How To Use A Road Map And Still Survive A Vacation-Part 3

Another problem with today’s road map is the laying out of the roads. Though the designer went to great lengths to perfectly follow coast and state lines, the lines designating the roads themselves leave a lot to the imagination. On one vacation I would rather forget, the family and I drove to Gold Beach, Oregon. We then were planning to drive to Idaho. But then I made a serious mistake. I decided to study the road map. To my surprise I found an innocent looking road cutting a lazy path kitty-corner across Oregon straight to Idaho. I was giddy with delight. I surmised I could cut hours off our trip. A day and a half later, three tanks of gas, five hundred and forty-three threats of bodily harm coming from my so-called loving family, and enough high blood pressure to give the population of a small town pulmonary failure, we crossed the Idaho border. I have no doubt that if stretched straight, that road would have taken us all the way to New York, possibly somewhere out into the Atlantic Ocean. Pay little attention to how a road is laid out on a map. Other than the direction it travels, the straightness or easy curves of the lines mean absolutely nothing. In the case of the road mentioned, the map makers would have did well to hire the drawing of the lines to a the hands of a man with a severe nervous disorder.

Another rule is to pay little attention to the thickness of a line as to the quality of the road. I’ve seen excellent roads degenerate to something that would bring beads of sweat to a mountain goat. And according to the line on the map, the road was the same straight through. As is often the case, this type of road is encountered when attempting to find a short cut across a state, such as Oregon. It usually begins with the driver announcing, “Hey, I think I’ve found a short cut.” And ends with the passengers looking for a sturdy limb to throw a rope and noose over. On one such hunting trip one of my passengers began the outing as a confirmed atheist, and ended it totally converted and could pray with all the eloquence of an ordained minister.

Occasionally one might find a road on a map that suddenly changes from solid to a dotted line. The map makers would like you to think the dotted lined segment of the route is graveled. Don’t believe it! The dotted line shows the point where a hapless motorist was last seen and never heard from again.

Another problem that can occur is foreign materials finding their way onto a map and being mistaken for a road. A smeared remnant of jelly almost turned our vacation to North Dakota into a trip to the Yukon. Luckily we caught the mistake while waiting for a herd of Caribou to cross the road. A friendly Eskimo  hunter pointed us in the right direction. Unfortunately, he left a stain on the map from a fresh kill, and we followed it to Quebec. For this reason it is a good policy to purchase maps by the gross. They then can occasionally be discarded, taking away any threat of dried stains, not to mention having an originally folded map once in a while.

To Be Continued-Part 4

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