Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Drive from #^*&^!!!

I swear the GPS in my van is possessed.  It seems to take the stupidest route to ANYWHERE ----

I had a $100 TomTom before I had this van with the built in one, and that thing NEVER got me lost.  It let me know when I was going over the speed limit ((Very helpful!)) and it told me when I was approaching a traffic light that had a camera on it.  ((Also very helpful))

Though I was never one to run a red light anyway, it was just a nice notification so that I could smile big as I drove on through.

Then comes the big purchase of Shamu and the built in GPS system.  I’ve had this van over a year and I am still not friends with it.  Sometimes we get along okay as acquaintences, but we have definite TRUST ISSUES!!

For instance, the old Tomtom could get me to the 4 H camp at Smith Mountain Lake no problem – right to the front door.  The built in one?  “turn by turn direction will not be provided to complete your journey, there are unmarked roads along the way.”  WHAT!?!??!


So yesterday, I was amused when the GPS took me OFF of I-95, but I thought maybe it knew what it was doing.  ((What was I thinking?!))

I’m watching industrial areas turn into not-so-nice inner city areas, and I’m hitting every red light at 5pm…….

When I hit the first traffic circle and saw the cross roads were Lettered streets, the the other roads were numbered, it hit me….Oh my goodness! I’m in “THE DISTRICT!”

There was nothing I could do.  I couldn’t turn around, I’d come so far --- I had to keep going and trust that eventually I would get to my destination.  The afternoon still had enough light to it, and the sun was shining and I began to enjoy the colored row houses along the sides of the road, watch the leaves fall from the trees and flutter down the street along with the pedestrians as they made their way to wherever they were going --- while I sat at red light after red light after red light.

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Grey, cheddar, red and yellow!

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Row houses always enchanted me!  I love the turret “hats” on these!

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Fancy bay windows hint of a more prosperous by-gone era.

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Fighting traffic around a couple more traffic circles, I found myself in a familiar place --- Georgetown!!  I had been here around 2003 or 2004 when I came to visit DC with Randy and her daughter Rachel.  That had been a “flying” trip – I flew up from South Carolina, and they from California and we spent the week exploring DC’s monuments and the Smithsonians – and of course --- Georgetown.

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It’s getting dark! Street lamps are coming on!

Before I knew it – okay – longer than that, because we were crawling through evening traffic and every red light --- I was on the Frances Scott Key Bridge – and finally:

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It was definitely the wrong way --- the long way --- it took TWO HOURS longer than it should have to get me here, but you know what?  It was kind of neat too.  I was just sorry all the pictures were taken from the drivers seat of my car :c)

My schedule has been hectic.  Today is a bit of a break for me, I have the day time free – and a lecture tonight --- so I’m calling up my buddy Pat Sloan and hoping since we are both in the same place at the same time that we can catch each other for lunch.    After that, who knows? 

I’m meeting with the other guild ladies around 5pm for dinner, we’ll go to set up for the trunk show, and guild meeting starts around 7pm!  And we do it again :c)

Have a great Thursday, everyone!


  1. Can't get enough cheddar! Love the houses. Way to turn a situation around - that's so like you. I have to admit, you made me laugh.

  2. Just one thing to say Bonnie, that time of day you probably would have crawled on boring 95/495 too. At least you had eye candy going through the district.

  3. Anonymous8:22 AM EDT

    OH I do hear you Bonnie! IMagine DC before GPS and all that? I could all but swear the street layout was done deliberately to confuse the 'enemy" ___ aka the you-know-whos back in 1776!

    Did you give your TomTom away? Hopw about using it even in Shamu? No sense distrusting your own vehicle!!!!

    Have a good day, smile and and get a bumper sticker that says
    "I made it through DC,!' Honey, you are now a DC VET!


  4. Turn the GPS off in Shamu and use the old TomTom. In my experience the ones you get with the cars are not good. If you can set it to take the fastest route rather than the shortest route, that may help, too, but being an experienced GPS user, you have probably already done that.

  5. we have one that we can take with us in any of the vehicles that we drive - a Garmin - I like that we can update it straight from the computer and tell it to take the fastest way, the shortest, the most scenic ect.

