Sense of Direction

So as the automatic designated co-pilot of this trip, I have to ensure Kimmer is driving in the correct location every time. If you have been with me at a new location, in a mall or or any place I am not familar with, I can tell you I get lost very easily. I get turned around and confused even in a mall. This is a skill I have always lacked.

Here is one story from my childhood that brings this to light. One snowy day right before Christmas, when I was still in high school,  my older brother, Carl, and I drove to City Center Mall which is located in downtown Columbus to buy a gift at a specific train store that was open at the time. I had only been driving for a short time so downtown Columbus was pretty scary and intimidating. But, my brother had several trips sucessful trips driving to downtown.

Well, we drove to City Center very easily. We located the items for my other brother and were back in the car in no time. The normal drive should take roughly take 45 minutes in good weather and traffic conditions. As my brother and I start our trek home, we got incredibly confused very quickly. Do we take 270 East or West? In the snow conditions, we weren’t sure. So we guessed. We guessed wrong.

An an hour later we were no closer to home, in fact, in hindsight, I now know we were on the east side of Columbus when our small town in north west of the city. We were at hospital that were not familar. So as we were getting back on the dreaded 270 again, my brother asked me which direction should I go? I guessed again but not knowing where were I had no idea which diection was best.

On the second hour of this 45 minute drive home, we ended up at that exact same hospital. (This is a true story, I swear!) If you are not from Columbus, the 270 highway circles the city. We must have driven ALL the way around and missed the exit we needed to go home. So this time, we remembered the direction we went last time and went the other way. We finally got home that night but the drive took two hours and fifteen minutes longer on that snowy December night.

Now, I know what your thinking, that was before everyone had Garmins, TomToms, and other GPS devices. We do have a GPS device on my smartphone that we primarily use. However, if you have smart phone, you know that the battery life on a smart phone is weak – they don’t last the eight hours we are out exploring. So we always try to keep an atlas in the car also to look up other cities we may want to visit that are in the area and for situation when my phone actually dies (it hasn’t yet but I’m sure it will.)

We have been on the road for a week and I can say my map reading skills have improved (from no skill to mediocre skill). And, Kimmer has been patience with me (most of the time) and it helps that we normally aren’t on a specific time table. So, maybe by the end of this trip, I will be a master at reading maps and develop a sense of direction. Anything is possible, right?