I guess I now have a vehicle with navigation. More accurately, I figured out my smart phone has a navigation app that actually works pretty good.
With the hands-free device I bought with Christmas money, I can press a couple of buttons and speak a destination to get directions to my destination.
After I missed my first turn in Santa Fe, I decided that the next exit would get me where I was going, but I wanted to be sure. I managed to get the destination entered and then was amazed when the thing began giving me turn-by-turn directions through the speakers. My own tour guide right there with me.
I've had a few other encounters with voices through the radio speakers giving me divine guidance. Most recently when I sold cars and had to try and demonstrate the navigation systems built in to vehicles. I realized then they are usually pretty accurate, but I did have one test drive when I punched in an address in Farwell and it didn't work.
Seems rural addressing hadn't made it there yet or something.
We also had a Nissan 200SX that used to talk. It didn't give you directions or anything. It just said stupid things like "right door" if your right door was open or a verbal warning that the keys were in the ignition or the parking brake was on. Our favorite was, "It's not my fault." We called the voice our "Little Japanese lady."
Finally, I think the newspaper circulation crew that I worked on that ran down routes probably should get credit for inventing navigation.
We used an old clunky cassette recorder that we laid on the seat or console while we ran a route. We talked and described each turn and each throw as we went along with the carrier that knew the route. Then when the time came to run the route yourself you just played the tape on your car's cassette deck or took the recorder with you. It told you exactly where to turn and where to throw like the real carrier was sitting beside you.
The navigation app in my phone worked pretty well, though I did notice it would give directions a little sooner than I expected. That led me to pull into someone's driveway when I should turned at the stop sign just around a slight bend.
One night going back to the hotel, I got lost because I relied on my on GPS rather than firing up the cell phone's app. I started out right but took the wrong fork and had to be bailed out by a buddy with Google Maps on his phone.
Just like the old days, when you refused to stop at the gas station and ask directions, if you have navigation now and don't use it you deserve to get lost.
Karl Terry writes for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at: karlterry@ yucca.net