The Montana Odyssey, Part Two
Besides the Astro, there were a couple of other weapons in our high-tech navigation arsenal: the GPSMAP 378 and the nuvi 200. Having automotive navigation on any trip is great, but in the vast expanses of the west, it’s downright critical. Gas stations aren’t exactly found on every corner, so it’s imperative that you fill up when you can, and know how many miles you’ve got before you have to start walking (and since cell service was spotty at best, calling AAA wasn’t usually an option).
We hunted strictly public or public access land in Montana — BLM, BMA, or State Trust land. Finding land to hunt isn’t the problem in Montana, because there are literally millions of acres available. However, actually finding the land you wanted to hunt was another story. The Montana Fish, Wildlife, and Parks Department should be commended for distributing literally hundreds of maps to hunters, but you really need a dependable GPS to help make sense of them. Our Garmins helped us orient ourselves and get from place to place much more efficiently.
Another feature on the GPSMAP 378 that can’t be praised highly enough is the XM Radio and XM WX Satellite Weather interface. We’d be in the middle of nowhere, deciding tomorrow’s plans, and we had accurate, up-to-date weather conditions and forecasts literally at our fingertips. And let’s not even start talking about how nice it is to have crystal clear music, news, or sports talking to you while staring at the world through a windshield for hundreds of miles.
Those satnavs also did their jobs in finding motels. I love a good full-service concierge-level Marriott as much as anyone, but the 1950s-era motor lodge is the name of the game in small towns throughout the West. Thankfully, our Garmins had us covered on that front — and they also helped us find a tasty ribeye or the occasional watering hole along the way.
Next, we’re off to hunt the deep, thick, and boggy Minnesota Northwoods for ruffed grouse and woodcock. Stay tuned for a full report from that odyssey!
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