Thursday, April 16, 2009

That GPS Thing

Let me begin by assuring you that, since I am a male, I am my own GPS unit. I always know where I am going, never need to ask directions, and, of course, have never been lost. Just ask CJ.

Sam has a Garmin Nuvi she got for Christmas, though, and since I had never used one and already knew where I was going, I thought we'd use it on the trip, you know, see how the machine compared to me. I was shocked when Sam plugged in our destination address and a pleasant female voice (from this point on she will be known as Betty) informed me that our destination was 640 miles away. Six hundred and forty. That's two hundred less MY ROUTE. Now, saving the time it takes to drive 200 miles seemed like it might be a good idea, given that we were starting kind of late and it was going to be a quick trip. So lead on, Betty.

Within the first mile it was obvious that she intended to take us up Interstate 95. I had never gone that way since it goes through all the major east coast cities, Washington, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, but that 200 miles was so tempting. Things went well until we got to the north side of Richmond, where the speed of traffic varied from stopped to 45 mph. This was the pattern from Richmond all the way to the north side of Baltimore. That wasn't Betty's fault though. As we went through Washington, however, I had the first little pang of doubt. It was when we saw the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial and the Capitol Dome. Then , when she told me to exit onto Pennsylvania Ave., I lost faith. I was also stopped in traffic. Now, I am sure that may have been the shortest distance, and maybe under some circumstances it might be the fastest, but not that day. Not having a map, though, left me with no choice but to follow Betty's directions, vowing that if she ever got me back on 95, I would stay there. Eventually we did get back on 95 and there I stayed. It was fun to ignore the "reconfiguring" and "go .2 miles and make a u-turn" she kept insisting on at each missed exit.

At 2:00 AM, 15 hours into the trip, we were in Rock Hill CT so we stopped there. The next morning we drove another hour and a half and Betty proudly announced that we had arrived at our destination. Oh, it turned out to be 840 miles. Exactly the same as the route I always take. Just to top it off, there are no tolls on my normal route, but we paid $27 to come up 95. Thanks, Betty.

The return trip on Monday was down Interstate 81. Betty was silenced, and relegated to map only mode. It took 13. 5 hours to get home. Same 840 miles, included stops for lunch, and a couple of side trips to Walmart (OK, we let Betty find those for us, and she did a good job). Best of all, not much traffic.

I will admit, though, that seeing those monuments in DC, and seeing all those cities lit up at night was kind of cool, and I never would have without Betty's optimistic mileage calculation, and it all worked out. But I won't go that way again.

I almost took my bike, but there wasn't time to ride it, and the weather wasn't really all that great, temps in the 30's and lots of wind, but maybe next time. I'd kind of like to ride up Mt. Wachusett just to see if I can.

It was nice to see New England again.

1 comment:

Glenn_in_MA said...

Sometimes I'm pleasantly surprised with strong and responsive legs after a week off. Other times not so much. Can never figure out rhyme or reason.