Have you ever been lost?

idie2liveDecember 20, 2009

Hi everyone, I certainly had an adventure today! A friend and I went to spend the weekend in Virginia Beach, Va to visit her daughter. We also went last year so we did not expect any problems.

On the way back home we were talking so much that I took the wrong branch when I-264 split around Suffolk, Va. We had the GPS so we decided we would let it guide us back to SC. Well, it did, but it took us through every small out-of-the-way-barely-a-town-at-all bend in the road. I saw more country scenery than I ever want to see again by accident!

We were in the middle of nowhere, it was getting dark and I was not 100% sure where the GPS was taking us. Finally we saw a gas station, stopped and asked for directions to I-95. Nobody knew EXACTLY, but said we were going in the right direction. I'm asking you, if you were 20-something (like the store clerks) wouldn't you know how to get to the largest city within 50 miles?

Off we go. We came to another store on the side of the road and asked for directions again. The guy gave very precise directions (but I did stop later when I saw another store in a small town to verify). Finally we got to Rocky Mount and I-95!

When I got home I looked on Mapquest to see where we had been and discovered we were smack dab in the middle of nowhere!

The GPS was actually taking us home, but for some reason it was using back roads. When we first got off track, I would have thought it would have asked us to backtrack to pick up the highway. Technology - gotta love it!

PS, I must admit, I was a little worried.

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Yes! I've done the same thing. The GPS led me the long way home from Tulsa one time and just like you, I hit every small town between Tulsa and East Texas. Added another 2 hours to my drive not to come straight to Dallas.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 1:16AM
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I've been lost more than once like you. Traveled more than ever wanted again during my career.

The most memorable was in NZ. I did ask when picking up the rental car if there was any important information that should be known. Of course not.

I went to see the "Glow Worm Caves" and by the time that was over it was getting dark. Then getting lost it was really late and a Sunday, and running out of gas trying to get back to my hotel. They don't have gas stations open on Sunday. Around 12pm I stopped at a restaurant, believing my night would be spent there. The waitress (anyone in NZ) knew I was American and asked me why I was so far out in nowhere. She called a cab. Not for me to get back to the hotel, but every night, holiday and Sunday a cab driver will have keys to gas pumps. They filled my car, didn't even charge me for it and gave directions for getting back to the hotel.

I love New Zealanders....better than great people.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 7:42AM
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Yes, but with no GPS. Luckily, out here in eastern Washington, most of the roads eventually lead back to a highway. There aren't that many small towns and most of them are near a highway.

What part of South Carolina were you trying to get back to, idie2live? My dad's family is from the Greenville area :)

New Zealand does sound like a friendly place. Isn't that where they filmed Lord of the Rings? I saw that with my nephew and the landscape was beautiful!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 9:41PM
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Different kind of lost for me. When I was a kid at a family camp close to Yosemite I went on a sleep walking jaunt in the middle of the night. Of course I did not bother to put shoes or jacket on and even in summer mountains get darn cold. I was wearing the old baby dolls of the time. When I woke up I was in black night no idea where I was. I could see one small light shining way off in the distance. Made my way to it and it was a bathroom. There were several community bathrooms in the camp. Still lost scared and cold I stayed in the light after trying once to follow the trail away. WE were in a tent, the kind with wood frame and deck and canvas top. There was a # on the tent and I remembered the number but it happened the number was wrong as they had set up the wrong canvas on that frame.

A lady came along and asked me where my tent was and I told her the number and it was by the badminton court. She said wrong Number for that area. So then both of us confused. I was clear at the other end of camp from that almost a mile away. Anyway she took me to that area and yes my tent was there. Woke up my Mom and dad and they had never missed me.

For several nights I started this sleepwalking thing and finally they had to tie me to the tent frame tight so I could not get away in the night. Was rather awful.I remember one of the nights I had crossed two bridges across the river up and down stairs and all and never fell down. But that time when I woke up I knew where I was there was more light in that area.

After that I had many years of sleep walking and it was so scary. Another time I walked away from our house and the police picked me up. I did not get in trouble but I sure was scared.Then they changed the locks on the house so you needed a key to open them even from the inside and THEY kept the key.

I have heard GPS is not always the most reliable. You sound like you were in our area the way you describe it. Only here we are only 5 houses off of highway 95 so I do know where the highway is.No gas station here though. We have a hand held GPS we have played around with.


    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 10:13PM
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Marti, when you were in the middle of nowhere, did you 'trust' the GPS?

Wow, Emagineer! Were you alone? That sound really brave. But it sounds like you ran into the nicest people!

Lavender-Lass, I'm in Florence, SC. About 3.5 hours from Greenville. That's some beautiful country around Greenville. I think that is where flagargyle is building his new house.

