A map…the real old-fashioned kind…made of paper and a nightmare to fold, they’re being celebrated today on Read a Roadmap Day. It’s hard to find many people who still use roadmaps having replaced them with new technology. We’ve been through a series of roadmap substitutes. First, a Garmin GPS device, then the wonderful human voice of an OnStar operator, but mostly using Google Maps on a cell phone. All of these devices have served us well, and in fact, I sometimes wonder how I ever got around without the use of technology and GPS.
But this summer while road tripping it to Maine, we found the old paper technology still has its advantages. The most obvious reason to keep the roadmap in the glove compartment: lack of cell service. This seems especially important when traveling in the state of Virginia. Sure, cell service is no problem in Richmond or Alexandria, but near the Shenandoah Parkway, in a town called Damascus or even driving in the outskirts of Charlottesville, service is sketchy at best and if you’re relying exclusively on technology, you may be disappointed. (Of course, this is also a problem in the Ocala National Forest.)
And if you aren’t interested in the shortest route from Point A to Point B, but instead would like to make detours along the way, having a map is important to guide you in plotting a route including covered bridges, or lighthouses, or springs or tacky tourist traps. This can best be accomplished by finding the destinations on the map and then adding to your device. Sure, I know you can just Google addresses and add to the GPS, but without knowing a little about unfamiliar places, I could have made the route from Maine to Vermont twice as long by adding the locations of covered bridges in an illogical manner or including ones far from the most direct path.
I admit to being totally addicted to Google maps, even for getting to new places close to home, but I’ve got a well organized stash of road maps tucked away in the car for use when traveling. So next time you take to the road, don’t forget a map.
And when you return home, instead of trashing all those maps, try some of these cool crafty ideas:
Maybe even gift tags
Happy Read a Roadmap Day!