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Finding country roads, with technology

The backroad to Germanton

I’ve always loved the backroads, and I thought I knew the backroads around here. But nothing knows the backroads like a GPS device.

I’ve had a hiker’s GPS unit for years, but it’s not smart enough to plot over-the-road routes and tell you where to turn. I’ve played with those things occasionally in rental cars, but they’re too complicated to learn how to use in a rent car. But last week I broke down and got me** a remaindered Garmin iQue M5 on eBay.

It got me*** to Madison easily. I had not previously been to Madison from here because I didn’t know how to get there. I also let the GPS device plot a new route to Mama’s house in Yadkin County. It found a backroads way that I would never have thought to try, and it cut two to four miles off the distance. If you accidentally or intentionally stray off the route, the device will warn you, recalculate a new route, and talk you back toward your destination. Often I’ve avoided trying backroads because I had no map, had no idea where the roads went, and I didn’t want to risk getting too lost. But an in-car GPS device frees you up to explore with confidence.

Within the next few weeks, I’m planning a road trip into the mountains along the Tennessee/Virginia line. I’m going to explore me** some backroads.

** Californians: Google “reflexive dative,” or see this or this. Don’t y’all miss my little seminars on Appalachian English?

*** This is not a reflexive dative but is rather a simple indirect object. 🙂

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