Should You Follow a GPS—Exactly?

I get it. technology is helpful. But you know, sometimes you need to use your own instincts in situations. Let me share a personal experience with trusting technology. The story goes like this:

We were traveling by car this time, visiting my sister in Tennessee. She lives in beautiful countryside. I was ooo-ing and ahh-ing, pointing out the farms that dotted the landscape. Cows filled the fields. Life seemed simple. Unspoiled. Idyllic. Flowers were blooming. Trees had leaves. I was in Heaven.

After a wonderful visit with my sister, my husband programmed our GPS to head north toward our daughter’s house in western Maryland. This was an unfamiliar route. We fully trusted our GPS and followed it precisely. We always had before.

So from my sister’s house out in the countryside, the GPS told us to make a right onto Chicken Road. Really! 

Okay, we said. After all, we were in that idyllic farmland, remember?

We continued down this little gravel road, still believing in our GPS, even though our little blue Yaris was chased by a border collie and another medium-sized, black dog.

The dogs ran around the tires of our little blue car, barking loudly.

I was terrified we’d run over a dog and then have a farmer running around our car screaming wildly that we killed his dog. I finally grabbed the steering wheel to tell my husband to stop the car until we could see both dogs.

My husband proceeded forward, inch by inch, the dogs still racing around the tires—just out of sight—barking ferociously.

But right about then, we truly needed to stop. 

The GPS said go straight ahead.

I said we’d float downstream if we did!

Luckily, we always bring physical maps on our driving trips. We think this is a good idea, whenever possible, no matter what technology you use. My husband examined the map to see how to get across the swift stream. It’s deeper than you think.

We couldn’t see any break in the stream or bridges to the other side, so we turned around. Guess who was waiting for us at the top of the hill?

Yep! Yip and Yap the barking wonders who narrowly, by the skin of our tires, missed being struck by our car coming down the hill tried again to get flattened by the car going back to the main road.

Needless to say, we finally made it back to our own Eastern Standard Time zone and out of Tennessee and into Kentucky.

But the day was beautiful. Sun streaming into the car. Fields full of moo cows and horses. Hawks and eagles soaring up into a clear blue sky. I acted like a proper three-year-old, nose pressed to the window, staring out at the beautiful day, unable to go outside and play.

My poor husband! Stopping for the potty wasn’t enough for me.

I made him stop at the Daniel Boone National Forest. Like a rambunctious toddler, I bounded out of the car for a walk in the woods. Oh the treasure we found in the forest.

 We walked along the crest trail, above Cave Run Lake, and found a dam with a road on top. After we returned to the car, we drove across the dam road [no, a real dam] and went down into the park where the water comes shooting out of an opening on the other side of the dam. A raging river ran along the base of these hills, with mysterious steps into the water on both sides.

The moral of this story is: Always bring physical maps with you when driving in unfamiliar territories. And make your own judgment as to whether to follow the GPS—exactly.

Oh and by the way, no dogs or animals were injured on this adventure. Just so you know! Until next time, go outside and enjoy the weather—and nature.

6 thoughts on “Should You Follow a GPS—Exactly?”

  1. Anytime you deal with technology remember. Be patient or become a patient.
    Sometimes the setting of the shortest route will get you into unwanted situations.

  2. Oh my gosh, Bill! You are so right! One time my husband tried the “shortest” route in an unfamiliar area and we ended up in the run-down part of town. Truly frightening.

    Thank you so much for visiting Camping with Five Kids. I really appreciate your comment. Have a beautiful week!

  3. Sometimes settings like fastest route or shortest route will get into difficult situations. So be aware of a feeling that you are not going in the right way. Trust your instincts.

  4. “Trust your instincts” is right, William. And yes, I try to avoid the “fastest” or “shortest” routes on the GPS. It always gets me into trouble.

    Another time my husband selected the shortest route, the GPS took us off the highway for about 20 yards and then back onto the same highway. My husband quipped, “That nearby road must be 2 inches shorter than the highway.” He was probably correct. Crazy thing this technology sometimes, isn’t it?

    Thanks so much for your note here at Camping with Five Kids. Have a wonderful day!

    • Thanks, Sherry. I always try to have an updated, physical map of the area I’m travelling in. A great “insurance policy.”

      Thank you so much for visiting Camping with Five Kids. I truly appreciate your comment. Have a beautiful weekend!


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