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You should be OK using that method on the 1490 as it does not have any other feature files other than JCV.
If you are asking about using MapInstall (from the Basecamp menu) to install a map to your device, then yes, you will NOT get the JCV file or other special feature files that come with a map update. You should use Garmin Express to install the map to your device and computer. That way you will have the map in BaseCamp and all the feature files including JCV on your device.
Could you give us an example of a route (start point and destination) that routes you over these dirt and unpaved roads? With that we could check it on our devices to see if we get the same results or if it is some kind of failure in your device, maps, settings, etc.
Did you mean nuvi 500 or 550 instead of nuvi 50? I believe the old nuvi 5x0 series (circa 2007) is the only road navigator Garmin has ever made that was geocaching friendly. If you truly meant the newer nuvi 50 (circa 2011), it was an entry level device and did not have any built in geocaching features. Any modern Drive series unit would have a much richer feature set than the nuvi 50, but would still not have specific geocaching features.
The GSAK macros that install the Geocache data on a nuvi device convert the geocaches to detailed GPX entries and install with Garmin's POI Loader program. That should still work fine on any of the modern Garmin road devices. I have used it on my 2013 nuvi 3597. The only thing that may not be acceptable is the way the modern devices decide to display (or not display) the custom POI icons while navigating. On my 3597, the geocaching icons do display while navigating in 3D mode, but the ones installed by GSAK are very tiny on the 3597 screen. That is OK for me, but some folks may not like it.
Pretty much any Garmin nuvi or Drive device with the trip planner feature will do this. That would include all the models in the new "Drive" line and all the 2015 nuvi models, plus many of the earlier models. There are many of these models that would be within your price range, either new or refurbished. Just make sure the spec's on the Garmin site say "Trip Planner: Yes" for the model you choose. Don't avoid the older Garmin nuvi factory refurb models. They are like new and have the same warranty as a new device. Often, you can get a 2 or 3 year old high end refurbished model for the same price as a new bottom-of-the-line model, and get a much better device with more features.
Just as an example, I looked on Amazon and saw a Garmin Nuvi 2689LMT 6" Bluetooth GPS w/ Lifetime Maps & Traffic - (Certified Refurbished) for $143.37, sold by PrimeDeal and fulfilled by Amazon. If you search you can find many other models in the $100 to $150 price range.
If you narrow your choices down to 3 or 4 models, post back and we can give more detailed opinions about those specific models.