Definitely. I started using YM4R, but then just didn't understand the documentation, yet didn't really understand the Google Maps API either, so I ended up picking up a copy of Beginning Google Maps Applications with Rails I believe it's called.
And that whole book is hand coding for the most part.
Once I get this app I'm working on all wrapped up, I think I'm going to start a fun app that will find pizza joints that are close to you; you just create an account, and it uses your address and will dynamically adjust the zoom level of the map and the starting lat, lng. I don't know, it will be fun.
Been playing with Nokogiri for screen scraping to get locations of Dominos Pizza stores from their website. That's been fun so far...