Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Perfect Pee Wee Herman Dash...

The simplest mechanical things continually confound me. In my attempt to create the perfect Pee Wee Herman dashboard effect on my vintage 1995 BMW K75, I decided to mount a GPS on my handlebars. Now many of you are undoubtedly thinking that this is a reasonable endeavor considering how the average BMW rider often finds himself far afield in strange environs, struggling to maintain a constant course while the clock is running.

Pee Wee Herman's Bike was red too!  Panniers have a definite BMW-type flair!
(Photo courtesy of the internet -- Click to enlarge)

Those of you who know me will be somewhat puzzled, as it is common knowledge that I would have to ride a week to get far enough to get really lost, and that I stop often enough to bullshit with waitresses and barmaids to guarantee a steady access to local data. Yet Clyde Jacobs and Matt Piechotta had no difficulty getting me turned around and totally lost in Bird-Up-Ass, Pennsylvania -- before abandoning me -- and that’s only 9 miles from the house. Totally lost is a bit of exaggeration. I knew where I was in regard to four north/south and east/west main routes and riding long enough in any direction would certainly bring me to one of these, but my knees were killing me and I was trapped in a Chinese noodle-swamp of unmarked roads. It took me 45 minutes to find a route I was familiar with (without getting off the bike to ask for directions).

The truth is that while a confluence of circumstances made the installation of a GPS possible, the real reason for me getting one is that that my riding buddies Jim Robinson, Gerry Cavanaugh, Dick Bregstein and Pete Buchheit have these on their handlebars. I have grown tired of the superior way they work the GPS subject into the simplest of issues. For example, on the discussion of the nation’s waterways, Jim Robinson will say, “My GPS was instrumental in helping me find the Missouri River.” He occasionally neglects to say there was supposed to be a bridge there, and not a barrier which he hit at 40 mph. Dick will say, “Shall we look for an alternate route? Allow me to consult my GPS.” Or Pete will say, “I wonder if there’s a more scenic route? I’ll just check my GPS.” And then Dick might add, “I have to take my first dump in three days. I’ll check my GPS for a good place.” These statements burn my ass after I’ve heard them a few thousand times. So now on the next run, I’ll be able to say, “I want to take a scenic dump on the alternate route. Let’s see what the GPS says.”

Pete seems to use his GPS with some effect. Dick has the same unit that Amelia Earhart used, and almost came to the same end adjusting it (pure speculation, but as valid as any other explanation for his famous high impact boulder stop).

My recent fascination with these electronic navigational devices was piqued when the love of my life dejour, Leslie (Stiffie) decided that she prefers the GPS that came with her new Subaru to the Garmin Nuvi 660 I bought her two Christmases ago. Therefore, I was welcome to the Garmin unit if I liked. I said “I liked” very much and accepted it as a Valentine’s Day gift. So technically, the Garmin was free. However, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Three components I am trying to bring together: a Nolan helmet, a Garmin Nuvi 660, and a Scala Q2.
(Photo courtesy of the author -- Click to enlarge)

All I needed to get was the mounting bracket from Ram Mounts, sold through Whitehorse Gear. This was a whopping $31, plus $11 bucks for the GPS cradle. I love getting stuff from Whitehorse Gear. Those folks bend over backwards to guarantee the customer is happy. They have a great return policy and customer service that other places -- like LL Bean -- should emulate. They sent me three separate emails confirming my order before actually shipping it. I signed off on each like a blind Senator confronted with a stimulus package.

It was Christmas in February when the box arrived from Whitehorse Gear. I stopped whatever I was doing to explore the mounting bracket and to place the GPS in the cradle. Ten minutes into the project, I uttered the sentence beginning with my signature three-word phrase:

“How the fuck is this GPS supposed to fit into this cradle,” I asked rhetorically. “I think some asshole wrote these directions.”

“Let me see it,” said Stiffie (Leslie), correctly interpreting my rhetorical remark as a plea for help. “And don’t use that language in front of your infant grandson.”

“He’s a year old,” I said. “He barely understands Ma-Ma.”

“Asshole,” said my infant grandson like a parrot, pointing at me with his sippy cup.

“Well he understood that much,” said Leslie. Two seconds later, she deduced it was the wrong cradle for the GPS. “Let me look at shipping statement.”

