GPS: Friend and Foe

Last year, when Mom and I were on our whirlwind 12,000 miles in 50 days trip around the country, we relied on our US atlas and instructions written out from Mapquest (since we didn’t have a printer with us).  This year, before we began our adventure, Mom insisted we find a way to navigate that didn’t require her trying to read my chicken scratch handwriting.  So, I did a little research and we ended up buying a TomTom GPS for Red Rover.  It has been a godsend and demon possessed machine so far.

For the most part, Direction Dude (the voice we chose for our directions) gets us from point A to point B without issue.  We find where we’re going easily and without all the panicy  “Left or right?  Which way?” questions hurled back and forth.  Major interstate intersections no longer have me straining forward against the steering wheel to try and see a couple miles ahead to the exit ramp signs to guess which lane I need to be in.

But then there are the other times…

Driving from North Carolina to West Virginia, DD (Direction Dude) decided we needed a more scenic route, so it had me leaving the highway and taking our little Kia Soul up the side of a mountain on a gravel, one lane road with twists and turns that would make a car commercial envious.  Another time, it did something similar, though with steep cliffs on one side of the one lane road.  Sure, it might be 30 seconds faster, but my poor heart can’t handle the stress of glancing out the side window to check the mirror and seeing a straight drop down.  Mom’s constant screaming and death grip on the door didn’t help either.

So, we are using a combo of atlas and GPS in our more rural, mountainous trips.  Mom keeps an eye on the map (using her new sunglasses/cheaters) while I keep one eye on DD.  If it looks like he’s sending us into an area where you hear the opening strains of Dueling Banjos from Deliverance, Mom looks for an alternative and we keep driving until he agrees with our new route.

So, will I rely only on GPS?  Nope.  Sure, it’s an invaluable tool and has made this adventure much easier when it comes to getting to most places.  But, it is still a computer and they do make errors, so we’ll stick with our combo of old school and new technology to continue on our travels around the country.


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