  6. HI Bonnie I find my GPS doesn't always take the most direct route but loves to keep me on major highways in spite of my hitting the avoid button ( this is true especially with the George Washington Bridge- my GPS LOVES the GW bridge). But I have learned to 1) always keep a map in the car HAHA and 2) check the programming of my route- direct, avoid toll roads etc. Sometimes but not always that helps. Good luck getting home :)

  7. We had one built in to a Toyota Avalon, worst thing ever. We have an Acura with a great one now. Just use your iPhone...

  8. our poor Bonnie, this sounds terrible.
    Have you had a look at the settings, may be it is set on "shortest route" instead of "fastested route" ???
    otherwise, yes, turn it off and use the Tomtom.....
    good luck !!

  9. Maybe Shamu needs her GPS UPDATED. I had a friend with the in-car GPS and she never had it updated. It could not find the Hershey Lodge. Two years ago, with my TomTom, it got us right to the front door. I vote for TomTom, updated each month. Find out how to updaate Shamu. It may cost a bundle, like my friends car.

  10. Anonymous8:54 AM EDT

    I had to laugh as I read this, especially about the traffic circles. I remember visiting DC in the early 70's, finding my self in the 1st traffice circle I'd ever seen, and just driving round and round it because we didn't know which street to take. All that at 100 degrees in an un-airconditioned car with a baby who had just projectile vomited all over the car. Wow, how I do NOT miss those days.

  11. I love the row houses! Have you tried Mapquest on your phone, it's free ;). My brother swears by it. We had Tom Tom get us list before, as well as taking is down an unmarked one way road. Can you imagine the surprise as we hit the traffic light! I can tolerate the map app built into the I phone. It talks, but I have to have a specific address. I can't search for a specific place like Chickfila or a post office.

  12. Several years ago you taught in Auburn, AL. I attended there and after the first day I drove my sewing partner to her brother's house before heading for the motel. My GPS was giving me directions out of the subdivision when all of a sudden I noticed that the road I was on was ending......right at the edge of a cliff. I sat there for a couple of minutes, stunned, and then made a very tight U-turn and got myself out of there. The GPS picked up a couple of blocks further on and did a fine job after that but I never have fully trusted them since that time.

  13. Love my TomTom and I have to tahnk you for telling me what the alert was approaching traffic lights...LOL And Thank You Thank You for sharing the row houses, I love them there and in San Fran.

  14. II was visiting my brother in northern Maine, and he and my sister-in-law took me for a ride to look for a quilt shop. The GPS got us in the general vicinity, but eventually took us into a cul-de-sac that ended in the woods. We turned around in someone's driveway, and headed back out. Eventually, we stumbled upon the quilt shop which ended up not being a shop at all, but the lower level of someone's home!! Hope you do better with your travel adventures today. Loved the pics of the row houses too.

  15. My sister's kids gave her a GPS one year for Christmas. The closer she got to her destinations when she needed it's guidance the most, the thing would switch languages!

  16. When I was a graduate student in Geography, we used to joke that you could always tell a geographer because he/she knew how to refold the road map. Now an under-appreciated -- but still useful! -- skill. My professional recommendation: spend all that time at the traffic lights and snarls thinking up entertaining words for what "GPS" stands for!

  17. DH & I have learned to not listen to GPS all of the time. That's why we are so good at saying "recalculating". . . .just like with a computer, it pays to have an idea of where you are headed so you know when to ignore "the machines". I often think of my HS computer teacher "garbage in, garbage out". . . . .

  18. I love seeing the row houses. Love the colors. I always take an overall look at my trip before starting to see if gps is taking me on a crazy route. I like the GPS on my phone better.

  19. I love seeing the row houses. Love the colors. I always take an overall look at my trip before starting to see if gps is taking me on a crazy route. I like the GPS on my phone better.

  20. I love seeing the row houses. Love the colors. I always take an overall look at my trip before starting to see if gps is taking me on a crazy route. I like the GPS on my phone better.

  21. I love seeing the row houses. Love the colors. I always take an overall look at my trip before starting to see if gps is taking me on a crazy route. I like the GPS on my phone better.

