Posts Tagged ‘GPS’

If you haven’t read part one, I’d suggest you do.

So we did our research, which meant going to the store, asking a few questions and making our purchase.  We decided on a Garmin.  A decision I will never regret.  I’ve been to Harrisburg a few times and I always get confused because as you reach the outskirts everything tends to bottle neck and if you are not on the correct side of the highway who knows where you will end up.  Garmi takes all the stress out of the ride, Garmi tells you what side of the road to be on.  Garmi is brilliant.  When I started training at work I had to travel to Philadelphia.  Garmi got me there and back without any glitches, without any of my usual find a new place stress. I’ve learned a few times, Always trust Garmi!  The first time I was in the warehouse van just pulling out of the Huntingdon office which is about an hour away.  The most direct route home entails pulling out of the office crossing a double yellow line and making a left hand turn.  Before making my illegal move I checked my side mirror, and there standing outside the door talking to a technician was our safety officer.  My choices were two-fold, make the illegal turn and know where I was going and suffer the consequences of the illegal turn when I got back to the office or take a chance and turn right and be pointing in a direction I had never been.  Really wanting to avoid conflict I decided to go on a little adventure.  I didn’t cross the double yellow.  Garmi who was set to Halloween mode started giving me directions in his haunted vampiric  voice. “In two hundred feet turn right” I made the turn like a good little follower and it took me up a little hill at which point Garmi said “In fifty feet turn left”…”Turn Left now” The problem was turning left meant turning into somebody’s driveway.  I continued to go straight, Garmi objected, seeing as I have Garmi set to no u-turns it resorted to “Let me consult my magic book” which in Halloween mode means re-calculating.  Much to my horror it repeated itself “Let me consult my magic book” I kept going straight and Garmi repeated himself again.  Was Garmi lost?  Eventually Garmi said, “Continue on route” I was getting a little nervous.  There was no sign of human life.  I was surrounded by woods and while I was not on a dirt road, the road was so narrow the branches were scrapping along each side of the van. My only consolation of being lost was at least I was lost in an absolutely beautiful spot on a magnificent fall day.   If you have never been to central Pa you should really make an effort to come down in the fall the scenery is simply majestic.

I always play a little game that may one day get me a speeding ticket.  When I leave to go somewhere I always check Garmi to see when I’m supposed to arrive at my destination, and then I try to beat that time.  When I started the journey Garmi said I would arrive at my destination at 2:45 now, even lost Garmi told me I was going to arrive at 2:41, score!  Although I was pretty sure that in a few years time somebody was going to find a rusted out Comcast van with my skeletal remains hunkered down in the driver’s seat with Garmi saying, “Let me consult my magic book”! I continued to drive.

Finally Garmi told me to make a left and suddenly I was back in civilization.  I was still lost, but now there were other cars on the road so I figured I must be headed somewhere, chances of us all being lost was pretty slim.  A mile or two later I absolutely knew where I was (Pine Grove Mills)  I actually knew somebody who lived in the area.  I had no idea geographically where Pine Grove Mills was in relation to State College and Huntingdon in fact knowing I was in Pine Grove Mills was no help whatsoever because I was still lost, but Garmi wasn’t and I had found my faith in Garmi.

When I got back to the office, (ahead of time I might add) I was telling the story to my co-worker.  He informed me that I should have made that first turn onto the ‘driveway’ because it just looked like a driveway.  The reality was that once you got to the house the ‘road’ was leading too there was a slight drop not visible from the beginning of the road and from there it made a sharp turn which would have put me on the correct side of the double yellow and it would have been an easy drive home.

 Always Trust Garmi!

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I have a lousy sense of direction.  When I interviewed for the job I am currently in I was informed that we cover not only State College but Lewistown, Huntingdon, Lockhaven, Lykens, Tyrone and we help out our sister warehouse, (who my supervisor also supervises) Williamsport. I was asked if I had issues if asked to travel to any of these destinations.  I was perfectly honest about it and told them that I had no issues about traveling to any of the locations.  Lykens, being the farthest out is only two hours away.  So really it’s no big deal. 

