Day Tripping

This week I had to go to a work conference in a hotel/casino about three hours from my house.

While this wouldn’t be an issue for most people, in case you didn’t get the memo, I am not most people. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I was directionally challenged. My mom is convinced I should seek professional help in this area (because yes, mom, THIS is the area I should seek professional help for.)


He never even offered to drive. Not once.

So in my mind, the odds of me getting into the car by myself and successfully navigating my way across the state without ending up in Canada or a ditch are about as likely as me flapping my wings and soaring into the hotel convention center like an angel from above.

However, duty called, so I had no choice.  Don’t worry though. I survived, and because I feel the need to overshare my accomplishment/prove to you that you are normal in comparison, I will let you into a bit of my day.

It actually started the night before when I had to rent a car and spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to turn the windshield wipers off and plug the GPS unit in. Once that was established, I immediately found out the brakes were extremely touchy and managed to squirt breath spray directly into my eye.

Minty mace.

Anyway, the next morning I loaded up the car, set the GPS—my first time ever using a GPS unit— and we hit the road. Here’s a quick rundown of my thoughts while on the trip:

  • While I appreciated the GPS lady’s attention to detail, I did not need directions on how to get out of my driveway. However, five minutes after having this thought, I was already lost and she was “recalculating” the route. We were two miles from my house.
  • Once the GPS lady—let’s call her Gail—assured me that we were “recalculated” and on the right highway, I settled in, meaning I obsessively checked the GPS every five seconds to make sure I was to stay on that highway for 75 miles.
  • About 10 minutes in, I remembered that any time I’m on a road trip, I see every sign for every restaurant off every exit and immediately want to eat every second I’m in the car. While I brought food of my own, it never matters. To me, road trips = constantly wanting to eat.
  • With Gail’s permission, I stopped at a rest stop to pee/eat my breakfast and saw a sign on the instant coffee machine that said, “NEVER drink this water. NEVER.” I did not drink the water.
  • Once back on the road, the rest of the drive was uneventful, save for the fact that I forgot people in Detroit drive like maniacal freaks and that 90 mph is the new 70.


I snuck away at lunch to let Uncle June see the casino. What I presumed to be a homeless man gave me an odd look. Not sure what that means.

  • While at the conference, the woman next to me was drinking OJ out of an espresso cup with her pinky in the air. I resisted the urge to ask her if she had any Grey Poupon.
  • I was told I had outstanding ideas and was given the “gold star” for the day. There was no actual gold star, which I found disappointing and a bit misleading. However, some time later when they brought the idea back up and drew attention to me again, I was stuffing my face with snacks and unable to answer, so there was that.
  • Needless to say, rock star status achieved.
  • The drive home was rather uneventful as well, as Gail, Uncle June and I had some great conversations about the meaning of life, sang along to Kid Rock/Eminem in the spirit of Detroit and composed a brilliantly funny blog post about our adventures.

Unfortunately, all was forgotten by the time I sat down at my computer, so you get this. If someone could invent a GPS for keeping my thoughts in order, I would totally award them a gold star for the day.

As it is, I’m just glad someone invented GPS in general, or else I might still be circling the parking ramp of the hotel/casino, half blinded by peppermint breath spray and singing “Bawitdaba”  at the top of my lungs in an effort to drown out Gail’s “recalculating” taunts.

OK. That might have happened anyway, but at least I made it home.

Gold star, indeed.

18 responses to “Day Tripping

  1. Who misses the good old days of trying to drive while reading a printout of Mapquest directions? Yeah, me neither.

  2. Totally forgot how epic bawitdaba is. Going to download tomorrow and listen to it once and then realize how obnoxious it is and remember why I forgot it.

    I loved my GPS in the city…until the 35W bridge collapse. I haven’t had an update since and “Lex” gets really confused up there. So now I GPS AND Mapquest.

    I would have asked for the mustard. It would have gone well on the egg whites I brought for lunch and obsessively thought about all day long. (No, truthfully, the entire week before, planning what to bring for lunch.)

