Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I don't like to get lost while I'm driving. I get flustered and then have a hard time getting my bearings. And I'm a lousy navigator because I get distracted by the sights along the way. The last time I was navigating my friends toward a conference, we were driving from Chicago to Urbana, Illinois, and we ended up in Gary, Indiana, a town for which, I assure you, we were WAY overdressed. (And I believe Gary once held the distinction of being the murder capital of the U.S.)

This weekend takes me to Oakland, California, another city where I really don't want to get lost, especially at night, when I'll be doing quite a bit of my driving by myself. So I have spent half an hour on Mapquest producing every conceivable combination of map and driving directions I might need in any contingency:

Home to conference site
Home to hotel site
Conference site to museum
Hotel to museum
Museum to hotel
Conference site to hotel (I didn't manage to get a room at the conference hotel)
Hotel to conference site
Conference site to home
Hotel to home

Neurotic enough for you? I have a feeling I'll regret not mapping the route to a few restaurants.

Am I the only one who obsessively produces driving directions? Please tell me I'm not.


Anonymous said...

You're not. Though I often find MapQuest unreliable, so I just keep a Thomas Guide in my car. Even though I'm not very good with maps (being neither visual nor spatial), if I follow it closely enough and retrace my steps enough times, I nearly always figure out what I need to do. It's a life-saver for the directionally challenged.

ScienceWoman said...

I missed the exit for the Oakland airport once at 3:30 am and didn't realize it until I hit downtown Oakland and then I had to find someplace to stop and get gas for the rental car. The whole ordeal was completely terrifying. I hope you can avoid it. Driving in the bay area is scary enough without the lost-at-night-in-a-sketchy-neighborhood business.

Heather Clisby said...

FYI: Gary, Indiana is also the birthplace of Michael Jackson.

Also, here's a tip that works nationally: Stay off Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

Yankee, Transferred said...

Big fan of mapquest here. As a matter of fact, I always do mapquest and google maps and compare.

betty said...

I do the same thing. Totally not neurotic.

Anonymous said...

"Also, here's a tip that works nationally: Stay off Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd"

Got my eyebrow raised at that one trillwing. I don't know--

but yeah, i'm a mapquest/yahoo maps junkie which makes all my friends and families mad (why can't you just listen when we tell you to go through three stoplights and take the first left?). i need street names and coordinates and such.

Leslie M-B said...

Elle, I agree. The MLK Jr Blvd comment raised my hackles a bit, too. Though I will say my high school--which was also Snoop Dogg's high school! woohoo!--is on a particularly rough MLK Jr Blvd and the commenter is from the same city.

When I was first learning to drive, I inherited my grandmother's car. It had a compass mounted on the dashboard. People made fun of me for it, but when I'm in a strange town and the Mapquest directions tell me to "head northwest" and it's night and I have no idea which direction that is, I miss my little compass.