Saturday, January 14, 2012

"The Blind Leading the Blind, or GPS vs Boats"

People who knew Ron and I in the past knew that a trip for us was like going to a candy store for a kid.  We couldn't just leave on the set vacation day, we always, always left the night or day before, too excited to wait one minute longer.  It's a good thing we had jobs to keep us in one spot or we would have been off on new adventures in a heart beat.

Ron and I don't travel as much or as far as we used to but still make short sojourns into the world to explore and find the unexpected. I actually love maps and was once the navigator when Ron was driving. He was always willing to turn off onto those smaller roads to "see what's over that hill." I'm now the full time driver so using a map doesn't work, and I don't like a GPS telling me where to go.  We love meeting new people, finding exciting treasures (not gold and diamonds, but local history , sights, (I'm a sucker for interesting characters), becoming enamored with new places, then finding ourselves happy to be back to our warm little home in Birch Bay after a successful treasure hunting trip.

No meal is as good as that in a small town cafe recommended by a local farmer who you met at a gas station, and oh, the people you would meet and the stories they would tell, these were fantastic treasures to fill our treasure chests.

Ron decided when we were still working that we really needed a GPS, of course he turned it on so we could find our way from our home in Santa Fe to our job in Los Alamos (we'd done this trip hundreds if not thousands of times) but guess what?  We never got lost finding our way home, so I guess the GPS worked.

Then there was the time we were traveling to visit Ron's cousin and his wife, Jerry and Jane Kirkpatrick, on their remote ranch overlooking the John Day River in northern Oregon.  Okay, I did think, maybe the GPS would come in handy for this one excursion.  Off we went, that little (kind of annoying) voice warning us ahead of time to make this turn off of the highway, how many miles to the next exit/turn, when we were near a town, etc. etc.  The Kirkpatricks lived off of a rural road they called 7-11 on a lane called Starvation Lane (read her wonderful book called "Homestead" about their life there.  Anyway, the name of the lane should say it all.  

GPS was telling us how to leave the tiny town where they collected their supplies and told us to head out on the State road, then it told us to turn left on the County maintained dirt road for seven miles, then to turn right on a  private dirt road owned by the local ranchers for another eleven miles.  All was going well until we came to the turn off for Starvation Lane, suddenly we jumped, the GPS started shouting at us "warning turn around! , warning turn around!" and on and on until we finally turned off that damn voice.  Maybe this was a hint of the winding dirt lane that took us down a cliff side showing us vistas of the river and the beautiful valley below where Jerry and Jane had built their homestead.

Yes, we made it safely, had a wonderful visit, but I've never trusted a GPS since.

As for those trips, not so many any more, I'm the full time driver so no navigating, but we do take our day trips and love hearing of our friends adventures all over the world, so those treasures are still abounding in of lifes and we feel very blessed.  Oh, I do keep an atlas next to my chair at home, and have an outdated globe to track the world's changes, so yes, maps are important, just not a fast rule for your life.

Oh, "warning turn around!, warning turn around! (you just might miss something or someone wonderful if you don't).

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