My GPS hijacked my weekend trip. We had to leave on Thursday evening to go to Eureka Springs for a Friday Night wedding. We had MapQuest hard copy maps, we had the address plugged into the GPS, and fortunately, I have Google Maps on my telephone.
We always prefer the freeway, as timing is an issue. The entire trip was almost 10 hours, so we decided to break the trip into two parts. We arrived at the halfway point on Thursday at 11:00 p.m. Now, we should have traveled interstate highways the entire trip. The trip should have taken about 4.5 hours. Also, the preferred trip should have taken us straight up through the great state of Texas and over into the corner of Arkansas right before we reached our hotel.
However, we did not (for who knows why reason) arrive by that route. Somehow, the GPS told us that we needed to take a side route at Carthage. We started seeing signs for Shreveport, and we started seeing the Highway signs with the Louisiana logo on them. I thought that was strange, as we were not supposed to go through Louisiana…
At any rate, we did arrive at our reserved hotel accommodation, all in one piece. After a brief sleep, we arose the next morning to head to Branson, MO, where we have a timeshare. We dutifully plugged in the correct address into the trusty GPS. Now, it is important that I say, the truck we were using for transportation is a 2014 model. It has all mod-cons, and we have no reason to suspect anything amiss in the GPS. Again, time is of the essence, as my goal is to get to the timeshare, have some much needed R&R at the pool, before donning our formal wear for the wedding that evening.
After a quick breakfast, we head out. We are supposed to be traveling known highways, but for some reason, our GPS takes us onto a state highway. We believe that this state highway will be a short connection between the interstate highways. We are in good spirits, and we are enjoying the sights and sounds of a different state as we make our way north to Missouri. Time marches on, and The Hubz and I keep checking the posted time until we reach our destination, and it does not seem that we have made much headway. We should be about an hour out of Missouri at 11:30, but our GPS says that we are closer to three hours away. We don’t know where we are. We don’t have an old-fashioned paper map. We trust our technology…. Fortunately, I do have an essential oil blend in the console. Aptly named ‘Road Rage’ I begin applying drops to the air conditioning vents.
In a bit, we come to a sign on State Hwy 23, which states that there is road works going on, and we need to find an alternate route. I am sure that this is helpful, but as we are strangers in a strange land, we do not know which of our alternates in the one to take. In fact, a this time we are deep in the heart of Arkansas, and the trees are thick and the foliage is heavy, blocking out most of the sunlight. We see very few homes or businesses, but we do see quite a few trucks sporting the Rebel Flag. We also see some gun shops, some bike shops. The Hubz laughingly calls this road a ‘pig trail’ as it is windy and narrow. Sure enough, we come to a business named “Pig Trail Liquors.” About twenty minutes up the road, we do in fact see a road sign: Pig Trail….
There are few vehicles on this road, and one could almost hear the dueling banjos on the steep and narrow incline of the road. We do eventually come to a place where the road is barricaded. There are no workmen, there is no alternate route, there are no detour directions. We are essentially stuck. (so glad that I had packed the Road Rage) We are now two hours past our estimated arrival time. We are without a guide, and there are no alternate streets showing on the GPS. Fortunately for me, I have Google Maps on my phone. I put in the coordinates, and find that on my hand-held device, there is an abrupt stop in the road, with no continuation past the barricade. It is almost as if we are at a dead end. We do see a side street for about three miles to the left. The road is not paved, and it is very rutted. Driving a Dooley, The Hubz makes a decision to avoid this option and to return the way we came.
We start to retrace our steps, and we come upon two additional vehicles who are in very much the same position we are in. They are not native to the area, and they know not which way to go. Misery loves company. As we retrace our way, I work both GPS systems to try and find an alternate route. Unfortunately, all roads point back to State Hwy 23, which we now know is not a viable option. As our devices continue to route us in a circular motion, I call my daughter who is already at the wedding venue and tell her that we will not be going to our timeshare as planned, but will come and use her room as a stop-gap measure and dress for the wedding there. The unspoken ‘comment box’ over my head reads: If we can ever get there…
I am happy to report that while we did have to retrace our drive almost 45 minutes so that we could come to an interstate highway, we were able to call my office and have a real map emailed to us. We were able to look at the bigger picture and find a way to our destination. Thank God for competent assistants! At the end of the day, we arrived at the wedding venue with time to spare. We enjoyed the wedding and then headed the hour north to our final destination. We were very apprehensive in dealing with the GPS who had not been a friend to us in this journey. To complicate the matter, it was now dark, the sky being punctuated by lightening heralding an impending thunderstorm. Now remember, we are exhausted, nowhere close to anything we know in the form of a landmark, and it is dark and beginning to rain.
Slightly less than one hour later, we do arrive at our destination, only to find that our destination is not really our destination. You see, we have a time-share, and though we told the resort’s corporate office that we would be arriving late, they still directed us to a property that was unmanned after 6:00 p.m. As you can imagine, we are in no mood to be trifled with. We call the phone number on our confirmation letter, and were directed to leave a message. We called the resort’s 800 number, and received like instructions. We were finally able to find the office in the resort, and there, on a paper was yet another number to call. Call we did, and to our amazement, we heard a human voice. This voice was very friendly and instructed us to leave this property and to arrive at a different property less than fifteen minutes away.
Not trusting our GPS on the truck, I plugged in the address on my phone. We were directed to the office without a U-turn, road works or detour sign.
I would like to tell you that the journey home was uneventful. However, the GPS in the truck had a mind of its own. It showed all roads to be the preferred route. The mechanized female voice was not happy when we did not follow her directions. Because we are smarter than technology, before we left the resort, we went to the business center of the resort and printed a hard copy of the directions home.