Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Navigating the Way


Good day, Crafties! Christine Johnson here today to chat about the joys of getting lost. Recently I took a road trip to Detour Village in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, at the mouth of the St. Mary’s River.  That required a drive of several hours. Now, I’m old-school when it comes to navigation. No GPS for me. Maps? Love them, but I don’t want a computer telling me where to go. I especially love directions from people who’ve been there before. You know, the kind that say to turn left when you reach the giant plastic rooster.  For this trip, the “in the know” instructions said to turn a little past the park with the big buoys (yep, on land, not in the water). Simple, right? How many parks have huge buoys in them? I felt pretty confident that I could find the place.

Ah, over-confidence!  I saw the park but went zooming past my turn and had to backtrack. But that little detour (no pun, honestly) showed me things I might not have noticed had I turned exactly where a GPS voice told me to. I might have missed the old wrecked sidewheel steamer near shore. Hm, maybe that captain could have used better charts. Or the little museum with the ship-viewing station. 


Or this bunch of geese who’d commandeered the street and were in no hurry to go anywhere.



It got me to thinking that maybe the most direct route isn’t always the best. What do we miss in life when we’re so intent on following the quickest route? Are we just looking at the path ahead or do we notice what’s off to the side and who else is traveling with us? I’m far too guilty of the former, yet when I take the time to look around me, I’m always blessed. So, in this rush-rush world, I’m going to do my best to stop and look around. And maybe even take a detour or two.  How about you?  What fascinating things have you seen when you had to navigate off the direct route?

12 comments:

Debbie Kaufman said...

Hi Christine! For the most part, I seem to have a bit of an internal GPS. I do love to wander and explore, and I especially like taking different routes so I can see something new. When I lived in Kentucky, I stumbled across a monastery I didn't know was there and bought some of their cheese. Yum, best ever!

Christine Johnson said...

Hi Debbie! How fun to discover a place that you didn't know existed. Back when gas prices were lower, my husband and I loved to drive around the area on back country roads and make those kinds of discoveries. We've never found a monastery tucked away in the hills. That's so romantic! And great cheese too. :)

PamelaTracy said...

I get lost a lot, mostly because I take trips with friends and then get involved in a conversation and sail right past a turn or destination. This habit once landed us at a great restaurant outside New Orleans - a little hole in the wall.

Christine Johnson said...

Hi Pamela! I've sailed past exits too, usually because I'm wrestling with storylines and plot problems. Ooops! Don't you love those great hole-in-the-wall restaurants? They make for lasting memories.

Debby Giusti said...

I'm a map lover, too, Christine. My mother couldn't find her away around a parking lot so I was the one who had to navigate when we traveled. My dad would drive, and I'd be in the backseat telling him where to turn.

I grew up with maps and feel lost without them, no matter how good GPS might be. :)

Exploring is always fun, especially so in Europe. We loved seeing the off-the-track parts of Germany and France. The smallest towns would always be filled with treasures. We once stayed at a tiny mill hotel in rural France. Wild boors ran through the backyard in the morning. I still remember the yummy dinner in the quaint hotel restaurant, and the red and white checked tablecloths. Staying there was like a fairytale come true. :)

Jenna Mindel said...

Hi Christine!
Love your post! I'm not exactly a map lover - I'm directionally challenged and have to turn the map in the direction we're going so I get my lefts & rights right... pretty sad since I navigate when my husband & I go on trips (He'll only give up the wheel when he needs to nap!)

I've learned how to read maps, but it's still a challenge to find the quickest, straightest route. I tend to pay TOO much attention to the stuff around me and sometimes lose sight of the destination! LOL

Christine Johnson said...

Debby, the description of your travels in Europe makes me want to go! It does sound like a fairytale.

I love historical maps too. The Library of Congress's digital map collection is a treasure trove of United States historical maps.
http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/browse/ListSome.php?format=Map

Christine Johnson said...

Hi Jenna! You must stumble across some amazing things in your travels. If turning the map equates to directionally challenged, then I am too! I thought that's why maps were made so they can be turned every which way. Hey, whatever works!

Ausjenny said...

Christine my experience with a gps in Canada was of the beaten track in a bad way. we had limited time and were going to Stanley park. it was simple follow the road dont turn of and you are there. well one lady knew better put in the address and we ended at a park but it was a childrens playground. What should have been one hour took over 2 hours which meant we didn't get to see some of the things we planned to.
I dont drive so have to rely on others when traveling. When I was in Washington State we were headed to one place and I saw something on the side. We stopped on the way back it was a information place with gift shop but they area had a lake and really cool gardens. it was so peaceful and beautiful.

Christine Johnson said...

Hi Ausjenny! You have sure done a lot of traveling. I can completely relate to your bad experience. While traveling through an area I knew, I told the driver to go a certain way, but he insisted on following the gps, which took the group on a very roundabout and lengthy trip. Sigh. If it hadn't been so frustrating, it would have been funny. We didn't miss anything, though. So sorry your experience turned out so badly. At least your Washington state trip had that wonderful surprise! I love lakes and gardens.

Sandra Orchard said...

My husband and I love to travel off the beaten track and experience the non-touristy sides of areas. Our most memorable "detour" was while camping in Northern Ontario. This was before GPSs and the roads we ended up on weren't on the map, because they were logging roads. We got soooo lost, but I saw my first ever porcupine!!! and eventually made it back to the campground :)

Christine Johnson said...

Hi Sandra! Oh wow, I got chills just reading about your adventure. Sometimes those logging roads end up in muddy bogs or dead ends. Soooo glad you made it safely to camp and have a great story to tell.

PS - I saw a porcupine up close on that trip to Detour. It just sauntered past the front porch of the cabin as if I wasn't there.