Tuesday, March 11, 2014

.Navigating the old way- with a MAP!

Last weekend I had to make a trip to pick up my oldest daughter, who has spent the week with my sister in North Carolina.  The drive took us up I-95 northbound out of Georgia and in to South Carolina, where I intersected interstate 26 to head west/northwest.

The plan was to meet at an exit off I-26 that is about half way mileage and time wise for both of us to drive. On the way up there was an accident about a dozen miles shy of the exit to 26, some sort of three car affair that took nearly half an hour to get past.  The interstate is only two lanes wide in SC and really needs to be three laned in each direction, which is not likely to happen soon.  Traffic south bound, I noted, was very heavy.  Between spring break starting and it being Bike Week in Daytona Beach Florida, lots of traffic headed south. Enough for me to want to try a different route back.

We met at a Hardee's off an exit and "exchanged the prisoner".  I got on I-26 headed east, wanting to find another route south. I pulled a dog eared atlas from the back seat and handed it to Brooke.  (I am sorry if you are a dog, able to read, and find this offensive)

Now, why did I do this, rather than tell her to take her I phone and find us another route? Simple! Last Christmas the family and I were faced with the same dilemma, traffic backed up and trying to find a back route.  The problem with those GPS and nav applications is they all want an ending address.....but they always and I mean always want to put you on the interstate, which was gridlocked and the reason we wanted another route! Then you get frustrated telling it to re route. Guess what else.....they don't work when you loose cell signal, which happens in rural areas.  

I can pull out a paper atlas, look at the WHOLE PICTURE, and see a way out quicker than you can punch the data in on the screen. 

Thus we did. After I told her to open the book and find South Carolina, I pointed to where we were, and told her to find highway 601, which intersected with our direction a few miles down. What do you know, we could take 601, a two laner, all the way across the border into Sylvania, GA which was about 40 minutes from our place on the west side of Savannah, or go just a few miles south on 601 and pick up highway 21 in Orangeburg SC which would take us more east/southeast.

On we went, oh, not moving the potential 75 we would do IF the interstate was clear, but we were moving at 55-60 mph with occasional slowdowns for small towns.  Which is better than 0 to 5 mph with a diesel rig idling on one side of me, and an SUV with a domestic argument going on inside, while their big navigation screen shows a clear, blue road with an arrow pointing in the way they are SLOWLY going!   

I do like my techno devices. I own a smart phone. I have a cool GoPro hi definition camera. I have a small hand held GPS I use for boating, fishing and snowmobiling.  I have used auto nav systems for finding an urban address. But in the country? My folks have had people come to visit, who INSIST on "just give me the address!" when the 'ol man tries to tell them how to get there (3 1/2 miles north on 102!) and they get routed about 12 miles out of the way in a big circle......since GPS units often don't recognize unpaved township roads.

Well I sound like a crotchety old fart in this entry...but so many have no clue where they are without devices. A sense of direction, the ability to find North from South, East from West. read a paper map, come on people! 

OK ranting on.......some years back we had a hurricane evacuation, mind you pre GPS, but none the less, I knew the two lanes leading in and out of the area, while others spent hours on a grid locked interstate. Some of whom I am sure have lived here most of their lives. It amazes me how little some folk know about their own surroundings.