A few weeks ago I had the unenviable job of making my way through Vancouver traffic. A task that is not for the faint hearted.
My husband Dave needed surgery that could only be done at UBC hospital so we took the trip down to Vancouver. We settled ourselves into a motel, he had the pre-op on the Monday and, on Tuesday he was to be at UBC for 6.30 am. I took the wheel for the fifteen minute drive while Dave navigated the route. Driving through the city at that hour in the morning was a breeze. Sun shining, birds singing and all quiet on the roads, perfect!
The return journey was a different matter.
Living in the Coquitlam area for sixteen years had given me the confidence to handle any road situation but, the past twenty eight years of Oliver driving has spoiled me for city traffic and I am now the little old lady who is scared to push into traffic at halt signs, not the right attitude for Vancouver driving.
Dave had google mapped the route as he knows I have absolutely no sense of direction, so I pulled over several times on the drive home, to make sure I knew where I was going. The return journey took thirty five minutes in the heavy morning traffic. Thanks to the map I didn’t go astray but changing lanes was a challenge and I held my breath every time I had to do it. I received several rude gestures enroute. Arriving back at the motel I was a sweaty mess and headed straight for the shower.
I knew I needed to do this journey several times during the next few days and I was not looking forward to it. Enter an angel in disguise! My eldest daughter is currently awaiting hip replacement surgery and cannot do her nursing job so I was delighted when she rang and asked if it was OK if she came and spent a couple of night in the motel with me, so she could visit her dad. I pretended that I didn’t know she was actually coming to look after me and gladly accepted her offer.
The next time we went to visit Dave we followed her GPS. What a difference! The instrument informed her, well in advance, of turns and road changes so she had lots of time to change lanes. Many times we took a turn that I would have thought was in the wrong direction but it was the shortest route to our destination. The traffic was the same volume but knowing where you are going, in plenty of time to get in the right lane, was marvellous.
Why did we not have one of these marvellous machines in our car?
Several years ago a friend of mine got one and told me how marvellous they were for the nervous driver and I asked Dave to get one. He brought home an item that cost the earth, it gave longtitude and latitude, also elevation, all of which are great if you are going mountaineering or heading across the plains of Africa. Driving through busy traffic they are useless.
After a little heated discussion on the cost of this, apparently, useless article Dave explained how we could enjoy geo-caching with it. I must admit that I really enjoyed this pastime but for direction finding, it was useless. The device goes with us on all trips, he takes direction findings on cruise ships every morning and checks it with the captain’s daily ten am announcements. He took it on Safari in West Africa and, when we were on the Equator, he told the tour guide he was actually a degree out from the actual centre of the globe. All really useful accomplishments you must agree. But for road trips, nada!
Since then I had forgotten about buying one as I rarely go to strange places without Dave at the wheel. Dave is one of those men who can smell the air and then go directly to the destination, no maps needed. I on the other hand can get lost in the back streets of Oliver and have several times got lost, while driving to catering events in Osoyoos.
I do not care about the type of car we drive as long as it is functional and has air conditioning, so I have never urged Dave to buy a car with built in GPS. Dave also wants a functional vehicle and as low cost as possible, so needless to say never wants options he can do without. However, I am now determined to buy one of these devices so I can get to my destination without taking the scenic route that is my usual way of doing things. Happy, confident driving is in my future and maybe I will not get as many strange hand signals from other drivers, none of which can be found in the driving manual.