Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The long & winding road home

The fun thing about Google maps, or the really freaking annoying thing about Google maps, depending on how you look at it, is they never seem to send us the same way twice.

I make the drive from our house to my hometown once a year. I’ve been making it since 1992, and from this area specifically since 1996.

So I know how to get to Wheeling.

I66,to I81, to I68, to I79, to I70, with a few assorted cut offs here & there to shave a little time off the trip. It takes 5.5 to 6 hours depending on tractors, coal trucks and general traffic conditions.

But my new phone has Google maps supported navigation & just because I could I put in my start & end point & asked it to tell me how to get there.

It cut out 3 of the interstates and had us on US40 for most of the drive.

Before there were interstates there was US40. Interstates were built to remove most of the traffic from the often 2 lane road that winds through the mountains and a bunch of tiny towns, which saves travel time. But Google seems to think that US40 is the way to go.

Since it is pretty much impossible for even us to get lost on US40 (it runs right into downtown Wheeling), we took it.

It was a perfectly nice drive and we made it in 5.75 hours. It was nice to see different scenery. Seeing the same old scenery (not at my hometown) makes the trip tedious to me. I know exactly where we are and exactly how much longer we will be.

When it was time to leave I gave Google our start & end points because I didn’t quite recall a couple of the turn offs and it didn’t save the previous directions.

It sent me down I70, I79, and I68, with a brief foray off into the wilds of the eastern panhandle of WV to avoid I81 and then onto I66!


Why a different way back? All the traffic reports looked clear. No new road construction projects had begun.

It does this to us for the trip to Florida every year. Sometimes it sends us through the middle of Virginia and across South Carolina to I95. Sometimes we are sent down I95 the whole way. Sometimes we are routed through Tampa, sometimes Orlando.

And never the same route home.

DH thinks some programmer is sitting in an office in California laughing his ass off.

This’d be the same guy who sends people down a dirt road to get to our road when there is a perfectly good paved road available 500 yards away.

Since you cannot just drag & drop new routes on the phone the way you can on the computer, we had to drive past the i79 turn off point & then tell it to reconfigure our route.

It told us to turn around.

Eventually we got far enough past the turn that it came up with the same route we took to Wheeling.

I like that route. I think we may use it again the next couple of visits.


SciFi Dad said...

I've noticed the same thing; I think it's related to time of day/week. For instance, when I ask for a route at 10pm the night before we leave, it gives me one that takes expressways, but when I refresh it at 7.30am the next morning, it's got some of those parts skipped and some smaller roads chosen. I don't think it's just construction and known traffic issues, but there's probably something with rush hour as well.

Carrie said...

Well at least you found a way you may like! hehe

Mel said...

I'd like a job with SATNAV, I think I have the necessary streak of sadism....

Carole said...

If it's any consolation, it likes to do that to us in the UK too. They probably call it a 'feature'.

Andrea Chamberlain said...

We've been hit and miss with google maps and mapquest. Oh, and the GPS. Honestly, I'm shocked we haven't found ourselves in Tanzania sometimes.