Monday, August 2, 2010

GPS: What does the acronymn REALLY stand for?

Some of you requested highlights from the trip hubby and I took a couple weeks ago. Recuperation time was lengthy, thus, the delay of this post. LOL

Our intinerary included: Meet fellow graduates in Lynchburg, Tennessee, at Miss BoBo's restaurant, then tour Jack Daniels' Distillery, "hic", followed by a 70-mile drive north to Nashville and the reunion at Treva's (classmate). The next day? On to the Smokies for Terry and me! Woo-hoo! (Or so I thought.)

On the morning of July 17th, Terry programmed the GPS for Lynchburg, then we stuffed everythng into our Camry. At exactly 7:30, our planned time of departure, we jumped in the car and slammed the doors. Terry (hubby) turned the key. Click-click-click. (for want of better words).

After turning the key several times to no avail, he got out, raised the hood, shook a few wires. "Hit it!" Minutes later, still no crank, we transferred the GPS and our belongings to the Ford Ranger, and hit the road. Running behind schedule, we picked up breakfast sandwiches at the convenient store where we fueled and ate while we drove.

Alas! Back on schedule--that is--until we neared Hurricane Mills, home of "Loretta Lynn's Dude Ranch." Our GPS lady ordered, "In three-tenths miles, turn left." We slowed near the narrow, paved pig path, took one look and shook our heads, "Nah! This couldn't be it. Driving on, she screamed, "Recalculating! In three and five-tenths miles, turn left!" (My, she was testy!)

Her suggested road looked about the same as the previous one, but we thought it best not to disobey again. So we took it. Duck River Road started out paved, but in less than half a mile, it turned to dirt, ruts, and wilderness. Cows grazed in forest-lined pastures, rabbits dashed from bushes, but few houses. I expected to see Laura Ingalls waving in one yard. Dust fogged behind us, but we kept on trucking. Five miles later, two jostled pasengers, (one ill-tempered driver) in a truck, landed on a four-lane highway.

"Boy, won't this be something to tell everybody?" I laughed.

"I'm not telling ANYBODY!" came Terry's angry reply.

"Aw, come on. I think it was funny." (Oops! Shut-up, Laurie.)

A few minutes later we came to a small town. I read a sign aloud, "Plunk Funeral Home" and started to laugh. Still frustrated from our Duck River Road experience, Terry didn't see the humor in it.

We reached Lynchburg on schedule, took all the GPS-instructed turns, then came to a stop in front of a red brick house atop a hill. "Your Destination is on the left."

Wrong! No sign to announce, "Miss Bobo's Restaurant." Pulling into a convenient store acrosss the road, I rolled down my window to ask a gentlemen climbing into his truck. "Excuse me, sir, can you tell us how to get to Miss Bobo's?"

"Ma'am you've gone 'bout a mile too fer. Turn 'round, and drive 'til you see an amb'lance service on the left. Miss Bobo's is on the right."

We thanked him, and arrived at Miss Bobo's, ten minutes later. After a southern meal of fried okra, macaroni & cheese, lima beans, a chicken-pot-pie entree' dish, peach cobbler and a history lesson on the civil war-house-turned-restaurant, we toured Jack Daniels' distillery. The intense July heat was unbearable before we entered the steamy rooms with huge whiskey-filled vats. One room had the sweet smell of baking sourdough bread...until our guide lifted the lid. The vapors nearly knocked us backward. By the time the tour ended, our clothes were glued to our bodies (Whose suggestion was this, anyway?)

Terry and I left the other classmates with a promise to meet them in a couple hours in Nashville at Treva's for our class reunion. We left in search of our motel. I must mention here that, "Miss GPS" was of little help. But we finally found the place without her.

While I pressed my new teal blouse made of rayon and spandex, Terry tried to program the GPS to find Treva's house. When his frutration reached the boling point, I stopped ironing to make a suggestion. "Put the thing away. I'll call Treva for directions." When I turned my attention back to my blouse, it had melted to the iron! I almost cried.

We used Treva's directions plus the GPS, and came to stop at the bottom of a rough driveway, balloons attached to the mailbox. Spinning in loose gravel, we backed up and took a running start up the drive. This time we made it. I could not believe it.! A beautiful home in Nashville surrounded by dense woods! It almost felt like we were back in the sticks at home.

Everyone ate barbecue with all the trimmings, while reliving the trouble we got into at school. Soon afterwards, Kemp pulled out the piano bench while I exclaimed, "Oh good! You're going to play!" (Kemp was and still is, a gifted pianist.)

"Only if you promise to dance," came his sassy retort.

