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Thursday, December 09, 2010

#84 Maps

Continuing with the 100 life-enriching little nuances series …

I traced my fingers down I-29, along I-435 around Kansas City and over I-70 headed east to St. Louis. I'd never taken a trip by myself, but how hard could it be to drive from Omaha to St. Louis? I was 17, fresh out of high school, armed with a cooler full of RC Cola and a plan to simply follow the map that led to the city Dad lived in.

As I left Omaha, southbound on I-29, my road atlas sat confidently in the passenger side seat. I consulted it often, especially as I approached small towns, wondering what life might look like on the average Saturday night. I learned that the exit numbers listed on the map worked in conjunction with the mile markers. Every lake and river on the map appeared right where the map said they would.

I had no problem finding the outskirts of St. Louis, but Dad was a little harder to find. You can read the rest
of the story here. Maps became not just a tool that took me where I wanted to go, but also a treasure trove of unexplored places. I still see maps as such today.

I have a GPS now and I've come to depend on it when I travel. I don't have to do so much pre-trip planning, but the funny thing is, I still bring an atlas along. I like to see the big picture, wonder about the small towns off the beaten path and see how close or how far I am to monuments, state parks, and bodies of water.

My current road atlas is ancient and one of these days I'll buy another one because I can't imagine taking a long trip without one.


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