Monday, May 21, 2012

Directionally Challenged

We had a very nice trip to Michigan over the weekend.  Alyssa skated well at the competition, Jessica had a mini violin concert, and we had a short but nice visit with family.

I wanted to leave early Saturday morning to get back to my husband who hadn't been able to come with us and to get out of Detroit before the traffic was crazy.  Even though I'm from Michigan and have lived in the Detroit area, I've never been comfortable driving in the heavy traffic around the city. We got in the car by 10:00 and I figured that was early enough.  Well I was wrong.

At one point the highway was down to one lane and we sat there inching along for an hour.  I'm sure a snail could have gone farther in that time.  Then we finally got out of the construction and I, following my Garmin like a disciple follows a guru, was lead astray.  I am severely directionally impaired so I rely on my Garmin to get me everywhere and most of the time it is fool proof.  This time however I was driving parallel to the road it thought I was on.  I realized I was in trouble when it said to veer left on the highway through the concrete embankment. I continued on, waiting for the digitized voice to say "recalculating", but it still thought I was on a different road than I was.  I looked around.  The streets were deserted and it was eerily quiet.

I wasn't too worried because I knew eventually I would get to where I needed to be. I found a place to turn around.   I just had to turn onto a side street which allowed the Garmin to correctly see where I was.  I could still see the highway so I headed back toward it.  Garmin recalculated again and off I went.  That's when I saw the sign that said "Bridge to Canada".  It wouldn't have bothered me except two months ago, I had a friend whose GPS system directed her into Canada and she was stuck there with her two year old for a while because they didn't have their passports.  I pictured me and my kids being detained in border patrol jail while my husband sat at home wondering where we were.

But I kept to the path ahead, trusting Garmin to lead the way.  I watched the colossal steel suspender cables of the bridge go by to the left of us and I breathed a sigh of relief.  We were still in America!

We made it home a few hours later than planned and I felt like jumping out and kissing the floor of my garage.
At least we finished our cd book,  King Arthur by Frank Thompson.

Do you rely on GPS or do you have an internal map in your head?  Has it ever steered you wrong?  How was your weekend?

Kathy :)

For a review of King Arthur, read Jess's blog today.

18 comments:

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

My wife's GPS is flaky. I usually use the Maps ap on my iPad or on her iPhone. A little more reliable. Glad you weren't detained by Canadian police though!

Lynn Proctor said...

the gps on our phones has certainly led us astray--i feel your pain!

Stephen Tremp said...

I'm a guy so I don;t need GPS. My wife needs to pay the $100 to get hers updated as so much has changed in the last few years with the addition of new streets and such.

Dana said...

I'm directionally challenged and in need of GPS. I can get lost here in town. LOL

Nick Wilford said...

If we're going anywhere we tend to take instructions printed off from the internet. Of course they are not always foolproof. I'm pretty old fashioned so I always take the road map, but then that doesn't go down to street level in a town. We've just heard so many stories of GPS going wrong though, it doesn't seem worth the investment!

And my weekend was nice, thank you. My stepdaughters performed in their Girls' Brigade parents night on Saturday and were fab!

davidgmckendry said...

There is an old expression about GPS that says "trust but verify" or something like that. I usually have a good sense of where I need to go and use the GPS for entertainment, predicted arrival time, and in case I get detoured off the main roads or need to find my way around something. If it tells me to turn where I do not expect to turn, I will either ignore it and it will "recalculate" or I may peek ahead several turns to see what it has in mind. Sometimes I learn a new route that I wouldn't have thought of. When roads are running parallel as you described (I know the stretch of road where you had this experience) GPS often has a problem. So I just stick to watching the road signs and let GPS catch up later. We once were dropping someone at the St. Louis airport and followed GPS directions for what seemed like a short cut on the back roads until the road turned to gravel, then dirt, and out in a field....right next to the airport but on the wrong side of a chain link fence. So I resorted to tool number two - OnStar, and they got me routed around to the entrance to the airport. So trust GPS but also verify. Sorry for the long comment. :)

Melissa Sugar said...

I like to print the instructions off the internet because I always get lost. I drive a suburban so I don't rely on GPS, but I am on a first name basis with most of the On Star operators , LOL. They often have to give me second by second directions. I have made the Canada mistake. My ex husband and I went to law school in Lansing and we lived in Detroit briefly after we graduated. Things were a bit more lax back then because they did not require a passport to enter Canada. Glad it all worked out for you.

Reiko said...

My weekend was fantastic! The neighbors-and-family dinner event was so enjoyable. It was wonderful to have you guys stay over night although, obviously, we missed Jesse. Love, your MIL

nutschell said...

I rely on my GPS to get me to places. Most of the time it gets me there!:)
Nutschell
www.thewritingnut.com

kmckendry said...

I guess I'll have to start using that as a back up! :)

kmckendry said...

At least I know I'll get where I'm going eventually, even if it has to recalculate a thousand times!

kmckendry said...

Haha! I know lots of guys who are just as directionally challenged they just don't admit it! :) My grandpa used to say, "I'm not lost. I know where I am, I just don't know how to get to where I want to be!"

kmckendry said...

I always have my GPS with me just in case :)

kmckendry said...

In all fairness my GPS has given me the freedom to go places alone that I never would have before. But it does cause a few problems now and then. :) Glad you had a great weekend!

kmckendry said...

Yeah, I hadn't planned on needing passports to go to Michigan. Maybe I should bring them next tie just in case! lol :)

kmckendry said...

I've heard OnStar is pretty good.

kmckendry said...

We had a great time with you guys, sorry it was so short.

kmckendry said...

I actually love my GPS, it gets me everywhere. I'd get lost all the time without it. :)