Chris, thats really scary - especially for a child. So many things could happen to you. Glad you grew out of it.

If you go to mapquest and type in Rich Square, NC you will see the area where we were after sundown and clueless!

    Bookmark   December 21, 2009 at 10:30PM
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Idie....I was younger and unaware of real trouble. Traveled so much alone that it just seemed natural to me. I can still get lost, but always seem to know E-W-N-S wherever I am. As long as I can find a stop light on a straight road, it seems to lead me right.

However, an incident occured to one of our employees years back and it changed our travel alert systems. Even the men who traveled became more aware of their surroundings. Being alone traveling and free spirited isn't the safest road to take.

I don't have a GPS system, most of the family does. They drive my crazy as they do drivers. Telling someone to turn right 5 times before it's time eludes me and I really think they can become a hazard diverting the driver. Guess it depends upon the GPS system being used. Another electronic "thing" to research and obsorb before buying.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2009 at 6:17AM
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About 6 years ago, before we had GPS, my husband, mom, son & I were traveling from Alabama to Nebraska. We were enroute through Arkansas & I suggested we could take a "short-cut" road to get from point A to point B to eliminate a few miles. It was only about 12-15 miles of roads--and I wanted to be adventurous. I still remember the little village and church we passed as we entered the country road with trees lining the sides. We got in the back hills, with a forest, winding narrow paths, we saw stills, old cars, dilapidated places, etc. We were in a whole different world. But finally we reached the point we had no clue where we were. Reluctantly we stopped at an old place & asked how to get to such & such road & the guy thought for awhile and said he thought we needed to go back the way we came. We laughed briefly & then I nearly broke into tears. We had no clue how to get out of the maize. It was getting dark and I was getting scared. We drove on and eventually, hours after entering the short-cut, we reached a more major road, only about 15 miles from where we started. We'll forever remember our "short-cut" road. Now we have GPS. We call her Dorothy. I don't always trust her, but I definitely listen to her and consider her suggestions.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2009 at 10:26AM
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LOL Hilltop, we name our GPS' too. Dh & I share a GPS. He puts it on the British voice and calls her Elizabeth and I put her on the American voice and call her Sybil (with multiple personalities)

Emagineer, that would be so scary. Thank heavens strangers weren't as scary back then either. My youngest used to sleep walk but she never left the house - I don't think.

Loretta, I don't know that I trusted the GPS, but I kept following it's directions because I didn't have a paper map and didn't know where I was. I knew it was taking me to Texas and I figured I would eventually come to a major East West highway where I could find my way home. I think my dd had set it NOT to take any tollroads and that's why it led me down the backroads. OK is full of tollroads.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2009 at 10:44AM
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And now time for an update on this thread, I think.
I'm staying home for Labor Day, but will soon be travelling to Iowa and on to Massachusetts ...from Alabama.

I have used my GPS a lot, because I verify its settings with routes that I know well, so I know what choices it is going to make.

You can set the thing to choose FASTEST ROUTE, SHORTEST DISTANCE, type of road to choose (highways or byways), even avoid toll roads, or avoid ferries. When you get a new GPS, be aware what you are setting it up to do. And, when you choose to go off its chosen route, you can tell it to reroute, or to guide you back to the original route it set up.

One thing I am doing now is using MapQuest (provided by Garmin) to set up my route with various "VIA" or "waypoints" along the way. That will FORCE the GPS to follow the path you want. Once I have it the way I like, then I connect my GPS to my laptop, and load my saved route to it for navigation.

I also use Google Earth, and get directions from it. I see what it will do with just a starting point, and an ending point. Then I compare the routes from the GPS and from Google Earth. When I went to Iowa recently, both sources gave me the same route.

You can get a route from Google Earth, and have it printed out. Not just the map of it, but the turn by turn directions. I always have a small flashlight and my reading glasses close so I can read the next step to take.

I always have considered the traveling part of a trip to be just as much fun as the arrival and time at the destination. Driving is a fun activity to me. Not so to my DH. And I love to begin trips at midnite, when traffic tends to be less congested. Driving at night is an adventure.

When we drive, I am the driver, he is the navigator. He does not trust the GPS either. So he is ready with the map route, and keeps verifying that our path is true. Not a bad idea if you have someone willing to do the navigating for you as a backup. They have to be willing to pay attention, not just be a blob in the passenger seat.

