Puddle Jump Through Life With Us

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

My GPS Is Trying To Kill Me - Episodes 1 - 2 - 3 - 4

We received the most wonderful gift for Christmas last year - a GPS.  This is wonderful because my family loves to travel.  However, normally I play the role as co-pilot.  I actually enjoy finding the way on the map and getting us out of traffic by finding off roads.  I find pleasure in my skill bringing us successfully to our destination time and time again.  So, somewhat reluctantly, I handed over my role to this technological advance.  We set the voice to a female American voice.

We thought the GPS was our friend as we headed out to test it out on a fairly short trip to a family reunion.  The journey was a familiar one, but we were leaving late in the evening due to my husband's work schedule.  We should have known something was up when the GPS took us round about through a parking lot off a stretch of newly-developed highway near our house.  We had been in the parking lot for a short amount of time when the GPS voice announced that we should simply follow the highlighted route.  She had given up on street names as she did not recognize where we were.

Forwarning We Should Have Heeded:

We should have probably given up right then and there and turned to the trustworthy map.  Silly, trusting souls that we are, we continued on with her instruction.  Happily we continued, until we reached a familiar city - Hannibal, MO.  Normally, we would have continued down the highway.  The GPS, however, told us to make a right turn when we reached an intersection.  So, we did!

Episode 1 - Oncoming Train:

The road was unfamiliar and ran parallel to the river.  It was a 2-lane road, and it was dark.  Pretty soon we began to see a large light headed right at us.  My husband questioned - "Is that a train?"  My half-awake eyes looked up to see what appeared to be a light coming right at us on the other side of the road.  The curve in the road and the light of an oncoming train had created an optical illusion that made it look as if the train was traveling on the road, in the left lane, headed directly toward us.  This was not, in reality, true.  However, the truth of it was not much more settling.  We heard the loud warning whistle blow as the train sped past us - on the railroad tracks, which were only feet from us and the shoulder of the road.  Yikes!  I am now in complete panic, with my hands over my eyes ready to crash.  We did not!  The train chugged past in a hurry while we scurried on down the road in hopes to come upon a familiar highway soon.

Episode 2 - The Turnaround Follower:

We, then, found ourselves in a small downtown section of the area near the railroad tracks.  Trying to find where the highway was that would take us to where we were going (without a train too close for comfort) we meandered through small-town streets, as the GPS recalculated many times.  She eventually took us in a huge square and plopped us right back on the 2-lane road where we were before.  To add to the adventure, it was the dark of night; and there was a car trailing us.  Feeling extremely uncomfortable with this new development, we wanted to get them off of our tail.  We succeeded, only to discover that we were now headed toward a dead end.  The only possibility of turning around was to turn into a driveway...As we looked up at the driveway, we noticed the car that had been trailing us had also turned into that driveway.  Now, we were beginning to feel as though we would be terrifying them as there was just the 2 cars on this dark road, in the middle of the night.  To make matters worse - the driveway happened to be the entrance to a cemetery.  As we gingerly pulled in to make our turnaround without getting too close to the previous vehicle, we began to laugh at the thought of how the other car must be following the GPS instructions as well.  We both traveled down the road until we managed upon the open highway we would have originally been on 30 minutes prior had we not trusted our GPS.

On a humorous note:  We noticed just before our arrival at the hotel, the GPS recalculated the estimated time for arrival so that it was, of course, correct instead of being off by a couple minutes had it not done so.

Episode 3 - Corn Field Railroad Hill

We should have learned our lesson by now, but while traveling home from a 3-week vacation, we asked the GPS to find a gas station.  It happily directed us off of the highway and toward the gas station - so we thought.  What it really did was take us around in a huge circle - Exit Highway - Turn Right - Turn Right again (onto a gravel road that looks like someone's driveway - Keep going till corn is on both sides of the narrow road, taller than the van with a car carrier on top - Keep going till there is absolutely no visibility on either side of the van (other than corn), and a steep gravel hill in front of you.  On top of that hill?  Railroad tracks.  Remembering our previous railroad/GPS experience, we fearfully crossed the tracks - Turn Right again, down the outer road - Turn Right Again (this time back onto the highway where we had originally been - to the Exit ramp - and make a Left!)  There's a thought - A Left turn!  We could have just turned left from the start!  Argh!  But, then where would the adventure be in that?

It's Great as long as you don't want Starbucks or Pizza Hut - Another humorous note is that the GPS does not like Starbucks or Pizza Hut.  It was a simple request, or so he thought.  My husband was in Wisconsin, just finished a performance, and wanted some coffee for the next morning.  No problem!  I have a GPS.  The GPS took him around remote country roads until bringing him to his original requested location:  Starbucks.  The Starbucks was located in the same plaza where he had begun his journey......Same thing happened with Pizza Hut in Michigan.

Episode 4 - Gravel Road

The 4th encounter with our GPS trying to kill me happened last night.  My husband was traveling to perform music at a wedding reception located at a resort in the country, about 70 miles south of our home.  He followed the GPS precisely, as he turned onto a gravel road.  He thought it must just be unpaved for a short distance before turning back into blacktop.  Wrong!  He continued to travel in a 1994 van with original suspension and shocks (no give) loaded with DJ and musical gear, as he bumped down this rough terrain where the GPS had directed him.  He continued.  He continued, praying the van would hold out with all the bumps.  He kept going for 6 long miles till he reached pavement again, as the road narrowed over creeks and through fields on both sides.....When he left the job, he took the advice of the man at the guard shack.  He enjoyed paved roads all the way home.

I will continue to notate our GPS journey as they come, because we are convinced that our GPS wants to give us a rich adventure - or worse!  So far, we've made it out alive.

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