Apparently, I had ordered the wrong part and okayed it three separate times. “Hmmmmmmm,” said Leslie. “An asshole may have been involved after all.”

I called the folks at Whitehorse gear, and they switched out the proper cradle in no time at all. The new part arrived three days later and my excitement reached fever pitch as I attempted to mount the unit on the handlebars.

The handlebars of the 1995 BMW K75 are literally wrapped with control cables that will alter the bike’s performance if shifted one millionth of an inch. More so on the left side than on the right. Even more challenging was the fact that the 3-inch mounting post that I had purchased (at discount as part of the overall mounting kit) was a bit too tall for where the GPS would have to fit in the Parabellum Scout fairing. This led to another call to Whitehorse Gear to order the 1.5 inch mounting post. That one arrive in another three days for a mere $11 plus shipping.

The Garmin Nuvi 660 (the thing with the screen) finds the Scala Q2 unit, but identifies it as a cell phone. 
Screwed again, Bullwinkle.

The Garmin 660 (now discontinued) had a larger screen than most other brands when it came out, so I figured I could get the gist of the directions with a fast glance -- without having to wear my reading glasses. Yet the unit’s real value is in having a loud female sex-mistress voice call out the turns at the appropriate time. “This thing has Bluetooth,” I reasoned. “There must be a way to project that voice into my helmet.”

Since I have a Nolan helmet which I love, my search first led me to the Nolan communications package. On sale, this was a mere $280 at Hermy’s, my local BMW dealer. I can’t tell you how excited I was to get the get the kit installed in my helmet. Yet going through the directions line by line, it became apparent that I would need an external cable to make the appropriate hook-up. A cable! A fucking cable from my head to the handlebars! Hermy’s traded me a nice Givi topcase in exchange for the Nolan communications package.

Yet my desire to make this GPS talk to me through my helmet burned in my soul. Two members of the Mac-Pac (the notorious BMW riding club in southeastern Pennsylvania), Gerry Cavanaugh and Horst Oberst, presented themselves at my door to demonstrate the capabilities of the Scala Q2 communications system. Simplicity in itself, the Scala Q2 system offered a Bluetooth connection to the GPS, bike to bike communications, an integral FM radio, and an intercom I would never use. It even promised a 5-minute installation time. With shipping, this was a mere $240!

I ordered it online and had in my hands two days later.

It really did attach to the helmet, including speaker installation, in less than 5 minutes, with the little allen wrench provided. And nothing gave me greater satisfaction than to put the Scala unit into “find me” mode at the same time I triggered the Garmin 660. In just about a second, the Garmin recognized the Scala and logged it in. It was just a simple matter of hitting “Okay” with my fingertip on the Garmin screen.


The Cardo Scala Q2 unit. I liked this so much I decided to hang onto it.
(Photo by the author -- Click to enlarge) 

I hit “Okay,” and the Garmin asked me to dial in the passcode of “1234” from the cell phone’s keypad. Except the Scala unit does not have a key pad and it is not a cell phone. No keypad is offered in this mode on the Garmin 660. I repeated the process to make sure I got everything right. Getting the same frustrating result, I called Garmin.

After being on hold for 15 minutes, I got a young woman with the sweetest voice. This is one of the wisest marketing strategies and defense mechanisms Garmin could have used. I was instantly disarmed. She sounded like 30-years-old, brown eyes, brunette, and intensely pretty. I decided not to say “fuck” unless she whispered it first. She listened to my tale of woe, put me on hold for another few minutes, claiming she wanted to confirm the bad news with a colleague before passing it on to me. The Garmin Nuvi 660, a legendary landmark in GPS innovation when it was first introduced, only two fucking years ago, was now discontinued and would not recognize anything via Bluetooth that was not a cellphone. She then politely asked if there was anything else she could do for me.

A vision of handcuffs, a can of starting ether, and a house on the beach in Baja passed through my mind, but I couldn’t see how I could work it into the conversation.

