Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.

Unexpected adventures with Nigel the GPS

I know everyone has their zany GPS misdirection stories. I don't really have any complaints about Nigel the GPS. He does a great job getting us where we need to go. But sometimes I feel like he really has a sense of adventure. He's not content to just get us there. He likes to take us on the scenic route, or a different way each separate trip to the same destination, or on roads that Google Maps doesn't even know exist.

It got to the point where, on our road trip to Middlebury last week, I actually asked Jeremy to check Nigel's settings. There's one screen that lets you set a preference for a few options, like avoid toll roads, avoid traffic, avoid U-turns, etc. I was beginning to think that there was an option called "take the road less traveled" that was turned on for Nigel.

But there wasn't, so I really don't have any explanation for why Nigel GPS'd us straight into a lake on our drive home from Middlebury. We were cruising along just outside of Vergennes when all of a sudden Nigel said to continue straight ahead, but straight ahead was Lake Champlain.

Lucky for Nigel, and for us, there was a ferry. How did he know there was a ferry? There were no signs for it. Google doesn't know about it. But it was there, and it was free, and we took it. Looking back it seems like some kind of alternate dimension that opened up just for us at that moment. I wonder if it really existed.

The whole rest of the drive until Syracuse, Nigel wound us through country road after mountain highway after small-town main street. At some point around Lake George, we hit the freeway and I was really excited to finally cover some ground. Until Nigel told me to take the exit in three miles for another podunk backroad. Oh well. Over the next three hours, we got a great look at half a dozen lakes dotted with empty summer camp compounds. It was really rather gorgeous.

After we got home, I looked on Google Maps to try to recreate the route Nigel directed us on and it's impossible. We drove through so many tiny mountain villages and turned left and right on their main streets, cutting even between winding two-lane roads that I can't figure out the logic he used.

Maybe Nigel is just adapting to his new East Coast habitat. It's been an adjustment for all of us. Out west, miles away = minutes to get there, pretty reliably. Here, you have to multiply by a factor of about three to calculate an accurate travel time.

Not that I mind. I forgive Nigel for his overly adventurous spirit because the creative routes he ends up taking us on allow me to experience to the fullest the beautiful scenery in this area. Guiding us toward the freeways on our way home from Vermont might have been more efficient, but without Nigel, we couldn't say we've taken a ferry across Lake Champlain from Vermont to New York, now could we?

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