All Maps Aren’t Created Equal

Bob and I are both map people. I don’t want a Garmin, I want a map. Eons ago when we were dating we’d spread National Geographic maps on my parents living room floor and travel the world.

Driving around Tucson we had a handful of different maps – AAA city map, State of Arizona, Benchmark map of Southeast Arizona, and an assortment of local tourist maps with advertisements. I don’t remember which map we were following the morning we wanted to get from Pima Air & Space Museum to Colossal Cave Mountain Park. Whichever one it was showed an almost direct route that would deposit us just north of the park entrance. We headed east, the road went from a busy four lane to two with less traffic, soon it was gravel. Before long it was a narrow rutted dirt road climbing a hill. We were deposited into a sub-division. Following streets to the southeast – the direction the park would be in – didn’t work.

It didn’t take long to realize we’d been at this corner before, we were driving in circles. Reading street signs we became aware all the streets were slightly different versions of the same name. Consulting the more detailed maps didn’t work, we were out of their coverage. Homes were spread out with some acreage between each one with not a lot of activity at 9:30 on a weekday morning. I’m driving with a determination to find my way out of the maze to the Old Spanish Trail. Bob’s saying, “Stop, and ask directions.”

We try following a UPS truck thinking he might lead us out – we were confident he wasn’t going to exit on the road we came up. He was making a number of deliveries. I’m still  not wanting to ask directions. We spot a black SUV that seems to know where he’s going and decide to trail him. Through turns and twists I almost can’t keep him in sight. Fortunately we did stay behind him and end up at the Old Spanish Trail intersection not far from the park.

Bob absolutely declined returning by the same route. That map was relegated to the backseat the rest of the trip.

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