Wednesday, February 11, 2009

a long drive in the woods

I'm not often easily impressed by new electronic gadgets. It takes me awhile. But a couple of months ago I was introduced to an iPhone, and an iTouch. My SIL and I had great fun playing with it. When a friend was telling me about her GPS that she had to get for her new car (that she rarely drives), I tried not to roll my eyes. Really, isn't a mapbook good enough? I have a large Rand McNally for the Golden Horseshoe. If where I am heading is on the awkward bit like the page edge or worse, the spine, I draw myself my own version on a sheet of paper and that usually suffices. I can always Google it beforehand and print off the map.

Then I got to play with the GPS and found out all that it could do. Just telling me something will not convert me. I need actual visual, hands-on proof. I had to concede that the features like distance and traffic delays and where the nearest ATM or gas station is could be extremely useful. It even tells you where restaurants are and what movies are on at the nearest cinema.

So much detail at a touch. I've been in love with this gadget ever since.

Many years ago, on a road trip to Winnipeg, a friend and I were cruising along the blasted out rock and pine tree filled stunning forests of North of Superior when it occurred to us that maybe we should have topped up the gas in Wawa (or wherever it was we left several hours ago, I forget at the moment). We saw a sign pointing down a road to the right that said Logging Camp, Gas Station. So off the highway we turned and drove down the rutted track. And drove, and drove, and drove some more because we were not quite deep enough into the never ending stunning forest. Seriously, we weren't sure we would even make it to the logging camp. Finally, after many, many minutes that may have equalled an hour, we reached what was obviously the end of the road. We knew this because after the few buildings and the gas station and general store, the road looped around back onto itself. The station sold le gaz, the signs were all in French, the attendant only spoke French and didn't understand our attempts at communicating. We filled up, bought a snack and headed back to the highway. By then we both needed to pee and since we hadn't passed a vehicle the whole way we stopped and checked out the lay of the bushes... a big logging truck passed us. We reached the highway and remembered that we needed to turn right to keep on towards the Manitoba border. About 1/2 km up the road, around a bend was a gas station. With a restaurant. And probably clean washrooms.

22 comments:

  1. but you remember the forest you saw...and have given us a lovely little anecdote...so there it was all worth it.

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  2. P.S. Thought you must be up early as my comment is #1 and I see you are 7am while I am 10pm same day. My Wed is nearly over before your's begins.

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  3. Yes, tDelwyn, that is one of the fun things about blogging - the international readers who are sometimes looking in when it is tomorrow!!

    I work nights so actually, like you, it is almost bedtime...

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  4. I mostly love the GPS...I hardly ever use it though because I don't need it to tell me my daily route.

    It's okay for trips though. Poland is one of those countries where not everything is on the GPS so it can be frustrating. But at the very least it is helpful.

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  5. Kylie, I would get tired of the voice telling me to return to the route as I always veer off the path to check out something more interesting on the other side of the road.

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  6. back when I had my job I used GPS all the time as I had to locate competitors to the building I was inspecting in the local market. all cities that I have usually never visited before. It has its uses.

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  7. Yes, driving in unfamiliar cities, Char can be intimidating. And traffic keeps getting in the way.

    Do you think we learn from such adventures Crystal, or would we repeat the veering off the track believing the signs?

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  8. I would like to have a GPS on my bike, as I still get lost in some of the newer areas of the city.

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  9. Your stories of wide and desolate places fascinate me.

    I'm living in a country where the English channel is just a 1h drive by car, where Holland takes only 20 minutes and where I can take a high-speed train and be in Paris, France in just over an hour.

    We never had distances and desolate places in tiny Belgium.

    But we have GPS in our cars, often telling us that the virtually gridlocked traffic is backed up for at least one additional hour.

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  10. Technology is a more alluring seductress than drugs. A few moments with a good gadget and you're hooked.

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  11. Love the story. As for the GPS, I want the one that a colleague has: it uses the voice (and attitude) of John Cleese.

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  12. I just got a GPS for Christmas and I've spent many hours playing with it. I had to - for many weeks it had a hard time finding satellites in the cloudy Vancouver skies and so it kept believing it was in Toronto (poor thing!).

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  13. It is annoying, isn't it, Irene, when yuour own town keeps changing and growing on you.

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  14. Well, that 2 day drive, Peter would have surely been fascinating, but I find your situation more interesting. I remember as a child the first time we drove out west, being so excited just to get to Manitoba because we were no longer in Ontario and were somewhere different!

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  15. Yes, XUP, I am a sucker once I see something that much fun.

    I didn't know about the John Cleese voice, Jazz, that would be too distracting for me, I think! Oh, but so much fun.

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  16. Oh what a drag... Murphy's law...

    great story teller, you are!!!

    and wouldn't that be exactly the time the logging truck would show up!!!

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  17. ...it actually sounds like a fun adventure!

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  18. Oh how we laughed, Gwen, and thank you!

    Yes, Oliag, sometimes it is good to go off track, once in a while.

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  19. I love the iPhone, not sure how easy it is to use it but I am sure I could learn quickly. My brother has one and he loves it. GPS is a very cool and useful gadget to have.

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  20. UA, I love the touch screen and the scrolling thing. I'm getting tired of pushing buttons,

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