  22. I love seeing the row houses. Love the colors. I always take an overall look at my trip before starting to see if gps is taking me on a crazy route. I like the GPS on my phone better.

  23. I love seeing the row houses. Love the colors. I always take an overall look at my trip before starting to see if gps is taking me on a crazy route. I like the GPS on my phone better.

  24. Bonnie many years from now when you stop traveling please wright a book on your travels and the WONDERFUL Quilters you have experienced along the way. My guild and I are going to write/produce and star in a Quilter's reality show and we want you to star in it with us.

    Bonnie from Va

  25. That took me back to when I lived in a suburb and worked in downtown DC. I was always lost, with a map in my hand at every corner. I was told that even life-long residents carried maps and used them frequently. Now, instead of maps, they probably all have some sort of GPS system that they use, and likely are still getting lost!
    You probably didn't stop on your way out, but I hope you got to eat at The American Cafe (in Georgetown) when you went with Randi and her daughter. They have the BEST croissants I've ever eaten!!

  26. You should check the settings on Shamu's GPS. My husband pushed too many buttons one time and set mine to avoid highways and my GPS took me off the highway as much as was possible.

  27. I agree, Not Lucy! Mine accidentally got set to avoid toll roads... and I got lost in the back country of West Va... a very long drive, but I finally found a highway and ignored the dumb GPS the rest of the way home!

    and, Bonnie... I've been caught in rush hour(s) traffic coming out of Georgetown - you made good time!

  28. Finding the good in a bad situation! and the pics are great!

  29. Yep, been there, done that. Same as some of the others--settings were set to avoid tolls and other stuff. Horrible. But you did make it safely!!

  30. Did you have your GPS set to "Lewis and Clark" mode?

    That's what I call it when mine takes me the scenic route. :)

  31. I love the row houses. My lifelong best friend (rest her soul) and I took many, many road trips in the southwest over the years, never used a GPS, always a map. We always looked forward to the adventures we knew would happen--many great stories from these trips. One deep, dark night we ended up face to face with a cute burro in the "driveway" of a small home in rural New Mexico. Have you driven much in NM? Until the last decade, the very few road signs that existed were cryptic and less help than no signs! I love my Tom Tom. My husband especially liked the panic it exuded, politely, of course, when we took the brand new Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge/Hoover Dam Bypass in 2010, days after it opened. It was funny to see our "virtual" car floating over the void between roads on the screen!!

    1. I will be laughing at those last two sentences for the rest of the day. :)

  32. Girl, put that TOMTOM back in your van for emergency situations!!! We have had GPSr's that have taken us off the freeway only to get right back on at the stop sign, we have had them try to tell us to turn left, when the only thing left was a very deep huge ditch and a cow pasture. So if TOMTOM is the trusty friend, he would be traveling with me. Glad you did get to enjoy some of the detour even if it did take you an extra 2 hours to do so. With your busy schedule you sure don't need the extra stress of getting lost and in traffic jams like that.

  33. Bonnie, since you were a captive audience, I'm glad you were able to enjoy the architecture! As a DC native I've seen some lovely old houses, especially in Georgetown - in fact that's one of the reasons I decided to stay in the area after retirement. Glad you and Pat were able to hook up for lunch - Uncle Julio's rocks!

  34. I have the sister GPS in my phone! I do not like relying on it as it takes me to streets that don't even exist! SMILE!

  35. glad you made it safely, bonnie! we once wound up at the end of a dead end street in dc and the "locals" didn't look very happy to see us there. i NEED to update our gps ~ thanks for the reminder!

  36. As someone who lives in a state filled border-to-border with what your GPS would call 'unmarked roads,' I raise one very cynical eyebrow at the programmers who wrote that software.

    Gotta say that I miss hearing about 'Billy Billy.' That still cracks me up!

  37. I have the same problem with my Garmin, it has taken me to a dead end industrial area when the camp road I was going to was directly next to me with signs clearly marked. This summer I was coming home with some friends from a trip and it wanted me to get off the interstate and I have no idea where it wanted me to go, luckily I knew where I was at so I just stayed put. Sometimes I think the programmers do it on purpose so you pay to have your gps updated. I think I can get a new one cheaper than I can have it updated.


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