Granted, maps are full of promise and romance. So many options! Secrets revealed! Knowledge! But how restful it is to have an authority on board.
Even though I second-guess the GPS, it's a relief to have those satellites and that digital power backing up my navigation.
A qualified relief, anyhow.
We logged something like four thousand miles over the past three months in the Winnebago. The first leg took us north to Canada, where we discovered that Alice, our GPS (named for the naughty song) was blind north of the border. Luckily we'd been to the Buffalo Canoe Club before, so getting there was painless
The second leg (Back into the States and up to the Would-Be Farm by way of the State Department for an up-to-date passport for Captain Winnebago. SIDEBAR NOTE: Did you know that a passport can be obtained while you wait? And it's not all that expensive. While we were sitting in the waiting room, a whole family approached the State Department service desk, and the mamma of the family spoke in a clear, carrying voice: "We are going to Ireland tomorrow morning. Do we need passports?" To his credit, the clerk didn't laugh out loud.) showed us that if we wanted an onboard authority on Canada, we'd be needing a better Alice.
I fired Mary up for the third leg of our trip (The Farm to Bar Harbor), trying to get used to the different set up (new neural pathways have never given me a bigger headache than when switching operating systems). But when Mary's target arrival time held steady at 10 hours during the first two hours of our trip –– I had to retrieve Alice.
Turns out that Mary might have been on clearance for a reason. She's not the sharpest knife in the drawer.
In a trip including two stops, she can only consider the first stop. She sows hysteria by insisting on an exit from the freeway (pronounced as if it were three words, the opposite of "The Expensive Way") only to direct the vehicle back up the opposite ramp. Nitwit.
Make a detour and Mary will want you to go back and start from the beginning of the trip. From the depths of a campground, she thought rather more often than not that our proposed destination might not be accessible by road. Poor idiot. Sometimes she needs to be powered down to re-think her actions.
She's a talker, our Mary. A babbler even. She mis-pronounces place-names consistently (we did throw her some challenges: "Kouchibouguac" has two preferred versions. If you give it the French ending, the Canadian to whom you are speaking will correct you to say it like a First Nation word. The reverse also holds true.).
But she also mangles standard phrases. We both heard her say, "Continue on the curved road," half a dozen times before we decided that she might be telling us to continue on the current road. Or not –– it is usually a curved one. It's not a flat earth after all.
Still, for Leg 4 (Bar Harbor –– Bay of Fundy –– Cape Breton Highlands ––Digby –– Portland, ME), Mary did her job the best she could. Bless her little iimited on-clearance brain.