Wednesday, October 31, 2007


GPS for right hand drive!

A new staff therapist who shares my office was telling us last week how much he hates being lost. He was trying to get me to see the value of purchasing a GPS system for my car, especially because I work in the community. He doesn't know me very well yet.

I love being lost!

Perhaps I need to qualify that. I wouldn't like to be lost at sea or in a wilderness or a snow storm, but behind the wheel of my car in good weather...that is a different story. Going for a drive gives me a chance to explore. The weekend I decided to visit Lake Erie, my husband agreed to come along with us. I was driving as we started down the back roads. The bridge on our route over Highway 401 had been removed and the new one was not yet open. We took a detour on unfamiliar roads but continued to move southward. We ended up on the Six Nations Reserve and then in Caledonia. My husband was getting quite tense.

"How did we end up here? I didn't know we were coming this way!" he said.

I didn't know either, but Caledonia was on the map so we weren't lost any more. En route we had unexpectedly discovered the Pauline Johnson homestead and that made me very happy.

As a home care therapist, I am given some interesting directions to rural addresses.

"Our lane way is three cedar trees past the red barn. You can't miss it!"

One patient told me he lived on Brubacher Lane in a little town to the north. I drove through the hamlet three times and couldn't find it. I asked someone and they just laughed. Brubacher Lane was what the family had named their driveway.

Would a GPS unit know that? Not a chance!

I don't want to focus my attention on a bossy little electronic gadget when I can use my observation skills, ask questions, and develop my own sense of direction. I have been lost on the south shore of Montreal, in Nova Scotia near the Bay of Fundy, and many times closer to home. There are many things I have discovered and enjoyed while trying to find my way to a destination.

Last October I attended a conference in Hamilton, Ontario. It was a beautiful afternoon when I headed for home and I took a road across the Niagara escarpment called Fallsview Road. It sounded interesting and I had no idea where it led. I discovered four lovely cascades over Hamilton Mountain including Websters Falls pictured above. I had lived in Hamilton for over three years and never knew these beautiful falls were hidden off the beaten track.

Car rallies were a popular group activity when I was a young adult. We would divide into teams and follow obscure clues, driving all over the countryside until we arrived at the destination for a party or picnic. Getting lost was part of the fun. And we didn't even have cell phones!

Truckers and emergency personnel benefit from GPS technology, but it is not for me. Give me a map that is hard to refold, a few clues and an open road for my next adventure. The journey is my pleasure, not just the destination.

How keen is your sense of unplanned adventure?


  1. You sound just like my husband. I love going on explores with him because he will take a road just because it calls to him. One sees some interesting places that way! We haven't been getting out on that many explores lately and I've been missing them.


  2. I did not know you where like me. The kids called them my "shortcuts". I we loved what we discovered, especially Kira. Here where there are few roads, but much off-road the challenge is then to go as straight as possible across all obstacles to see what you find. But the GPS is great when you are twisted back in the mountains or in the desert. So I vote for both.

  3. ^^^^ They were called "long-cuts"!

    I'm going to Thailand in a few months with my friend and we are arriving at 11:30 PM with no hotels booked, cars rented, or anything.

    How's that for unplanned adventure? ;-)

  4. Anonymous4:15 pm GMT-4

    I love being 'lost' too and do it a lot on purpose - but only in the rural areas. Of course, I live in northern NJ and even though it's rural where I live, you can't get THAT lost. I've also lived in Florida. There - if you head west or east long enough, you'll hit water. Here, if you head east long enough, you'll hit water. So, how lost are you, really? Whatever is in between is just an adventure! I have a few friends with GPS units that seem to get them more lost than I can.

  5. Oh, yes. Let's do get lost. (Just not in the heart of huge city)

  6. Ruth,

    I've been lost so many times on my way to regional swim meets with my daughter and friends - too numerous to count. It was always an adventure, and on the way, we learned so much.

    Being in a new State, I use Mapquest and still get lost, but, like you, I always notice some good things along the way.

    I admire your adventurous spirit!

  7. Really it depends on the neighborhood I'm lost in. Some of the places where I have to go for work make me nervous and I plan my route very carefully!

    Lost in the *country* though, that's another story!

  8. Hi Ruth,
    This was a fun post for me to read. I love driving down back roads I've never traveled before. You never know what you're going to see..... I've always been able to find my way back to the main road and my way home. I usually have a map for places I've never been before--just in case!

  9. That's a good perspective. I don't mind exploring on the fly but Cuppa has to be on the map.

  10. CS- I would love to explore your area. I am going to get west soon hopefully!

    SLD- I think our upbringing brought out some wanderlust in us. But you are the off-road specialist for sure. I am not so sure I would follow your wadis in the desert, at least not in my vehicle.

    Alex- The family genes are passed to the next generation. I like the term long-cuts. Thailand sounds like it will a great adventure. Keep me posted!

    LauraO- I think there are many people who do not know how to figure out if they are going NSE or W. Eventually you will come out to a place that gives you some bearings.

    Cathy- I have been lost in Toronto and Montreal but they are not a scary cities and there are lots of places to stop and ask for directions. Not all cities are as friendly I am sure.

    Mary- I often print out something from google maps to give me an idea of an area I may want to explore. Getting lost if you have a swim meet to arrive at by a certain time would be stressful.

    Laura- Yes I am sure you wouldn't want to hang out for long in some of the neighbourhoods where your clients live. Being on foot in some sections of our smallish city make me uncomfortable too. I do feel safer in a car.

    RuthieJ- I do have a variety of maps in my car and I always have a cell phone now too. Most back roads do come to a main road eventually.

    AC- People do tend to partner with opposites! My husband is destination directed,and by the shortest route please! He does tolerate my wandering more than he used to.

  11. Oh, I wish I could say I relish being lost, but I get a wee bit anxious and frustrated when I can't find my way. I, too, admire your very adventurous spirit Ruth!

  12. Anonymous6:56 am GMT-4

    I don't mind getting "lost". One thing I would like to have is a compass in my car. ONce I had my husband's car on a long journey. I was lost. But I knew if I kept going west I'd eventually run into something familiar. Had the sun been shining, I wouldn't have needed the compass... But that compass on his vehicle really helped! (To Sand Land Dad: they're not "shortcuts"... they're "beauty cuts"... hee hee..)

  13. I have no sense of direction - a all!

  14. I agree that it is wonderful when you discover new places by going the wrong way.-At least most of the time.

  15. Jayne- The world needs sensible people like you too!

    Jennifer- I have a little compass on my clip watch and it is very useful. When we became disoriented in the fog on the lake this summer, I used it to keep my husband on course for the shoreline we couldn't see. I need to get a better one though. "Beauty-cuts" I like that.

    Jean- You likely underestimate your abilities. You just need to find yourself once to believe you can do it!

    Larry- You are quite the adventurer yourself and have shared some of your finds with your readers.

  16. Getting lost sounds like just the ticket to fun.
    Love the photo of the little falls.

  17. Donna- I like the little falls in this area better than Niagara. They are peaceful, pretty and there are no crowds around them. The little creeks are going over the same land form as the Niagara River and few are as high.


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