My First Car with a GPS (repeat)

Early one mid-October morning in 2009, I hopped into my Lexus LS430 that I had recently purchased, aiming to break in my built-in navigation system on a trip eventually to lead me from my home in St. Petersburg, FL, to Nashville, TN, where I would visit my two sons and their families. This was to be an eight-day trip with four stops: my brother’s home in Perry, GA; my friends’ home in Franklin, NC; my elder son’s home in Franklin, TN; and my younger son’s home in Nashville, TN. The sun was shining as I headed north up I-275. I had planned this trip and had plenty of CD’s to keep me company during the drive, including one CD of an Annie Proulx short story. The trip to Perry was uneventful, and I was greeted when I arrived in Perry by my brother and sister-in-law who spent the afternoon and evening feeding me and catching me up on recent events. The next morning, my brother and I headed for a Cracker Barrel on the interstate, knowing I would be heading to Franklin, NC, after breakfast. The weather was marginal with some fog and a threat of rain. After my brother left, I began programming the GPS and had some trouble for some reason getting it to accept Franklin, but eventually it “took” and I saw my destination. I then headed, as directed, toward Atlanta and the by-pass. When I arrived at Commerce, GA, realizing I was going to arrive much later than I had thought, I called my friends in Franklin, warning them of the delay. By this time the rain had increased to the point that there were electronic road signs flashing warnings of flooding. As the afternoon progressed and the rains increased, I felt sure that the GPS would soon announce a turn that would be more northerly although I was traveling on I-85 North which was reassuring. When the GPS “lady” finally indicated that I would exit I-85, I shuddered when I read the exit sign: Franklinton. I had been lead astray. Where was I? Calling my friends in Franklin, NC, I learned that I was some 200 miles off course and needed to double back in order to reach my intended destination. Because I had eaten a hamburger the day before for lunch, I had snacked on a bag of chips and some sweet cookies. Although I was hungry, I didn’t feel like eating. I just wanted to get to my destination so I began driving again. I had just run out of the rain in Franklinton and now headed back into it. It was intense. The next wake-up call came when a light on my dash flashed a large red exclamation point saying “Tire Low.” One thing about these fancy cars is that they can tell you when you have low tire pressure, but I would have preferred that my Lexus had been programmed to tell me, “You’re not going where you think you are.” The car was driving smoothly so I decided to go as far as I could before retiring at some motel for the night. That motel was a Day’s Inn in Marian, NC, near Asheville. Rising the next morning, I purposed to have a better day. In order to assuage my concern about the tire, I decided I would call AAA and have my tires checked before proceeding. Soon Jimmy showed up, friendly and ready to help me get on my way. However, he could not find his tire pressure tool. When he suggested going back to his shop for a tool, I admitted I was hungry as I still had not eaten breakfast and that bag of chips and cookies were long gone. He then asked, “What do you want to eat?” When I suggested that a sausage biscuit would suffice, he said, “Follow me. I’ll take you to a McDonald’s, and you can eat while I go for the pressure gauge.” And that’s what we did. I ate my sausage biscuit and drank a cup of coffee until he returned. Checking the tires, he found all four to have exactly 30 pounds of pressure. Grrrr The rest of my trip was spent visiting the people I had aimed to visit, including my two grandchildren in Tennessee. My friends in Franklin, NC, suggested that had I not had the mis-direction, it would have been just a trip. As it was, it would always be remembered as an adventure. I’m sure it was somehow I who mis-programmed the GPS but, regarding the trip I can only say, “Franklinton, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”


About bobosbest

I am an 80-year-old retired English teacher whose writing goals are fulfilled by publishing these blogs. I have a wonderful married partner, Dimitris Tsitsiras, who is from Greece. Life is good and still an adventure.
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