This is the first time I took my new car MyVi(bought in Nov.,2007) to go back to my kampung,Pondok Beris,Bachok,Kelantan.The distance from my house in KL is about 460km away and it took me about 8 hours with one hour of rest at two stops-coffee break and lunch break.
The route to be taken is KL,Raub,Kuala Lipis,Merapoh,Gua Musang,Kubang Kerian, and finally Pondok Beris.The question you may asked is why do I need GPS navigation on the route I have been travelling umpteen times since more than 30 years ago?
There are a few reasons and they will reveal themselves as I wrote this note about my recent trip from KL to my mother's house in Bachok,Kelantan.
My journey began at 8:30am and immediately I reset my GPS(Garmin Nuvi200W).Everything set to zero and set my destination to my mother's house.It took about a few minutes before my GPS was connected to satellites.Then it began navigating my car with voice instructions and visual graphic on the screen.Great!As we approached the Gombak toll,I clicked a button to check how far more I have to travel ,then I realised something was wrong with the map.It showed that the distance to destination is about 300km away.I knew for sure that the destination is more than 400km away.From my previous experience travelling from KL to JB(about 330km away),I discovered that the error is about 20km-less than 10% based on the milestone on the road.However, for short distance(less than 1km),it could go up to 50%.Using this GPS,I knew how far I had travelled and how many km more to go and the ETA(estimated time of arrival).Distance is a fix parameter, but ETA will change according to my continuously updated moving average speed.In the event the traffic is heavy, the ETA will keep on adding time.The other parameters measured by the GPS are the maximum speed, the overall moving avearge sped and the idle(stationary) time.Overall,it captures the time/distance elements of the journey.
Another interesting feature is GPS indicates the distance to next change of direction(at junctions/ roundabout) and on the map I could see which is the next town ahead as well by the side of the route I was travelling.As we travelled,I could identify the petrol stations within 10km in case I need to fill my car fuel tank or to empty my own personal tank.(WC).Not only petrol stations,I could also locate the nearest restaurants,shopping centres and police stations along the route.
Before I detour too far(forget),when I found something wrong with reading of the distance from Gombak toll to my destination,I change the destination to Raub,then to Kuala Lipis.However from Kuala Lipis to Gua Musang,my GPS was having problem with the map.Along this route,the road signs are more reliable than the GPS distance to destination.However, in town areas like KL,JB,Ipoh I prefer to follow my GPS map than the road signs.Whatever is the situation, common sense must prevail all the time.On my way back to KL,the GPS was directing me to go to KL via Cameron Highland as I approached Gua Musang!In such situations, sign boards are most reliable if we are not familiar with the route.
In situation where we have not been to the destinations before,it is better to plan the trip using a paper map.In my honest opinion,I could rely more on the paper map and the digital map can also mislead us(when it is not updated).Similarly with paper map.
As we passed Kuala Krai, the traffic was getting heavy and I noticed that my ETA was delayed by 30 minutes.By the time I arrived at Ketereh,my car got stuck for 10 minutes at the traffic light.Then I decided to change course from going via KB,I turned right to Melor.A few minutes after we passed the Ketereh town my GPS re-calculated itself and showed me a new route to my destination.The revised ETA was 5.30pm-one hour late compared to original plan.
The main reason I went back to Kelantan was to attend my niece's wedding.On the day we were supposed to accompany her to her husband's home,I just looked at the wedding card and find the nearest place to her father-in law's house.The house is close by to Sek Keb. Alor Lintang ,Besut,Terengganu.Before leaving my house,I set the destination on my GPS and it indicated a distance of 39.9km.I confidently followed the route all the way and arrived at the destination on the dot!A very useful gadget indeed.A few weeks ago,my son's friend invited us to attend a wedding at a housing complex along Jalan Kelang Lama.This was the first time I heard the name of the place and I have never been there.Before going to the wedding,I checked the wedding invitation card and saw a police station next to bride's house.Then, it was a breeze getting there-just 10 minutes from my house-passing two highways and three elevated junctions!
I stayed in Kelantan for a week.One night,I took my wife to a Thai food dinner at Jalan Berek 12-the famous Syam Restaurant.As we approached the restaurant, I saw a few other restaurants popping up on the screen of my GPS.Later, I took my wife for a city tour of her hometown Kota Bharu.As I was driving along Jalan Sri Cemerlang,I saw a few restaurant names appeared on the screen,which otherwise I would not know they were there in the first place.
On 1st June, 2008,I met Pak Zawi at White House.Then, he showed me a new Kopitiam with WiFi called Hayaki.Thank you Pak Zawi for taking time to have breakfast with me and my wife.We are grateful for the pleasure your company and your friendship!
Note on the photos: The top photo was taken next to Hotel Ridel and Sungai Kelantan on the left side.The middle one was snapped at Pasar Siti Khadijah and the bottom photo was the du'a selamat after majlis akad nikah.