Lake Wobegon

We had some interesting moments on a trip from Nashville to Missoula. Getting out of St. Cloud, Minnesota, where we spent one night, was especially challenging. We were using Google Maps and somehow it wasn’t helping as we headed towards North Dakota.

We left the Fairfield Inn on 2nd Street South in St. Cloud, took a left on Park Avenue, then a left onto West Division Street, all the while looking in vain for signs directing us to I-94W. We were startled when Miss Google said, “Turn right on Northland Drive,” which appeared to lead into a residential community. Even more odd, we passed the street just as she was telling us to turn onto it.

“Turn right on 1st Avenue then turn left on Lake Wobegon Trail” she said. By the time she finished that instruction, we had already missed 1st Avenue as well.

What was going on? We were used to her telling us to turn several blocks before we reached the particular intersection. Why wasn’t she giving us advance notice?

George wheeled around to head back to Northland Drive.

“Turn left on Northland Drive, then turn right on East Jasmine Lane,” Miss Google said. We did that, but discovered Jasmine was a dead end into Iris Lane, which took us right back to Northland. We were going in circles with the interstate highway nowhere in sight.

George kept trying to follow her, “turn right, turn left,” directions, which went on forever, it seemed, slamming on brakes and making sudden turns in his efforts to keep up since we weren’t forewarned about anything. And strangely, all of her directions seemed to end with a turn onto Lake Wobegon Trail. We finally found the trail (while wondering if we were in the middle of a Garrison Keillor story), but couldn’t turn onto it. It was a walking trail.

We’ve never been so frustrated and didn’t know whether to throw the cell phone out the window or just cuss at the voice coming from it.

Long about that time, George remembered he had set his Google Maps app to Walk when we walked to a restaurant from our hotel. Could that make a difference in the type directions we were getting? Of course it could! Duh.

We changed Miss Google back to Drive and in no time at all, found the interstate highway.

Our recommendation: Do not set your Google guidance system to Walk. Ever. Unless, of course, your memory functions far better than ours.

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