So it appears that my dream of having a fully functional GPS, capable of speaking to me through my helmet, at minimal cost, is shot to hell. The Garmin 660 is not ideally suited for a motorcycle anyway. It isn’t waterproof, has several unprotected openings (for a jack and a disk), and isn’t designed for use with gloved hands. (I will put a strip of clear tape over the openings.) I decided to keep the Scala unit anyway. I like a lot of things about it and it will eventually come in handy. For the exception of the woman who answered the phone, I am disappointed with Garmin. I expected a two-year-old electronic unit that sold for $880 to be programmable for future Bluetooth changes. I am going to write them a letter telling them so, though I expect their response will be to shove both the letter and the GPS unit up my ass.

This is the Pee Wee Herman Dashboard on my bike. For now, the GPS will be speechless.
This GPS cannot be adjusted as I ride, as it is on the right. That's fine with me. 
At least two friends of mine adjusted themselves into a ditch playing with these damn things.
(Photo by the author -- Click to Enlarge)

This is what I get for attempting to be cool. Dick, Clyde, Pete and I are planning a ride to West Virginia this May. We will be taking a lot of little back roads and no one can say what my arthritis will be like. I’m hoping it will be better. But I am anxious not to hold any of the members in my group back. These guys are all red-hot riders who like to scrub the bugs off their mirrors by going low in the twisties. If we get separated, this GPS unit will be worth its weight in gold.

Members of the Mac-Pac (the densest concentration of engineers on two wheels) are holding a special seminar on GPS devices and I have signed up for it. This session is guaranteed to help riders like myself get the most out of these devices.


Addendum:

Regarding Nose Bag Business
Last Friday, I called an emergency session of the Mac-Pac Nose Bag Dining and Etiquette committee at the Himalayan Exotic Indian Restaurant, in the sad little strip mall in Frazer, Pa, “Big Jim” Ellenberg and “Bermuda Triangle” Bregstein were the first responders. We barely had our nosebags of fragrant Hindi cuisine strapped on, when we were joined by Jim Fox, one of the Mac-Pac’s invisible men. Jim is an undercover custom cabinet-maker, who has apparently been investigating an international plywood counterfeiting scheme. The extent of his undercover work has kept him chained to a lathe in his Phoenixville shop, which is why he has been unable to attend any of the club’s rides, dinners, breakfasts, and lunches for the past two years. Such are his recuperative powers that he didn’t even look fatigued from an extended two-year effort when he walked into lunch. We were relieved to learn that the total collapse of the world economy allowed him to get away for lunch.

The nose bag facilitates dining for Mac-Mac members when time is of the essence and utensiles are just too slow.
(Illustration courtesy of the internet -- Click to enlarge)

Regarding Twisted Roads Prizes
The flashlights have been mailed to those winners of the “Worst Obstruction in the Road Contest.” The winners of the Twisted Roads Tee Shirts will have to wait a little longer (two weeks). All prizes from the “Meals” contest were awarded and presumably received.

Regarding Twisted Roads Tee Shirts and Patches
The first ever “Twisted Roads” tee shirts are selling like thong peelers at a pole dancer’s convention. Production is limited... So if you have been hesitating about sending in your order, you will find yourself screwed if you wait much longer. Pay nothing until your shirt arrives. These are the first of a series of unique “Twisted Road” products, custom-designed for our readers. Twisted Roads jacket patches -- “the ultimate colors of sarcasm” -- are on order with a highly disreputable supplier, who drinks throughout the entire day. I would urge patience on your part, except this like urging sexual abstinence to a cage full of mink. So yell all you want, they’re coming.

Regarding My Custom Seat From Russell Cycle Products
I got a call yesterday from the folks at Russell Cycle Products... They just wanted to let me know that the world’s largest continuous sheet of vinyl was being wrapped around the world’s largest pile of compression seat foam, and that my saddle (roughly the size of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City) would be lashed to a barge and shipped via the Panama Canal on Friday. In the meantime, it was being supported by four massive bridge jacks and being used as a shelter by 400 wild horses.

I have heard nothing but great things about Russell-Day-Long seats and can hardly wait to see and sit on mine.

©Copyright Jack Riepe 2009
AKA The Lindbergh Baby (Mac-Pac)
AKA Vindak8r (Motorcycle Views)
AKA The Chamberlain -- PS (With A Shrug)

29 comments:

irondad said...

I live about 20 miles South of the Garmin plant. There are several bikes in the parking lot. If they give you trouble, I will kick some over for you.

