GPS takes us off the beaten path
by Rick Watson
Jan 27, 2013 | 1493 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rick Watson
Rick Watson
I’m not sure I’d be labeled an “early adopter” by folks on Wall Street or in Silicon Valley, but I’m comfortable with new technology and not afraid of wires and switches.

When the new iPhone 5 came out, I was one of the first people to have one here in Walker County and one of the features I’ve come to love is the GPS.

My time installing phones with MaBell honed my directional skills, and I can say without hesitation that I’ve never been lost. Jilda would beg to differ, but she always takes the short view. After all, I’m sitting home right now typing these words, and if I’d really been lost, well, I wouldn’t be here. I rest my case.

Anyhow, the stars lined up against us on my birthday so we couldn’t get out of town, but this past weekend we decided to head to the beach. We haven’t been in about two years and I was having sandy withdrawals.

Jilda and I have been to Gulf Shores and Mobile more times that I care to recall. Either of us could drive to Gulf Shores blindfolded and snockered. I do want to clarify with my insurance agent, who reads my column, that neither of us make a habit of driving blindfolded or snockered. But I digress.

We packed our bags and headed out for a little sunny bliss by the Gulf. Just for grins, I tapped the address into the GPS on my phone and she dutifully found several routes.

About 40 miles south of Montgomery, the sexy voice of a woman spoke to me — Turn here.

Hmmmm, I thought. This is a little early, but maybe she wants to take me a new and interesting route. Jilda was fiddling with the CD player and didn’t object to trying a new route to the beach.

Almost as soon as we turned off, we got behind an eighteen wheeler driving as slow as a hearse.

Normally, that’s not an issue, but we were on a two-lane road that had more curves than a go-cart track. So I followed behind gritting my teeth and saying unkind things about his parents.

The road took us through Brewton, Castleberry, Flomaton, and eventually Pensacola.

Apparently this route had been mislabeled in my GPS. It should have said: This route is for intoxicated truck drivers hauling toxic waste or bales of marijuana who want to dodge roadblocks and weighing stations.

At any rate, it was not meant for a cranky couple with stiff joints and stomachs growling like they contained angry ocelots trying to gnaw their way to freedom.

We could have taken the route through Denver and arrived sooner. If Jilda could have pried the iPhone out of my hand, it would now reside at the bottom of Pensacola Bay.

When we finally rolled in, the sun had dipped below the ocean an hour earlier, and all that remained were clouds tinted with traces of maroon and magenta.

After checking into our room, we headed out for seafood.

When we returned, we went out on the seaside balcony to listen to the pounding surf and feel the salty breeze on our faces. Soon the drive down was a faded memory.

A few days in the sun and sand rejuvenated us. As we loaded the car for the return trip on Sunday, Jilda started to say something about the GPS, but I interrupted. “Say no more,” I said as I put the Volvo in drive and headed home the old familiar way.