Yo Greta

“Your destination you have reached, on the right. Nothing more will I teach you today”

Before leaving on our road trip to Pittsburgh, I had to buy a new GPS. I’ve had a GPS since they just barely became affordable, so this is the third incarnation of Greta. I named her Greta after Greta Garbo. I admit that the name play is a stretch; my GPS is a Garmin and, you know: Greta Garmin – Greta Garbo. Like I said, it’s a stretch. There is one other similarity, or one similarity for those of you who don’t count the name thing, Greta Garbo is one of the actresses who successfully moved from silent pictures to talkies. My first GPS couldn’t talk but now Greta yacks up a storm.

Apparently, I’m not the only person naming his GPS. Once when my first GPS developed a problem, I called Garmin Tech support and after I described the problem, the guy said:

OK, I think I can help you with this over the phone. What’s her name?


Cool, I need you to connect Greta to your computer…”

For those who wonder why anyone would buy a stand-alone GPS today, what with smartphone GPS aps and GPSs built into cars, here’s why: 1) as I’ve said before, I don’t like combo devices when more than one of the devices is critical. 2) I keep my cars for a long time. Car dealers want money to upgrade maps which (updates) are included free for life from Garmin. Also, GPS manufacturers add new features that my in-car version wouldn’t have. In fact, an in-car version from 2012 might be obsolete by now.

I visited the Garmin website and I quickly found the unit that would become Greta III but there were none in stock. After a little poking around, I was able to determine that a local Best Buy had several Garmin Nuvi 2597s in stock. I drove to the store on my way home the following day (the day before we were to leave for Pittsburgh) and I immediately became concerned. There were no 2597s in the secure bin under the GPS display but the saleswoman said they might have more in the back.

While I was waiting for her to return, a man who had been studying the devices on display approached me and suggested that I might not be happy with the traffic notification. He recounted his experience, but it sounded like it was mostly on local roads. I think the traffic notification works best on highways, not local roads. You’d have to have a pretty major backup in a sleepy little New England town before enough devices could report to Garmin HQ that something was wrong. Still, when you hear something bad about an item you’re buying, you always get that thought…what if he’s right?

The saleswoman returned with Greta III. She was kind enough to let me open it up and see if the new unit fit on Greta II’s dashboard weighted base. She did! Once I was home, I transferred my saved places from Greta II to Greta III. Finally, the last last-minute task was complete; I was ready to hit the road.

Traffic Jam
Greta predicted the 6-mile long traffic jam with precision.

On our way to Pittsburgh, we noticed two things: 1) the traffic notification system worked quite well; the picture to the right shows us in a perfectly predicted 6-mile backup. And 2) we needed a better voice. The best female voice available was a sharp-tongued vixen that seemed to add a nasty intonation when we chose to ignore her directions – “we need to pee Greta!

My daughter talked me into purchasing a premium voice. We bought Yoda, who says things like:

Your destination you have reached, on the right. Nothing more will I teach you today.”

Driven well you have. In one quarter mile, to the right you should turn,{cough} yes.”

Turn left, but not to the dark side,” and

Satellite reception we have lost. Feel you the disturbance in the force, ahem?

And, every now and then he says random stuff like:

When 800 years old you are, you will a good driver be

Actually, I’m not sure that that’s completely accurate but the meaning is clear – I’m not a good driver yet.

Also, Obi-Wan Kenobi makes a guest appearance to remind you that: “A Jedi can feel the Force flowing through his body.” Got it Obi-Wan but I’m taking a left exit, not trying to bulls-eye womp rats from my Jeep.

XWing Fighter Turning
I love how the fighter avatar banks as it makes sharp turns.

The premium package also includes an X-Wing fighter avatar. This little guy is very cool. The normal car avatar kind of swerves as it adjusts itself to a curving road, almost like it’s going to crash, while the X-Wing banks as it’s making those turns.

Um, dad, you should really be looking out the windshield.”