The problems with the directions are not your fault. After all, it takes time to write directions. Good people cannot be taken away from important tasks to write directions. Therefore, people who wouldn't be much use anywhere else, anyway, write directions. You see?

Don't worry about GPS bluetooth voices. To a BMW rider such as yourself, the actual unit is just a farkle for bragging upon, anyway. I have voices in my helmet. They do not tell me where to turn but do help pass the time on long rides.

I received the flashlight yesterday. Thank you so much!

Jack Riepe said...

Dear IronDad:

I laughed my ass off reading the first two lines of your note. It was the best laugh I had all day today. The line about the voices in your helmet was pretty good too.

I've been offline since Thursday. No particular reason, but sometimes I just dn;t feel like reading or typing anything. Your note was like a shot in the arm.

Thank for reading and writibg in. Enjoy the flashlight.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Tena said...

After I quit laughing (I darn near fell out of my chair during the first part of your story) I was able to finish the article. I can't wait to meet you and "Stiffie" in person! I'm not sure I'll survive the encounter, as I'm told you are larger than life in real life. After reading your offerings, I'm believing it and quaking in my shoes.

Tena...again. said...

Oh, and put me down for 2 shirts. Email to follow.

bobskoot said...

Jack: As Irondad said "the actual unit is just a farkle for bragging upon . . .". You could have saved the $1,000. (in accessories) by just buying a non-operative shell, as you won't know how to operate it anyway. Are you sure you couldn't have mounted it on the LEFT side ? I use a cheap Garmin Nuvi, not waterproof, but if it rains I cover it with cling wrap. Stops the rain and you can still operate the touch screen.

I was hoping that your arthritis was in remission, but as you were MIA for a few days, I was beginning to worry about you. Hope your seat works out and looking forward to your new ride reports for 2009

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

John said...

My Garmin quest II is waterproof but no bluetooth. If I really get the urge to hear Impy (My name for her) I simply plug in ear buds in place of my ear plugs.

We named the disembodied lady Impy because she is impatient and impolite. She does sound so happy when you get where you are going though.

ADK said...

Dear Jack, I don't have my flashlight yet, but then again I don't have the $20 you borrowed from in 1987 either.

First ride of the year the other day saw the 1982 GS750 ripping noisily down Rte 73, as only a bouncy, bendy 80's superbike can. An hour later the Yellow Peril was running a hair wide through corners along Rte 9. I couldn't figure out why the steering seemed rock steady but a touch inaccurate, that is until I looked down and realised that 90+mph through 40mph bends might have something to do with it. Hmmmmm, modern bikes really are better! A set of new Avon ST's that are going on in a week or two should help. I'm polishing up the Vanson Highwayman while the Strumpet awaits a new battery. When are you coming to visit?

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (Chris)

Your flashlight came back returned. Apparently, you have moved your trailer once again. (UPS did not specify a delivery date to an address that largely consists of GPS coordinates.) Give it another couple of days. The Mini-Maglites were mailed out in two bunches and the first batch just hit yesterday, after being in transit over a week.

I am planning a visit in June, August, and September. Russell Cycle Products just sent me a picture of my new seat (in construction) and it looks like a sofa. I'm hoping this will do the trick as far as making long-distance riding easier on my back and hips.

Don't smack up the Yellow Peril before I get there.

Are you still going to that ghastly wedding in July? There are big doin's in Tennessee and we could cut up rough.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Anonymous said...

Yo Fat Ass! Get on the stick and upgrade to the Zumo 550. The both of you will enjoy the best GPS motorcycle unit available. You can put the Scala system into operation and even know where your going. (To Hell, we know already).
Breg Dickstein might even get a unit so he can hear you cry and not bother to answer. Enjoyed the report and can confirm everything to be true except what you wrote.

Count me in for a shirt. Large, I'll pay you when I get it, maybe.

ADK said...

I attended at leasts one of your ghastly weddings. I don't see why I shouldn't do the same thing for people that I actually like, and whoose lives have not been wasted on whine, wimmen and wrecking perfectly good motorcycles.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (Dunstan):

If you recall, my weddings are held in the nearest saloon... Not Tunisia. You were the best man at my second wedding. You gave me away with a sneer. You bastard.

