY tight turns followed by crossing over a culvert bridge barely as wide as our Class A width!
Fortunately, I learned early in our travels!

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