Having blown nearly 400 bucks on a camera, I returned to the used market for a laptop and picked up a Toshiba Portege 300CT for $251 in June of 2001. A 1.5 GB hard disk was standard for this model but this unit had been upgraded to 4.1 GB. It also contained the maximum 64 MB of memory. The processor was a 133 MHz Intel Pentium. It was running Linux when I got it but I installed Windows 98 almost immediately.
The 12 VDC power supply I had purchased for the Libretto worked just fine with the Portege. I had plotted my version of my great-grandparents’ trip using Microsoft Streets & Trips and planned to actually use the Portege in the car to follow the plotted route. In theory, the Garmin III Plus GPS I owned could be used to drive Streets & Trips (CORRECTION: My recollection was wrong. While Streets & Trips was used in some of the planning, it was almost certainly DeLorme’s Street Atlas that was used with the GPS in the car.) and I had the cables to make all the power and data connections but the result was a tangle of wire that was truly scary in the small cockpit of the Corvette. So, for $167, I bought a Hyperdata GPS unit specifically to connect to the computer. This was a brand new model that was powered through its USB connection thus simplifying cabling just a bit.
The 2001 Florida trip is the only one that really made use of this setup. My girl friend, Chris, navigated the entire trip with the Portege on her lap with a pillow for insulation from the heat of the computer. Chris never complained and even stayed with me for another four years before moving on so the trip didn’t really end our relationship. I’ve a strong suspicion, however, that stunts like that are part of the reason I no longer have a girl friend.