I tired to gert a flashlight to mach the color of your bike but the manufacturer of the Mini Maglite claims there are limits.

Fondest regards,
Jack

cpa3485 said...

You must have the patience of a saint with all of the troubles you had with the GPS device. I am not sure I would have persevered like you did.

If things don't go well for me the first couple of trys, I have a tendency to start throwing things, say the F word a lot and generally become quite a pest to those who happen to be in my vicinity.

But now I am a bit angry at you because you have given me the idea of hooking up my cheap GPS device to my scooter. Wondering If I can survive the ordeal.

Thanks a lot, Jack!

BMW-Dick said...

Dear Jack:
Forget about the GPS. Pete, Clyde and I have working Garmins. Even with a top of the line satellite reader strapped to your ass, we'd still be able to lose you.... and will!

Charlie6 said...

Hi Jack

too bad about bluetooth and your current gps...

I tried bluetooth, got it to work, but it was just one more device I had to keep charged up...not to mention my electronic "rigging up" skills to make what I had on hand work leave much to be desired in terms of aesthetics.

If I want to listen to Sarah nag at me when I stray from the appointed path, I use my earbud wired headphones.

Don't know about Garmin's map databases but the one on my N800 is a bit "off" at times. Being ex-artillery though, where "somewhere close" to a target is usually good enough to kill it, I've adapted.

I will say this about being able to "hear" the nagging, it sure is handy when you're somewhere unfamiliar and just trying to find a gas station/food/lodging in the dark while its raining. Oh, and yeah, I don't stop and ask for directions either.


Looking forward to a glorious "first ride of the year" ride report from you at the end of this week.

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Tena:

I put you down for two tee shirts, as noted by your other e-mail. I'm glad my latest episode of Twisted Roads made you laugh.

Thanks for writing in. My regards to Mr. Cupcake.

Jack
Twisted Roads

Jack Riepe said...

Dear BobSkoot:

I readily admit my first concern for mounting a GPS was to have braggable farkle. And as the story clearly states, I thought it would free. It was not. The riding club I belong too, the Mac-Pac, will be conducting a training class on how to get the most out of a GPS and I intent to take it.

The arhritis was great for the past three months, but it is now acting up again and I may have to get another shot. It was my intention to do this before the riding season starts anyway.

Thank you for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear John:

It would have been different if the GPS unit I acquired had no Bluetooth. It is inconceivable to me that a system only two-years-old has an electronic link that is so primitive that it cannot link to another Bluetooth unit on the market a year later.

I'm hoping I can beat my arthritis to the point where I may do a lot more slo riding, and the GPS will come in handy. And I rather like the idea of not having to look down at it.

Thank you for reading my blog and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Anonymous:

Why do the people who have the best things to say shout them out from the cover of darkness? The definite clue that you are a Mac-Pac person lies in the fact that you referred to my riding partner as Breg Dickstein, a joke known only to a few people.

Show yourself, and do battle in the light of day.

The only people who would have the balls to call me Fat Ass on my own blog are: Gerry Cavanaugh, Chris Jaccarino, Horst Oberst, Jim Sterling, David Hardgrove, Jim Robinson, Dick Bregstein, Matt Piechota, Clyde Jacobs, Pete Buchheit, Paul Pollio, Mack Harrell, Erik Hoet, Andy Terrill, Joe Sestrich...

Wait a minute... Joe Sestrich... Hmmmmmm. That bastard. I bet it was Joe Sestrich.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear CPA3485:

I haven't seen a picture of a scooter with a GPS yet. That would be cool. And you probably would have any of my problems considering a scooter has none of the sophisticated controls common to BMWs. (Shove that up your ass.)

I think the challenge you might run into is with the mounting. Dick Bregstein's bike had irregular handle bars and he got around the mounting problem by orderig a base connector from Ram Mount that was designed for boats. It worked perfectly with his fairing dashboard.

Good luck.

Thanks for reading my blog and for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Dick:

In your last report, you stated that riding your new bike was like cornering on the Washington Monument. I know this feeling will disappear as soon as you get really used to the nuances of the "R" bike -- including pulling yourself up to the seat on a knotted rope.

However, I honestly think you'll still be walking on eggs with the new machine on our next West Virginia trip, during which you'll be eating my dust.

