Did you ever find something you really liked, but put it aside with the intention of coming back to it later? And of course, either later never comes, or you can never find it again. That mainly happens to me in antiques shops.
Ahh, look at that! Nice, but let me look around a little before I decide. And one hour later…now where the hell was that thing!? Oh well…I’ve learned, and had to relearn many times, grab it when you see it or else it may be gone, or lost, when you come back.
But I didn’t ever think about the same thing happening with maps! In planning a trip I love to look at maps. Here’s a clue as to my nerdiness – I study maps. Own several atlases. And I just randomly will pick a map and examine it for cities and rivers and whatever features it offers information about. That’s just me…
A map will give you a good idea of how to get from here to there. Which is especially important when you’re going somewhere you’ve never been. A road trip with no destination or route in mind can be a great deal of fun. Ah, the memories…but if you need to get somewhere its nice to have a little bit of a plan.
Occasionally I’ll see road maps in antiques stores. The folding kind that you used to get at the gas station. For free. But that was when gas stations were more than fuel pumps and a convenience store. They were really service stations. The guy would come out and pump the gas, and check under the hood. Oil and water levels. And they might even wash your windshield. All for twenty nine cents a gallon!!!!
I still have a bunch of folding maps in my car. Some are pretty worn out. I also have a GPS system and can look up directions on my smart phone.
But I learned that every mapping system has their own map. Yes, the basics are the same. The USA still has fifty states, but the routes they offer to the same destination are different.
I made this discovery when I was trying to figure out where all the antique shops were located along the route I was taking. I sat down at the computer and pulled up Google Maps. The route it outlined didn’t look the same as the one on the printed map I’d been given. All the roads were the same, but the route was different. I tried changing the settings, but still different. Turns out the printed map I had was MapQuest generated. Both showed the trip using the interstates, 85 and 95, but the route in the middle, the interesting one I wanted, was different.
I’ll take some time to study both options. They both go through small towns and certainly have antiques shops and nice scenery along the way. And I’ve never been either way before. My folding map will be with me, although it still shows I-85 in South Carolina as being under construction. Oh wait, its always under construction!
The important thing is that at least on this trip I know where my destination is. So I’ll figure out how to get there. In my life journey, I’m not quite as sure where I’m headed so it’s a little harder to plan the trip. So I go with the flow, controlling what I can. It’s a great ride and I’m makin’ the most of it every day!
That’s part of my story. What’s yours?