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  1. #1
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    Just got my new Garmin Dakota 20 GPS

    I'm starting the Southern Tier Route next week from Florida to Ca. I just got my new Garmin Dakota 20 GPS, loaded it up with City Navigator North America Maps, and loaded the GPS route coordinates from Adventure Cycling that you get here: http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/southerntier.cfm

    With all the POI's that are in City Navigator, and the navigation and helpful points from Adventure Cycling's research I hope to use the GPS as my primary aid to navigation.

    I did order the paper maps for the first section of the route to see how it compares, and have it in an Ortlieb map holder on my bag/bars.

    The Garmin is mounted on a RAM bar mount, next to my iPhone and a Cateye computer. Looks like the Starship Enterprise, but I am a gadget enthusiast.

    I am running a hub dynamo that charges up extra batteries for the GPS and iPhone, so hope to have power for he trip without needing to plug in too much.

    What I like about the GPS is that I can now relax and enjoy the ride, knowing that if I get off course/lost/distracted/delayed I can let the GPS reroute me back on course automatically. I will also have a track of my ride with statistics, blah, blah.

    I'll post how the dynamo charging works when I have some experience.

  2. #2
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    I have an oregon 550t but the dakota is a much nicer size for bike riding..

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    I have an eTex, but I'm guessing the new touch sensitive units are easier to operate. The buttons on the eTrex are not real easy to activate.

    I was inspired by your post to download the ACA waypoints for the first time. Looks good. I'm no geek, but have done some research on how to
    deal with creating a track file for the eTrex. The ACA file looks like a straight line track file in the eTrex, with waypoints at intersections. The eTrex will not give turn-by-turn directions from a downloaded file, track or route. I am curious if you've been able to test the Dakota for turn-by-turn directions with a downloaded file? The Edge units reportedly will handle downloaded route files, turn-by-turn.
    Last edited by Cyclebum; 12-16-11 at 09:37 AM.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  4. #4
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    Two days of use with Dakota and AC GPS route downloaded (Atlantic route, Florids from Vero to St Augustine), it's routing at the turns and able to pick campsites, etc. I edited the raw Gpx file to make it smaller for the part I didn't need. I get turn by turn and it beeps so I can look down. So far so good. I have the Garmin City Navigator database in the Dakota and don't know if it is using it to recalc routes as I just loaded the waypoints and route extension points. Will report with more info.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cyclebum View Post
    The eTrex will not give turn-by-turn directions from a downloaded file, track or route.
    Lots of different eTrex models, but AFAIK, even the most basic will give a crude form of turn-by-turn from a downloaded route; i.e. shortly before you reach an intersection in the route the screen will indicate 'Approaching Turn' and an arrow will show the 'as the crow flies' direction to the next intersection. Except in isolated cases where the roads twist and turn alot, this is usually sufficient to know which way to go at the intersection.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Cyclebum's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by prathmann View Post
    Lots of different eTrex models, but AFAIK, even the most basic will give a crude form of turn-by-turn from a downloaded route; i.e. shortly before you reach an intersection in the route the screen will indicate 'Approaching Turn' and an arrow will show the 'as the crow flies' direction to the next intersection. Except in isolated cases where the roads twist and turn alot, this is usually sufficient to know which way to go at the intersection.
    I have a Vista HCX. All trial snap-to-road routes I've downloaded from two different maping sites have been recalcuated, corrupted, to suit the whims of the eTrex, making the turn-by-turn directions useless. This is a complaint others have voiced. Glad for the OP that his Dakota is behaving itself with ACA waypoints. Supposedly, the Edge series also will handle downloaded routes well.

    Tracks downloaded to the eTrex work fine of course, but no turn-by-turn. I have not tried working with ACA downloads to see how the eTrex processes those in real time, but as they are just a series of waypoints, ought to work. No ACA routes near where I live.

    As I am no geek, I may be missing some little trick when trying to make a downloaded route work in the eTrex, but I doubt it.

    Routes created within the eTrex work great, but if very long, can be tedious to do. Mapping on line is more fun.
    The bicycle is one of the great inventions of mankind. Delights children, challenges young men to feats of daring, and turns old men into boys again.--Me

  7. #7
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    I've been looking at Garmin Dakota 20 also but have not pulled the trigger. Do you still like it and would you buy it again or buy something else?

  8. #8
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    I love it, good size/wt, screen good, city navigator map great for POI's, batteries last days with on-off use. Handlebar RAM mount perfect location. Can't think of another one I would like better, yet!
    Last edited by lhendrick; 01-03-12 at 01:36 PM.