Thank you for writing in.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Charlie6 (Dom):

Ex-artillery, huh? Wasn't it Alexander Hamilton who once said, "Artillery lends dignity to what would otherwise a bar-room brawl?"

You're the second person to let me know that an ear bud connection to the GPS is the least aggravating route to take. But the truth is that I love gadgetry and like it to work like it is supposed to. I will start a motorcycle slush fund to get a GPS unit specifically made for a motorcycle.

I am facing the first ride of the new season with trepidation. The new Russell Day Long Saddle will be delivered next week. I t will be a big improvement over what I had, but it will slightly change the riding geometry of the bike. It has me somewhat nervous.

Still these are things we all overcome.

Fondest regards,
Jack

bobskoot said...

Jack R said: "I am facing the first ride of the new season with trepidation . . . It has me somewhat nervous."

Words, just words. I can't believe that a person of your stature would even know the meaning of nervous. Just the mere mention of your name invokes fear among mortals

bob
bobskoot: wet coast scootin

ps: I think Anonymous was "Breg Dickstein" masquerading as "Joe Sestrich"





Breg Dickstein

ADK said...

Fat Ass

Sojourner rides said...

When you take your GPS "class" you'll love all the neat things you can do with the gadget--still, I carry maps too.

Looking forward to hearing about your May trip.

Thanks for info on the Russell seats. There's a 2009 F650GS in our garage and the uncomfortable seat is the only complaint thus far.

Anonymous said...

Jack, if you speak with Laura Hirth again please tell her an old friend from UPS - Chris Ellison - says hello. Should she care to catch up my email is: ctellison11784@hotmail.com

Best Regards,
Chris Ellison

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Mr. Bobskoot:

It's funny... My primary fear at the beginning of a season is getting used to the bike again, the horror of dropping it, or the increased chances of getting hit by a car.

This year I am troubled by the thought of being able to get that the damn left leg up to the peg. Now my weight is down and I apper to be walking better on most days. But we won't know about the peg until the saddle arrives.

It is almost guaranteed that mounting the machine will be slightly more difficult as it will be a bit taller. Nevertheless, I am remembered of my family motto: "Fuck it. Hold my beer."

Naturally, the weather for this weekend is supposed to be rain, and I'll be away on business nrext weekend. I could still be two weeks away from riding.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear ADK (Chris):

I have been called worse by better men than you. In fact, nearly all of them were better, including Mark Peduzzi's three hunting dogs who couldn't find a tree to piss on in the densest Adirondack forest.

I'm sitting on pins and needles waiting for this seat to arrive. This could go a long way to letting me ride back and forth to the Adirondacks on a monthly basis. I have a place to stay up there cheaply enough, so it will not be necessary to pull the car out of your garage.

By the way, M. Cantwell is planning on a ride down here in April. I suggested the third weekend. Can you make it? It would be so cool to have the two of you down here. We could do a few local rides;

Day One: Amish Terror
Day Two: Seaside Anguish
Day Three: Mac-Pac Breakfast (Complete With A Little Rhu-Rhu)

It will be a Thursday to Sunday deal. Can you guys make it?

Thanks for writing in, Wanker.

Fondest regards,
Jack

Jack Riepe said...

Dear Sojourner (Sharon):

What a surprise to hear from you! The debute of my seat may have to wait two weeks. It is supposed to rain this weeken and I wll be away on business the next. I am also going to miss the Mac-Pac GPS training course too! Oh well.

I have heard nothing but great things about the Russell-Day-Long saddle, But life is full of compromises and this seat is a combination of a John Deere tractor seat and a western-style horse saddle. It is perfect for me and will look sensational on my K75, with the Scout Fairing, by Parabellum.

The folks at Russell Cycle Products have sent me pictures of its construction. And they make some snazzier models for sportier bikes too.

Thank you for writing in. It's great to hear from you again.

Fondest regards,
Jack

MattPie said...

Hey Jack, it might be worth trying to update the Nuvi's software. I don't want to give you too much hope, but it wouldn't be the first time I'd gotten the brush-off from Tech Support that didn't want (or know how) to support a device.
http://www8.garmin.com/support/collection.jsp?product=010-00540-00


Mark me down for a 2XL Tall T-shirt. :)