But I hope everyone is ready to report fresh adventures ON THE ROAD AGAIN.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 11:58AM
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Haha, constantly :) Worst was trying to get back to school in GA 600 miles away and ending up in IN :)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 3:28PM
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OMG, Enigma, that can be maddening! Wow.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 12:58AM
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GPS is not fool proof. A funny story is when we were taking my youngest to college in PA, my older daughter joked about wanting to see cows. There weren't any on the highways going to the college. On the way home, the GPS suddenly directed us off the road, around a bend and onto the road of a cow pasture! My daughter jumped out to take photos! Same thing with trying to find a Dunkin Donuts. The GPS took us to a site that was clearly never a donut shop! What I do on a very long trip is to stop the GPS and restart it. This usually avoids most mishaps.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 3:17AM
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We haven't gotten a GPS yet. When we travel, I lay everything out on MapQuest, plus we bring along a road atlas. If we're going to spend any time in a new city, I buy a local map. I'd like to get my wife a GPS when we move to SC, because she's not as good at navigation as I am. I'm lucky to have a very good sense of direction, and once I look at the map once, I'm good to go. Likewise, if I've driven to place, even once, I always remember how to get there. Couldn't tell you the name of the folks we visited, but I can get you there LOL!

The only problem for us is that we aren't good with electronic gadgets. The GPS had better be pretty simple!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 7:42AM
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DH bought a car with OnStar last Fall. This is our first trip away from Southeast Michigan with it. We went down to Ohio and across I90 through the far northwest corner of Pennsylvania to New York. Our first stop was at Binghamton, where an old college friend of mine lives. (Isn't funny how you can not see someone in 15 years and within minutes you are right back there, chatting as friends. What was supposed to be a two-hour brunch turned into an all day stay as we shared our lives! DH missed seeing the Baseball Hall of Fame that was on the agenda for the afternoon, so we have to make it up later.)

When leaving our own neighborhood at the start of the trip, DH pulled into a shopping center and asked OnStar to send us to Binghamton, NY. It wanted to send us through Ontario, Canada. That was a fine route, 40 minutes shorter than the route we took - but only if there were no international crossings to negotiate. There are two, one in Detroit/Windsor, and one at Niagara Falls. We were fairly certain that the two crossings would consume far more than 40 minutes on the last weekend of the summer! Well, Onstar could not help us. It insisted on only that route, so we had to wait until we were in Ohio to ask OnStar to give us the correct route to Binghamton!

The system was a bit bothersome, sometimes telling you incorrectly the name of a road you were on. "Take 36 West to Summer street and turn left. Continue for 4 miles until Summer St. becomes Union St. Travel for 3 tenths of a mile, then turn right onto North Rd." Well, Union St. would never appear, and like a true dysfunctional family member, OnStar would act like it knew the right name all along, once you got past that section. "Travel 3 tenths of a mile on Summer St, then turn right onto North Rd."

It did save us when we were "confused" about what route to take. After Binghamton, we went to an inn on the Hudson River. We took a drive at lunch and visited the town of New Paltz. Our route back to our Inn had a detour and the instructions on the road signs were confusing to the dear H, and he asked for OnStar to come on and direct us back to our route. It worked fine. The road signs had taken us to a semi-deserted downtown area, and dropped us there without a clue about where to turn next. OnStar played the little "I will rename this block in honor of one of my programmer's dear great-uncles, who passed away during my beta testing," trick, but we were onto it by then and ignored the faux-street name change. After that, OnStar's instructions did get us back on route.

This is the view off our little semi-private terrace outside of our room:
A far soom on the Hudson river down from our room.

Pulling back on the zoom on the very same scene.

Seating area outside our room.

If you'd like to see all of the pictures, click below and click on individual pictures to see them enlarged and read the captions.

Here is a link that might be useful: New York Vacation

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 7:10PM
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Nancy, that is a beautiful scene. I'm glad you had a chance to get away from home. I'm not familiar with much of NYState, but that sounds like the area my DH calls the Lake District?
Or the Upper Tier? We were driving the Southern Tier on our trip across NYState, because Buffalo had that awful winter ice storm a couple of winters back.

This time when I drive from Iowa through to Massachusetts, I'm thinking I'll take the Upper Tier. We will have to make a point of staying at a place like you did. Talk about peaceful!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 7:35PM
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Oh, yes, big time!! in the late 70s. Ex DH was airline pilot based at JFK. I usually picked him up at the airport. Once, he wanted me to go to the airline office in Jamaica, Queens. However, intrepid traveler that I am, I got lost in the warehouse district where there had recently been a "lost person" murder. It was summer, hot, and there I was driving around a well lighted area, ALONE. Came upon a group in the middle of the street, but drove right past them, thinking that I AM NOT GOING TO DIE HERE. When I finally reached the office, I just honked the horn the best I cold, as my hands were frozen on the steering wheel.

The biggest fright of my life!!!

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 7:42PM
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