“Nope, no problem” I responded.  However I immediately started thinking about the time I showed up to work at the bank and they asked me to help out in the Avis office. I wasn’t sure what a bank teller was going to do at a car rental agency, but what the heck. Then I remembered that there is a place called Avis Pa.  I had been there once before and my wife was driving.  I was told just go towards the mall and keep left, it should take an hour.   If you look at Google, to get from the State College branch of the bank to the Avis branch you would see it is a basically a straight line.

Two hours later I found myself at the Jersey Shore!  I had no idea when I crossed into Jersey, I didn’t even know Jersey was so close!  What I did know is that something went desperatly wrong.  It turns out that just as there is no Port in Port Matilda the Jersey Shore is not actually in Jersey!  Oh I’m sure there is a shore in Jersey but it is not this Jersey Shore which is probably a good thing because as much as I didn’t want to be lost, I really didn’t want to be lost in Jersey, (new or old) I didn’t have a GPS, I didn’t even have a cell phone, I was in the wilds of Pennsylvania and lost, eventually I had to (gasp!) ask a man at a local business how to get to Avis.  The man was very nice and pretended to understand how I missed the exit.  After all, it is really hard to see that large glaring Avis exit sign.  I think he saw my eyes gloss over as he gave me directions which were basically, ‘drive down this street and make a right’ And this very nice man got in his truck, yes a beat up red truck and had me follow him to the bank. 

In Montreal I never got lost.  Not that my sense of geography or direction was any better, I just didn’t drive.  I got from point to point by walking, transit, or bike.  And if I did get lost all I had to do was find the giant cross on top of the mountain and head for cross.  Once at the top of the mountain I knew where home was.

In Vancouver I never had to travel.  Everything I needed was in a four block radius.  And if I wanted to go downtown I took the skytrain which only went in two directions.  Even I could navigate that. 

My wife and I were hesitant about a GPS. Our only experience with one was through my father.  My folks came to visit, my father had a Tom-Tom and loved it.  We wanted to go to a restaurant in Altoona called Don Pablo’s.  My father punched it into Tom, we explained it wasn’t necessary as the only reason we ever go to Altoona is to go to this particular restaurant and it is easy to get too, it is right off the exit.  But my father insisted.  I watched Tom-Tom as we drove and I too was soon in love with the machine.  But Tom got it wrong.  It had my father get off the highway an exit too early.  We told him no, but he was going to listen to his buddy Tom.  Fine, it was just going to take a little longer.  Then Tom told my father to turn Right.  This was totally the wrong directions.  Images of a cab ride of long ago came to mind.  We convinced my father to disobey Tom.  Lucky my wife has a great sense of direction because now I was as lost as Tom.  My father refused to admit Tom was wrong.  He informed us that there must be another Don Pablo’s.  Why yes, yes there is as Don Pablo’s is actually a chain.  The next closest one to us is in Virginia!  We got to the restaurant and my father still refused to admit defeat, (he is loyal that way) and told the waiter what happened and if there was another Don Pablo’s in the area.  Yes, yes there is if you consider Virginia part of the ‘area’. the waiter understanding my father’s predicament did offer a way out.  He mentioned that there is a Mexican community on the other side of town and perhaps Tom-Tom new a Don Pablo that lived over in that direction.

Of course my father only listened to Tom when it was convenient.  For example we knew how to get to Don Pablo’s but on that occasion my father decided Tom knew better.   However when we were looking for a restaurant in Lancaster Pa, a restaurant non of us had been too, in an area non of us had ever been before, a time when we were at the mercy of Tom-Tom to guide us through the back roads of the Amish country side was the time when my father decides to disregard Tom’s directions with all of Tom’s fancy global positioning.  Tom was telling my father:

“In 500 hundred feet turn left”

“In 200 hundred feet turn left”

     …no turn signal

“In 100 feet turn left”

     …no turn signal no turn.

“Turn Left now!”

     …No turn.

“Recalculating, make a u-turn in 50 feet”…Father continues to go straight. 

Eventually and with enough of us pestering him he makes the U-turn and Tom leads us safely to the restaurant.

I was offered, and accepted the job two days after the initial interview.  My date of hire was a few days before my birthday.  We also had made plans to drive down to California to visit my father-in-law.  All things considered it seemed a great time to purchase a GPS. 

Stay tuned for Part 2.

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