And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Saturday, March 01, 2008

My Day Off (or) Why To Never Trust Mapquest

Well, I left work yesterday morning feeling a little rushed. I had planned with my friend (I will call her Sunny) to leave for the Home and Garden show at 10 am, and I usually get home from work around 8:30. I wanted to take a shower and change clothes, give Little Sprout a bath, set up lunch for MIL and Little Sprout, and get some cleaning done before leaving. I wasn't sure I would be able to get it all done.

I didn't, but that is unimportant.

MIL arrived right on time, ready to watch Little Sprout for my fabulous day out. 15 minutes went by, and no Sunny. I tried to answer. 30 minutes went by, no Sunny. Finally, after 45 minutes, Sunny showed up at my door ready to go. Well, not really. She actually showed up in the hall talking to my building manager and catching up on the news from the apt (she used to live here).

I chased her out the door, and we took off for our day with no kids and no hubbys. We were like little kids playing hooky from school, giggling and chatting and taking deep breaths of air uncontaminated by the squeals and demands of small children. It was fabulous.

She had the tickets, I had the directions, and we stopped for gas and the kind of disgusting food only found at gas stations. Life was good.

Soon we entered the dreaded "Cities", where people drive much more aggressively than in our little burb and the roads are large and numerous. Sunny was to be my navigator, and to be fair she did a fairly good job. The problem came in when the sun and a dirty windshield conspired against us to make road signs too difficult to see until it was too late to change lanes and get off where we were supposed to. And the fact that the directions we had gotten off of Mapquest were DEAD WRONG.

Before we knew what had happened, we were driving down Lake Street (not known as a good place for good little girls from the 'burbs to be hanging out), and completely lost.

Sunny whipped out her cell and began calling family members looking for help. I found a place to park, and just waited for someone to tell me what to do. We were both laughing so hard we could hardly stand it.

Soon enough we were given directions, and we were back on the road. The only problem was, our new directions told us to take Nicollet for several blocks and Nicollet (where we had to go) is not open to cars. So we ended up on some other road, just driving in the "general direction" while Sunny called for help yet again.

For those of you not from MN, Minneapolis roads are dumb. They are all one way roads, so if you don't know exactly where you are going, often you end up at the intersection just to the west of where you want to be, but the road is a one way GOING WEST (or vice versa), so you end up circling several blocks to get there. It is very frustrating.

At one point we were at a "T" in the road, and Sunny looked up and said "Hey, I've been there before" in regards to a building one block away. Remember that for later in the story.

Finally, FINALLY, we found our way to the Convention Center. Imagine my frustration when I realised we could have taken the highway that is LESS THAN A MILE FROM MY HOUSE directly there! Mapquest had us going all over Timbuktu, and all I needed to do was follow the road right outside my door? You gotta be kidding.

Anyway, we finally found parking (an adventure all in itself), and began walking the block or so to the Convention Center. Guess what? It was the building where Sunny so intelligently commented "Hey, I've been there before". Yeah, that became an instant joke.

I am proud that I managed to keep my sense of humor and have fun during the HOUR that we were lost in the Cities. I just now will remember that I never use Mapquest again.

The Home and Garden Show itself was fun. We talked to a lot of people, and saw a lot of things that were nifty neat. Of course, there were folks that were smarmy, and folks that were rude, but for the most part we had a grand time wandering around and collecting information.

The garden portion of the show was a slight disappointment, but it was fun to walk in the few gardens they had set up and smell the flowers.

When it was time to go, I was in for another nasty surprise. Evidently, when I pulled into the parking spot, I had brushed the car next to me, and there was a note from the police on my car. Now before you all go thinking that I am some irresponsible freak that crashes into cars without knowing it, let me tell you that I knew it was tight, and that I was WATCHING when I pulled in. The other car never moved, and I am totally unsure how we even made contact. From what I can see, the side of my van brushed along their back bumper, resulting in a transfer of dirt. I didn't even notice the dirt-free smudge on the side of my van until I went looking for it.

Needless to say, I gotta make some calls today.

Anyway, we headed on home. It was so much easier to get home once I knew that I could just stay on one road all the way.

We finally got home around 8 pm, and then I got the honor of driving out to Sunny's house to pick up her DD for a sleepover at our place for Big Sprout's birthday. The girls were so excited that they squealed and giggled the whole way home.

After a long day, I was able to settle into bed fully content that I had had a wonderful day, and that the weekend was going to be just fabulous.

Today I am off to Chuck E Cheese with 4 kids, and we will see how I feel about it after that! *smile, winky*


Wendy said...

I never liked mapquest. You're right. It seems like it uses every road from my house to wherever I'm going regardless of how non-linear the route becomes. I use Google, and then, I actually follow the road. I love Google! I've learned some great shortcuts by looking at their satellite picture of my area. It's great.

Lisa said...

I'm so sorry about your getting lost! Mapquest did that to me once in a strange city and told me to take a freeway exit that didn't exist! I was trying to get to a hotel I could see from the very scary freeway bridge, but couldn't get there! It took an hour of driving back and forth across the scary bridge, on a Friday, at evening rush hour to invent my own way to get there!

Arg!! Try not to punch the poor mouse today!!

ncmountainwoman said...

I hesitate to tell a computer addict about this, now has street-mapped several cities and Minneapolis is one of them. They rode around the city photographing 360 degrees and it is so cool. You can take a virtual drive anywhere you want to go.

Go to and click in the upper left on "maps." Type in the address of the convention center. When that comes up, click on "street view," and you will be right in front of it. There's a little yellow figure on the map in the background and you can move him/her to any of the blue lined streets. You can even ride down the freeway and look at exits.

Oh! It's such fun. You can see the landmarks around your destination, or what the building looks like. Give it a try.

barefoot gardener said...

Oh, no. Where were you ladies while I was planning this thing?

Like I said, we had fun even when we were lost. Still, it would have been nice to get there the easy way!

That google thing is really, really cool!

Catty Ax Lady said...

Okay, I'm laughing hysterically, just like you were, simply because I've been there before with Mapquest...I won't use it again.

I'm thrilled you had a good time at the show. We had ours this weekend too, but I was unable to attend (due to plans that never actually happened anyway, so I could've gone, but oh well).

whimsicalnbrainpan said...

I prefer Google maps myself.

I'm glad you still had fun. :-)

Kati said...

Yeah, I google maps, myself. Glad y'all had fun, dispite being misplaced for a bit.