Wizardly detours

My son and I drove home yesterday. 13 hours on the road. Oy.

I've been driving since I was 16, but no automobile feature has ever matched what having a GPS has meant to me. I'm competent and safe but not spontaneous behind the wheel. Without that talking box I would never have undertaken a road trip like this: he and I packed up the car with our stuff and a cooler of snacks and an eventual destination (grandma's house) 439 miles (706 kilometers) and six states away, with no particular time of arrival, and came back the same way. Other family members came by train or by plane, but we had the best adventures.

The GPS meant we could drive as far as we felt like it and then push a button to get a choice of hotels, get gas or food, or just take a whim to follow a small detour to the most under-promised but over-delivered tourist destination I've seen.

All the stress of driving, for me, dissolved. I knew where I was, where I was going, and detours were of little consequence. The ten miles of unexpected construction delay: whatever. The accident 50 cars ahead of us that left thousands of people standing around on the interstate highway chatting and trading stories: a welcome restoration of blood to our backsides. The Dunkin Donuts that wasn't there led us to to a hometown coffee place that was.

I didn't listen to the GPS (we call her Hermione) all the time - she was our consultant but not our boss. My son and I liked her "arrival time" that constantly changed, and a way back to the main road when we pulled off. We laugh at the slightly judgemental way she hesitates and then says "Re-Calculating" when we don't take her advice. We forgave her not knowing how to get to my town watering hole - and she didn't know the old names for stuff - but she was sure a good friend these past few weeks.

I could use a GPS for other aspects of life (Like two weeks of mail, dog hair, phone messages, and 'to-do' items sent to the "next week." that are now "this week") but how nice to be home with family and weeks of happy memories.


  1. I Know! the GPS is amazing. I had NO INTEREST in a GPS and always thought people who put them on every time they get in the car were being silly. But then someone gave me one (someone who knew I didn't like them), and now it's one of my most prized possessions. I've gotten to know my city better by "avoiding highways" and discovering new roads. I've learned of different cafes and shops and detours. It's great!

  2. Hubby, who until I bought a phone with a basic sat nav in it was totally against anything that did more than receive and make calls, is now totally obsessed with his navigation aid - must admit it HAS been very useful in travelling and it gets me out of navigating and getting it wrong too.

  3. GPS came on the beach trip with D and me. It saved alot of stress.
    I was sure it was going to tell me off for turning off the perscribed route. I kept waiting for it to say "Turn around, you've done it wrong!" It never did of course.
    Perhapes we all need to just re-calculate ocasionally on our journeys.


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