pandemo (pandemo) wrote,

Confusion During Travel

Today, I managed to stack three appointments on the same day, padding my "best guess" time for every segment of the trip.

Good idea, right?

Foolproof, right?

Real life shouts back "WRONG!", followed by maniacal laughter.

I had one of my "confusion" days. I got to within two exits of where I needed to go, got engrossed in a news story on the radio, and caught just a quick glance at a road sign. I spotted I-35, and ASSUMED I'd overshot the exit and was at the one where I-80 and I-35 separated. I turned off, not immediately realizing I was going SOUTH on I-35, not west on I-80. The first exit I came to was marked "I-35 emergency route". Not wanting to go on a tour of the countryside without a map to route myself back, I went on. Clear down to Highway 92 before hitting another exit. My 15 minute cushion was now gone. I got turned around safely and headed back, only to again chose a wrong road. I found myself going east in a spot with another cloverleaf only 2 1/2 miles away. That put me back on the road I'd started out on, BEFORE the exits I messed up on. I'd turned off the radio and was watching like a hawk. I easily turned off two exits past the one I had only glimpsed, and found my way to the Apple store with no further adventures, but 30 minutes late for my appointment. The man accommodated me, but that also meant that I'd eaten up my travel time (30 minutes to go 6.9 miles, but since it probably would have been in heavy traffic, I'd allowed slop.) So I left for Merle Hay Road AT THE TIME I should have been arriving.

Would you believe, I mis-did the exits from I-80 to I-35 north and wound up on 235 heading into Des Moines? Could it go more wrong? YES, OF COURSE it could. When I'm having one of my backward days, anything is possible. The first exit I hit was marked EXIT ONLY. I needed a cloverleaf, so I drove by. Passing the spot, I saw a freeway entrance, which could have been accessed by traveling underneath the highway, maybe two or three blocks, at most, but by then, it was too late. The next exit also was marked in large letters EXIT ONLY. Again, unsure I'd find an entrance, I drove on. As I passed, I spotted that all important freeway entrance. The third exit was also labeled EXIT ONLY, but I took it anyway. It was 8th street, where the Apple store used to be. I knew the lay of the land, so I took it, drove a few blocks north at the stop light and came back onto the freeway, a mere 12 miles from where I'd needed to be.

The car dealership accommodated my lateness, and with the next appointment not scheduled until 1, I was able to do that one reasonably well. I'd told the people the trouble I was having, so the guy showed me step by step how to enter and use the on board nav feature. He entered the Audi garage in it, and left it set up for Valley West Mall, where the eye doctor appointment was. (I would usually have waited until I could catch my preferred doctor at Merle Hay, but I wanted all the appointments on the same day -- TO SAVE MILEAGE...)

Real life trip planner: I drove off route, to a KFC, ordered lunch, knowing I'd reheat it later in a gas station. Audra's onboard GPS was a bit more sophisticated than the one I'd bought for the Acura. If I chose a different route in a big city with a lot of street choices, at first, it will say things like, "Make a U turn, if possible" or "turn left, then left again" (sending me around the block so that I'd go the route they wanted... instead of recalculating using a different route. It got real insistent when I deviated to the Kentucky Fried Chicken for lunch at the drive-through in mid-route. Funny.

I got home without further silliness.

I've been going to that car dealership since 2001, and to the Apple store for years. I really miss the internal sense of north, south, east and west I had before nearly constant ear infections over a 9 month period robbed me of it. Most days, I can compensate well, but not always. I can think of three times when I just couldn't get straightened around. Only once was in a strange place.

I had bought a Garmin GPS in Wal-Mart before I got the Audi with the built in one. For the money, it was fine. I gave it to my sister for her VW, but someone stole it when they left their garage door open.
Tags: gps, mental fog, travel

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