Killing Time

While I was filling the van with gas, Sue was discovering a new feature of Garmin®.  It wasn’t that we needed directions.  I know how to get home from Toledo.  She was just killing time.

The new feature she found was being able to have 3 routes on the screen at the same time.  Very useful in certain situations.  Turns out, she thought it was applicable to our situation as we were not in any particular hurry to get home.  We had time to spare so why not take the “Scenic Route”.

“Sure, let’s do it.” I agreed, and we began by turning opposite of the expressway entrance.

I’m not exactly sure when it was that Sue mentioned this route will take 2 hours longer than the typical route we follow up US23.  Nevertheless, it became very obvious after I hit the brakes for the 4th red light in 8 blocks.  I didn’t keep count, but I believe the first 5.6 before-the-next-turn miles of the scenic, time consuming (AKA, time killing) travel we had one green light.

The turn command from Garmin was “Now, turn right” followed almost immediately by “Now, turn left.”  I was not ready for the second command, so that inspired “Recalculating” by Garmin.  As I instinctively entered the nearest driveway to turn around, I hear something like, “Continue one mile to Main Street.”  This being totally unfamiliar territory, I opted to go back to the turn I missed rather than take the recalculated alternate route.

Back on the predefined route, the voice alerted me to a right turn in 1000 feet.  I was ready for this one.  Almost immediately after the “Now, turn right” came the next command.  No, it was not several miles down the road.  It was in ONE BLOCK…Yes, BLOCK as in residential. The voice from my dashboard ordered a left turn.  Then, in couple blocks — now, turn right…then left, which was obvious necessary as going straight was a gravel driveway.

Let me just go on record here.  Zig-zagging through post war housing is not my idea of scenic, nor Sue’s vision of killing time.

The  “Now, turn right” out of the not so elegant neighborhood brought about a mile of straight 35 mile per hour travel to a dead end at Main Street.  Seriously?  Would that be the same Main Street I would have been on if I had not made the U-turn to go back for a historic tour of select residences of Holland, Ohio?

I was so befuddled over that Garmin maneuvering that I almost missed the voice telling me “Now, turn…”  Sue’s voice was very clear.  “You’re going to miss the turn, Ed.”  In nearly simultaneous moves, I checked my mirror — quickly braked from still accelerating after the last turn and accomplished a slick power slide onto Memorial Highway.

Whew.  We were quickly appraised that this leg of the journey was 6.2 miles.  The longest stretch yet.  Things were finally looking up as the next turn was predicted as US223.

Finally a U.S. highway. Not divided, but very smoothly paved, yellow center line and white shoulder markings.  Garmin interrupted my bliss.  “In two-tenths of a mile, turn right.”  What!?! US223 for only .2 miles?  Worse yet — immediately after the turn off of the highway onto a one and one-half lane asphalt road was a sign warning of “No Shoulder”.  If there ever was a white line marking the side of the road, it would have most certainly fell into the ditch at the sign alerting us that the road was narrowing.

Although Sue was hysterically laughing at this developing story, I was encouraged to hear Garmin announce we would turn again in two-tenths of a mile.

My encouragement was very short lived. Sue’s laughter escalated as we turned from asphalt onto a gravel road.  No, I did not miss any turns.  No, we are not on a detour.  And NO, I am not making this up.  Believe it or not, the screen detailed we would be on this gravel for…at that time…the second longest leg of our journey home.  THREE MILES of potholes, ruts and bouncing stones.  Oh, wait, there was this very new concrete bridge over a waterway.  Finally, something scenic.

Our minds were overwhelmed with the expectation of seeing something more scenic than farm land, orchards and pumpkins that no one wanted for Halloween.  I slowed as we approached the bridge.  I peered out my window as Sue did the same on her side of the car.  Of course I could not gaze very long, but saw nothing but brush.  Ah, but Sue found the reason for the bridge.  She announced the waterway was all of a foot wide.  No doubt the recent heavy rainfall made it visible at all.

Onward.  We passed a house with a couple folks in the yard.  I wondered if he was saying; “Look, Dear!  That van is following the scenic route.”    About half way to the next turn we came to a stop sign.  For what?  In the last 2 miles I had not seen a vehicle which wasn’t parked in a driveway or abandoned in a field.

Despite the fact that all that we passed in the first 2 hours of our scenic byway was hardly picturesque, it was none-the-less enjoyable.  We laughed uproariously as each of us mocked observances on this adventure of killing time.