  9. #9
    Senior Member socalrider's Avatar
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    If I had to do over again I would of bought the Dakota 20 instead of Oregon just for form factor. It is more manageable for hiking and riding, which is what I mainly use mine for.

    http://gpstracklog.com/2009/10/garmi...20-review.html

  10. #10
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    I'm also looking at the Garmin ETrex 30. It offers almost identical specs except it also accesses the Rusian GLONASS satellites which might come in handy if Zero signs off on the LightSquared application to encroach on the GPS satellite bands. Has anyone looked at these? The reviews are pretty good and like the Dakota 20s, there are good and bad points on both.

  11. #11
    Dane silvercreek's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lhendrick View Post
    I'm starting the Southern Tier Route next week from Florida to Ca. I just got my new Garmin Dakota 20 GPS, loaded it up with City Navigator North America Maps, and loaded the GPS route coordinates from Adventure Cycling that you get here: http://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/southerntier.cfm

    With all the POI's that are in City Navigator, and the navigation and helpful points from Adventure Cycling's research I hope to use the GPS as my primary aid to navigation.

    I did order the paper maps for the first section of the route to see how it compares, and have it in an Ortlieb map holder on my bag/bars.

    The Garmin is mounted on a RAM bar mount, next to my iPhone and a Cateye computer. Looks like the Starship Enterprise, but I am a gadget enthusiast.

    I am running a hub dynamo that charges up extra batteries for the GPS and iPhone, so hope to have power for he trip without needing to plug in too much.

    What I like about the GPS is that I can now relax and enjoy the ride, knowing that if I get off course/lost/distracted/delayed I can let the GPS reroute me back on course automatically. I will also have a track of my ride with statistics, blah, blah.

    I'll post how the dynamo charging works when I have some experience.
    I wish I could do something like that. Good luck and have a great ride and be safe.

  12. #12
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    Hey guys I looked at the site but it looks like this GPS is for hiking and I need one for cycling, does it come with a handlebar mount? I am a noob on this stuff. thanks for your help

  13. #13
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    You can get a handlebar mount for any of the Garmin GPS's Just Google RAM bicycle mounts to start....let me know if you need more assistance.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by silvercreek View Post
    I wish I could do something like that. Good luck and have a great ride and be safe.
    Thanks, I just completed my shake down trip of three days to test my rig and gear, and am in the process of taking some weight off the bike and refining my load so I don't have a heart attack. The electronic part of the rig is working nicely. Shimano hub dynamo, Biologic Reecharge battery pack and extra 500maH battery pack for charging iPhone and AA bats for GPS are all working. Changed to a smaller lighter camera too. Lighter tent (3 lbs now, was 6lbs.) Lighter cook set too. Less (almost none) off bike clothing.

    I also needed to start off with some shorter days to get acclimated better, especially my butt (new Brooks saddle was killing me, got some ButtR and adjusted the seat more level and forward)

    Having done all that, I'm not sure I want to ride across the South US having spent a few days in Florida, and may just take a few weeks to get in shape and then head over to Europe next Spring for some improved cultural opportunities. Not a snob, but life is too short to eat McDonalds and watch pickup trucks all day

  15. #15
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    I got a Dakota 20 for Christmas and still sorting it out. I have used an Edge 305 since 2009 and love it but I needed something for touring. The Edge supports the Garmin Training Center software including showing heart rate time zone times. I am trying to get the Dakota to do the same and the remaining problem is the average speed on the Dakota uses the track total time instead of moving time. I have to use "TCX Converter" to get the heart info to load into GTC. Has anyone used the Setup/Track/Record Method/Distance feature?

  16. #16
    Senior Member The Chemist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pluto View Post
    I'm also looking at the Garmin ETrex 30. It offers almost identical specs except it also accesses the Rusian GLONASS satellites which might come in handy if Zero signs off on the LightSquared application to encroach on the GPS satellite bands. Has anyone looked at these? The reviews are pretty good and like the Dakota 20s, there are good and bad points on both.
    That's what I have on my bike. It is very fast to acquire a signal, and it is very accurate (thanks in part, I'm sure, to the GLONASS capability). It's also easy to operate with thick gloves, thanks to the joystick and large buttons on the side. The battery life is also excellent.
    Luke Richardson - Shanghai, China
    Giant FCR3500 - "Big Red"

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