“Only 799 miles to go”, I said as I looked at Kim who was already giving me the “shut up and drive” look.
I started off our trip to Utah giving mileage updates. Every few miles.
The Magellan calculated 804 miles from our home to Utah which I sort of trust. But it also says the trip should take about twelve hours which means the engineers at Magellan must not travel with children.
And yet I have only myself to blame.
I’ve lived in Seattle for seventeen years. In that time I’ve made the Seattle to Utah trip at least twenty times. One might assume I know the shortest route between these two points.
And yet when the GPS told me to turn right I turned to Kim and said, “Screw it, I’m taking a left.”
That ill-advised left added at least another hour to the trip as we backtracked through towns I’ve never heard of. Kim made sure to read the town names aloud so we’d all know that maybe my directional instincts are not as powerful as a network of global satellites.
The problem comes down to the fact that I don’t trust my GPS. Each year I read about the driver who blindly followed the polite GPS voice right into a lake and drowned. And each time I see a makeshift memorial near a body of water I think to myself, “Another death by GPS.”
So I follow my Magellan just enough to get pointed in the right direction, but not enough that it saves me time or an ounce of grief. I’ll follow the sultry voice like a lemming from my home to the freeway making every right and left turn as if my driver’s license was on the line.
But put me in a city I’ve never been to and I’m muting the GPS, cranking the Zep and proclaiming, “Stand back, I’ve got this one!”
Less than 400 miles from our home, we pulled off the freeway and into the parking lot of Best Western. I called the reservation line and was thrilled to hear they had a room for us. I must have been tired because, when asked how many children I have I replied, “Three”.
For the next twenty minutes our four children debated who had been booted from the family.