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  • Writer's pictureDonna Piergies

Maps & The Evolution of Road Trips


Remember the days when getting from point A to point B meant you had to wrestle with those paper maps? It was like embarking on a treasure hunt every time you planned a road trip. You'd spread out this huge piece of paper that never folded back the way it should, trying to decipher tiny roads and landmarks.


Then MapQuest came along and it was a game-changer! You'd log onto your computer, type in your starting point and destination, and out would come these step-by-step instructions that you'd print and bring along. Of course, if you missed a turn or the landscape changed, you were stuck. But hey, at least you weren't navigating solely by landmarks and intuition anymore.


These days, most people are carrying around smartphones and their built-in GPS coupled with Apple Maps or Google Maps makes road trips a breeze...except when it doesn't. Let me explain.


I recently got back from a quick trip to California with my kids, Ethan and Wesley. I’ve taken my boys to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm. Roller coasters are their favorite kind of ride. I promised them when Wesley, my youngest, cleared 54” I would take them to Six Flags Magic Mountain. So, we drove out Monday and I did pretty much zero planning for directions. I punched in the hotel’s address and took off. Toward the end of our drive, we ended up on this bumpy, hilly road with only one lane in each direction. I was frustrated and annoyed.


On the way back home, I decided to choose a different route from the options listed by Apple Maps. This proved to be even worse than the original one. We started the drive by going through the mountains on a super windy road with one lane in each direction. The constant curving back and forth made Wesley nauseous. I threw a plastic bag at him and, unfortunately, he did get sick. We pulled off on the side of the road to situate ourselves. According to Apple, we were only about 8 more miles to the end of our torture. After we were out of the mountains and back on the regular highway, Wesley was noticeably looking and feeling better. How a kid can love roller coasters but get carsick is so weird!


What it boils down to is you probably shouldn’t just blindly follow Apple Maps or Google Maps. Pull up the directions on your computer before you go to get an idea of the roads first. For me and my kids, we’re sticking to major highways, even if it’s a little bit longer of a drive.

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