Here's a sentiment I fully agree with. The author doesn't want a GPS device for Christmas.
The problem, to me, is that navigation by G.P.S. changes the nature of car travel: it makes it seem all about numbers (distance to destination, time to destination) when I'm trying to preserve a sense that travel is also about something else.
Hear, hear. Since I got a drivers license my vacations most often have consisted of "land someplace, rent a car, and head off into the distance." I went to Vancouver for Expo 86, then drove to Seattle, exchanged rental cars, and drove all over the State of Washington for a week. In 1983 I spent a week driving from LA (where I'd been working) to King's Canyon and Yosemite. Several times I've driven up and down the Oregon Coast, starting from San Francisco. Most recently I landed in Phoenix and drove east, wandering all over New Mexico and southeastern Arizona.
On none of these trips did I have specific destinations in mind. I wanted to see the Oregon Coast, but I stopped when and where I wanted while driving US-101 up and down the shore. This has led to some memorable experiences. Once I was midway through a vacation and completely forgot it was the Columbus Day weekend. I was somewhere around Newport, OR (map) at about 4:30 pm on that Saturday, so I started looking for a motel. Ha. There were nothing but "no vacancy" signs all the way up the coast. I ended up driving north and then east to Longview, WA, finally finding a bed around 11:30 that night. Along that stretch US-101 (or Pacific Coast Highway) is two lanes of very twisty asphalt, not a road I really wanted to try at night. Nonetheless, there I was, a quivering mass of relieved jelly once I finally found a place to sleep.
If I'd had a GPS gadget, I'd probably not have had that experience. Instead, it would have told me to head east at Newport and drive to Corvallis some 35 miles inland. I actually started that way that afternoon, but then I got stubborn and said to myself that I'd surely find a vacancy somewhere. The gadgets may take some of the travel experience away, and I don't want that.Posted by Linkmeister at December 14, 2005 09:44 AM | TrackBack