    Love your travel blogs Abby!

  3. I totally get you on this. Even with a GPS, I have once managed to drive 45 minutes in the opposite direction while wondering why the “time of arrival” kept getting further and further away. My favorite part of using a GPS are the different accent options. If possible, set it to German next time and try not to have a good time.

  4. Yes, a GPS for thoughts! I’m totally in for that one. While I am ok with directions I usually opt to find the location on a map (on my phone!) and then find my own way there. Google and the link send me in funny ways and I don’t trust it. I’ve gotten lost way too many times on it!

    I was wondering where you slunk off to this week. When I see that I have 80 unread blogs in my reader yours is always one of the few I actually read! Somehow hearing about another recipie or workout just doesn’t thrill me that much anymore.

    • No slunking off! I usually only post 2-3 times a week, as I figure no one wants to hear from me any more than that (or at all.) 😉 And the only way my phone helps me get anywhere is if I call someone who actually knows what they’re doing and ask for step-by-step directions, as I don’t have the Internet on it. I know, I know…

  5. I’m directionally challenged as well. I don’t have the moolah for a GPS and I think mapquest is downright dangerous (umm, trying to read and do the little left/right things with my hands while driving is not a good combination). Therefore I hate driving and I constantly try and come up with sneaky excuse to get others to drive. I know, it’s awful, since I usually forget to offer to pay for gas.

    I don’t understand the “don’t drink the water” thing, but I think you made the right choice.

    Also, I get bummed by the gold star phrase as well. I want a sticker or something!

    • That was the first time I’ve ever used a GPS unit, and the $13 charge for the rental was worth a million bucks. As for the water, I don’t get it either, but was freaked out by the fact some dude was still buying coffee out of the machine…

  6. I feel your pain. I don’t have a GPS but just need to suck it up and buy one. However, I don’t like people telling me what to do so the whole “I have a problem with authority” thing is the main roadblock (pun intended) in the way of me getting one. I still print out directions from Google maps and cross my fingers it goes well.

    I’m happy you didn’t drink the water.

  7. My GPS is Matilda. I think Gail is better.
    She was stolen. Thank goodness.

  8. I believe the GPS was solely invented for me.

    And now you too.

    But god bless that little genius in a box.

  9. GPS is God’s gift. I wouldn’t be able to drive through the city without one. I love it.

  10. 1. i am THE WORST with directions. i can’t even get across my own damn town.

    2. my GPS done lost its mind once and took me in circles around green bay wisonsin for hours.

    so. i just stay at home and read ur blog

  11. I could go and on about how I am sometimes directionally challenged myself…but I can’t I’m giggling too much. Reading you is like seeing a blue sky after the rains…refreshing!!!

  12. I suck when it comes to directions, too. Hubby often asks me, “WHich way do YOU think we should go?” I always pick the wrong way.

    By the way, I believe most people have GPS Jack or GPS Jill.

    Maybe that’s why you are having problems; Gail doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing, the bastard sister to her hill-tumbling (and very bossy) siblings.

    Jill is always telling me to turn around and that she is recalculating. Often, I would like to punch her in the throat. If I could find it.

  13. Ah, I can so relate. I got lost on my way to the job interview for my current position. I had to drive 5 minutes from the hotel, in a straight-ish line, and sadly, though I gave myself an hour to make the 5 minute commute, was still a half hour late! When asked, “Why, Miss Morningstar, should we give you this job?” My reply was simply, “Because it was soooo hard for me to get here!” It worked. Their expectations for me are quite low, which makes for a pretty easy gig. Power to the directionally challenged!

    • I love you so much for this comment. If I could direct that love for you, I would. However, it got lost about 1.3 miles from my house, so you’ll have to take my word for it.

  14. If you had asked the lady next to you for some Grey Poupon, I definitely would have given you a virtual high five and awarded you another gold star!

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