Friday, July 09, 2010

The Path Not Taken

“You’ve got to be kidding!” My husband exclaimed. The entire population of our heaving mini-van—which included my son, daughter, Bonus son, niece, husband and myself—simultaneously contorted our necks in an attempt to follow the upward grade of the rocky ribbon of rough terrain before us.

Pulling out of my sister’s driveway enroute to last week’s camping in cow fields, my husband turned to our trusty GPS for a streamlined travel itinerary. Clearly, he was in the market for an adventure; past trips powered by the GPS have seen us dumped at the doorsteps of homes billed as Dunkin Donuts and abandoned in a series of vacant lots, most notably last year enroute to the same pastoral location when a quest to replace a forgotten tent led us to the stoop of a substandard store in a hick burg and left my son and bonus son with nothing more than a crudely constructed lean-to in which to repose. Typically a sucker for adventure, I was having difficulty throwing caution to the wind in the case at hand, considering this time it was my own accommodations on at stake, as my husband accidently grabbed the wrong air mattress—the perpetually flat one—and I’m in the process of making a clean break from my chiropractor.

Less than a minute removed from my sister’s property, the Tom Tom GPS suggested an unexpected turn off the straight and narrow, and about three minutes after that we found ourselves at the foot of a rugged path flecked with signs contraindicating smooth passage.

“Have you ever seen this place?” I called to my niece in the backseat. She never had.

My husband—who I may have mentioned, was gunning for adventure—actually turned the wheel of our laden vehicle in the direction of the glorified footpath.

The engine whined and the wheels tossed gravel like so many fireworks. The vehicle wobbled precariously. My husband retreated in disappointment.

Undaunted, the GPS recalibrated in response to my husband’s request to “avoid roadblocks” and sent us on a wilderness tour along a creek that was quite possibly named after a Mexican entree. We drove on without incident for several minutes until we happened upon an obstruction that appeared for all the world to be a roadblock.

“Have you ever seen this before?” I again queried my niece, who, I will remind readers, was still mere miles from home. She had not.

My husband—either in blind confidence in Tom Tom or as a slave to adventure—didn’t miss a beat. He skimmed right under the bar—which turned out to be a sort of regulatory yardstick for determining if your car will fit beneath the roof of the covered bridge, which we did—barely. I'm less certain of the function of the stern looking man sandwiched between the horizontal bar and the 6'3 sign.

Coming out on the other side of the bridge, we pressed forward. Eventually we came to a “T” in the road. My niece’s voice pops up from the backseat. “I recognize that house!” she said. “We’d have passed it twenty minutes ago if we hadn’t made that turn off the main road.”

"But where," my husband countered, "would we be if we'd been able to get up that path?"

I'm betting on the back stoop of a poorly stocked store just around the corner from a vacant, coffee-less lot.


5thsister said...

LOL! Our Garmin keeps wanting us to take this 2 lane highway to the Blue Ridge Parkway rather than the much more efficient Interstate system. Glad you were able to have your adventure unscathed!

Gropius said...

Ah! I love the mini van photo. Nice to have an entire group of adventurers! For me, those trips usually end with me laughing and Husband and D-Man sighing with disgust. Ha! It's funny you refer him to your "bonus son." My dear friend Ingrid who passed last April called her close family friends "the bonus family." I've never heard anyone else say that before.

blueviolet said...

He sure is willing to take risks!

Tracie said...

What an adventure! I probably would have turned around when I saw the bridge. {It didn't look like there was room for that though.}

We have a Tom Tom, too. It always gives us funky routes and just plain old poor directions.

Catherine Wannabe said...

HAHA! I know exactly where it took you! That's rich. Make a note to self, Sister - asking my daughter if she recognizes the surroundings is not a reliable means of orienteering. Her internal compass appears to have been forgotten during her formation. Heaven help us when she begins to drive! Look at the "after the crossing" pic. Everyone else looks unsteady and haggard, while she looks to be on cloud nine. Perhaps she moonlights as a GPS calibrator??? Good stuff!

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