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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Finding Our Way

Isn’t it funny, humans use gadgets to get from one place to another. Take my pair.

Used to be, if we were going on a trip, Dana would get out the road atlas and by using a mileage wheel, comparing distances on the “Driving Distance in Miles” chart, and the mileage scale (1” = 50 miles) with the help of a flexible tape measure, she would plan where we would end up at the end of each traveling day. Then out would come the campground books to find the location of the closest campgrounds.

Then came a cool internet tool, Mapquest - just put in where you wanted to end up and print out the turn-by-turn directions. You could use that to break down the trip into manageable daily drives.

When GPS got into the “affordable” range that became our next gadget. While trip planning can be down through Good Sam Club, Mike and Dana rely on the GPS for back up, especially in detour situations, and to see what is local (restaurants, attractions, grocery stores, etc.) once we’re at our destination.

As nice as all these gadgets are, however, you can still have some exciting moments. Like when we were on our way to a KOA in Hill City, close to Mount Rushmore. We followed our lady GPS, turned right, turned left and …ended up at a gate with a sign on it, “This is not the entrance to the KOA.” When we checked in, heard other RVers had the same experience.

Mapquest isn’t infallible, either. On another trip we followed our print-out, turned right as instructed and noticed the addresses were going in the wrong direction. We turned around, passed where we had originally turned right, then drove to our destination in the opposite direction.

At times, it’s not the fault of the GPS, sometimes it’s because the driver’s brain has a delayed reaction to the instruction. When you hear the irritating, “Recalculating” it brings the driver out of his stupor.

Even with GPS and Mapquest, Dana keeps maps handy because sometimes she just wants to see where we’re at. The “Take This Exit” book comes in handy, too - it’s easy to see what’s available at the exit number.

Once we get somewhere, I’m their GPS because I just know which way to go. They try to trick me by parking in a different site every time we return to an RV park but I can’t be fooled - I always remember. One time we took a hike and on our way back, they wanted to walk back a different way than we had come. I had none of that - I knew which way to go and no matter how hard they pulled and tugged on my leash, I would not budge until they went my way. I don’t know why they thought that was so funny.

But I’ll let you in on a secret - it was because my paws were tired and I didn’t know where they were headed next!


  1. That's a mighty handsome headshot, Mr. Archie.


  2. Yes, we've had some adventures. Why didn't Arch speak up when we went on our death defying drive this summer? I would have listened.