The coolest thing about Greta III is that she is voice activated. The default verbal prompt is: “voice commands” but you can edit that. I changed it to “Yo Greta” and it works perfectly:

Long Journey
390 miles to go. At least we have coffee.

Yo Greta

“Saved locations”

Neville Island


The only thing better would be if I could get Captain Picard as the voice, The Enterprise D as an avatar and if instead of saying “Navigate” I could say “Engage!

40 thoughts on “Yo Greta

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  1. My head is in spins over the new laptop that I just got and all the new software programs I now must study and to even think, even if a tiny tiny techno gadget, to buy another gadget leaves me sweating. Your story had me laughing. I honestly don’t own a GPS. I have one in my phone, but it is SO tiny who the HECK can see it? Not me! And I am not about to end up around a tree trying to. I drive. I do map quest. Gee. That does get me to where I am going, yet I don’t think I drive as much as you do either. So YO GRETA! LOL (((HUGS))) Amy

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Laughed out loud at your dialogue with Greta/Yoda. Sounds like she makes the long drives much more interesting. Do you feel just a little like you’re flying around those curves?


  3. OMG, I totally laughed through this post! “WE NEED TO PEE, SIRI!” and “WE NEED COFFEE, SIRI!” are things we shout at our speakers, but don’t believe the hype, the two aren’t related at all. I love the Yoda voice — that’s awesome!
    I never considered the updates and whatnot you’ve written here. If we decide to buy a Garmin (The Mister likes to hover around them.) then I might bother you about it. Good stuff — great post! :)


  4. Love the upgrade to Yoda. I may have to look into doing the same for mine – especially if there is a Picard. For now my Hugh (as in Hugh Jackman) speaks to me in a husky Australian voice. I am rather smitten at the moment…


  5. Yo Greta! I love it. My husband is a tried and true Garmin devotee. I am directionally challenged so besides the Garmin he has this new phone that he gets the biggest kick out of holding it and saying, “Navigate to…” Like I don’t know my way to The Fresh Market!


  6. Yo!! 😀. Haha, funny stuff.

    Maybe Greta and Sylvia will locate each other in the middle of Iowa one of these days :-)

    I gotta check with Hub – I think he’s under the impression my new car’s factory-installed GPS (aka Sylvia) is updated regularly as part of the purchase price because I asked him if we needed to subscribe to an update service and he said no it’s already done automatically. I think you’re saying that’s not so.

    I DO have a GPS-related post in the works.

    I think.

    If I can just locate my …

    Sylvia ???


  7. Greta Garbo Garmin Yoda, sounds like a helluva mix you’ve got there Dan. If that kind of unit gives you any trouble then there must be something wrong with the centre of the earth. :-)
    As I was reading your post it reminded me of Harold in “Space Odessy 2001.” He had a calming voice,but under all that calm, completely dispassionate and dangerous. So be careful of that voice Dan. :-) great post – thank you.


  8. So funny! I’m glad to read that most of us name their GPS. Madame Garmin is how we call ours. Just enough of a French touch. We got to use other GPS. The sound of the voices are different abraod as is the way we receive the directions. Our French version of Garmin was extremely polite and had a very soft voice while her German sister, well, let’s say was more authoritative. This is a fun post, Dan. I’m sure you made everyone smiles with this one.


    1. Thanks Evelyne. I think this very ok can actually give directions in French. Not sure but I thought that was one of the language options when I had to switch to “yoda “. Do glad you enjoyed it.


    1. I just drove into New York City last week. The map was very good but you can lose the satellite in underpasses and between tall buildings so you have to have a good idea of where you’re going. Thanks for the comment.


    1. This seems to vary a bit Peter. When the turns are close together, he will warn you of the first one in advance “in 1/4 mile to the left you should turn” but as you get close, he just says: “turn left, then turn right”

      If you are are exiting, he will sometimes says something like: “take ramp right then, to the left you should stay.”

      The messages are pretty true Master Yoda’s way of speaking.

      I think when something is speaking to me, I like it to have a name. Then again, I named her before she could speak, so maybe that isn’t the issue here.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

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