Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Tour of the Back country
GPS is such a handy thing, until it isn't. I've an old GPS car unit that hasn't been updated in over 11 years. A lot of new construction is not in its data base. While it's useful, I just don't trust it 100%. Heck, even if it was brand new I would not trust it 100%, but I'd trust it more than my old unit.
So my buddy and I are in separate vehicles going to a third friend's house. It's in rural Maine with a lot of small crisscrossing back roads that all look the same. We were also traveling at night, so that didn't help.
I came to a crossroads. My GPS unit said to go straight, but a right hand turn would have brought me to a town from where I knew how to get to my friend's house. It took me a few moments to decide what to do, but I decided to trust the GPS as it would probably shave a minute or two off the trip.
As soon as I went through the intersection the friend following me pulled me over. He was sure I was going the wrong way. My thought was that his GPS is much newer than mine so it's likely there is a new and better way. No problem.
So I'm following him and the route sorta makes sense. For the first 10 or 15 minutes or so his route seemed plausible to me. As time went on it slowly dawned on me that something was wrong. Finally he pulled over and said his GPS told him we were there, but we obviously were not.
As it turned out he had the right name of the street, but the wrong town. It's a really weird street name too. We went back to following mine and eventually made it to our destination. It took about 20 minutes longer than it should have.
Had I not hesitated at the intersection he never would have questioned my route. Had I newer GPS I would not have hesitated. It also didn't help that it had been a long day for both of us. Only later did we figure out that we didn't even have to take two vehicles. In fact, a couple days later we made the trip together in my van.
In the end we only lost 20 minutes, not the end of the world. I did get to see a great horned owl with a massive wingspan fly out over the road, so that was worth the trip for me.
I think I'm going to have to retire the old GPS. Maybe paper maps are the way to go. Or I could just bring my lovely wife. She's always willing to tell me where to go.