Wasn't he surprised when a couple others joined me in the Charleston as we shook a leg to, "Has Anybody Seen My Gal?" After a couple duets with classmate, Charlotte, including, "Mansion Over The Hilltop," someone requested, "Chantilly Lace." Then we sang, "Just a Closer Walk With Thee." That's when Treva slid onto her piano bench to play and belt out, Linda Ronstadt's, song, "Crazy." She put her heart and soul into it. (It still echoes through my brain two weeks later.)

A half-dozen poses for photos, then Terry and I said our goodnights, promising to meet the others at the nearest Cracker Barrel for breakfast. The next morning, after a late breakfast and tearful goodbyes, the two of us headed for Sevierville.

A little too often I'd study the map and discover what appeared to be a route shorter than our GPS Lady's directions, then exclaim, "Look. If we took this road instead, it would cut out a lot of miles." After a couple of my suggestions didn't pan out, taking us to parts unknown, Terry put his foot down.

"Either you get rid of that map, or we throw the GPS out the window! Make up your mind!"

The decision was difficult, but after much deliberation (I still think the map was more accurate), the price of the GPS cinched my decision. I reluctantly threw the map in the backseat.

We arrived in Sevierville around 5 p.m., checked in our moteld, then ate at Golden Corral. The next morning, after a breakfast at IHOPS, we drove into the mountains to climb Clingman's Dome. I had NO idea how strenuous a half-mile climb up a gradual incline could be. We had to stop and sit on a bench every 50 yards. And to beat it all, when we reached the Lookout Tower, the scenic view was blocked by clouds and fog. Ugh!

We drove on to Cherokee and browsed through gift shops. Big trouble started when Terry asked, "Do you want to spend another night in Sevierville, or drive toward Chattanooga?" After several back and forths of "What do YOU want to do?" I pointed to a road sign announcing, "Chattanooga 135 miles," and asked, Why don't we head in that direction since we are already pointed that way?"

Terry pulled down "Miss GPS" to reprogram her. He asked, "Shortest route, or fastest route?"

"Shortest Route," I chirped. BIG mistake. Do you remember that country song from 1988, "Famous Last Words Of a Fool?" (Was it Ricky Van Shelton who sang it?) Anyway, it applies here.

The next two hours found us careening around treacherous mountain curves on two wheels. Some had 20 mph speed limits, others 10 mph. The only other vehicles we met were motorcyles. Each time we swerved into a 360-degree turn, our Miss GPS shouted, "Recalculating!" Most of the time my eyes were closed as I silently prayed, "Lord, if you'll just get us off this mountain alive..." I made indentations on that plastic grip handle, while Terry kept a death grip on the steering wheel. His white face and clenched jaw told me it'd be best to remain silent.

By the time we reached the bottom of the mountain and re-discovered civilization, Terry was not a happy camper. We found a restaurant and stopped to catch our breath and eat our evening meal. During the meal, we discussed where to stop for the night. "Do you want me to get the map out of the truck?" I asked.

He gave me the extra truck key. I got the map. Before I sat down at the table again, I tried to give him the key. He ignored me, so I laid it on the table and said, "Don't forget to put it in your pocket." He still ignored me.

We left the restaurant, drove until dark, then checked into a motel. Terry felt in his shorts' pocket. "Where's my key?"

"I tried to give it back to you at the restaurant. Didn't you pick it up?"

"No, it's not here, and I am NOT driving back."

"I'll call the restaurant when we get home and ask them to mail it."

When we arrived at home, Terry found the key in the zipper pocket of his small overnight bag, right where he had previously put it the night before. Explain that one. I know I didn't pick the key up from the table, and he says he didn't, either. (One of us is crazy. Ha!)

What a vacation! But we are survivors. And through all this, we learned something new. The acronymn, GPS stands for...


Has anyone else had a similar experience? Feel free to share it.


Rebecca J Vickery said...

Hi Laurie,
No wonder it took you so long to recuperate. What a trip! And that road that twists back around to cross over itself and two tires hang over the edge--Hubby and I have been there and done that. We met a logging truck coming from the other direction and were afraid we were goners. LOL And I totally agree with your revelation about the GPS. Thanks so much for sharing.

Lisa Alexander Griffin said...

Hi, Laurie!
I had to laugh, but no way would I want to be in your shoes on that trip. lol. I'm glad you had a good time with friends despite everything else. I've also learned not to depend solely on a GPS. *grins*

Sharon Donovan said...

Laurie, what a story, one for the books literally. I can just visualize you doing the Charleston. All in all, a reunion to remember. Next time, ditch the GPS!aggingsk

Laurean Brooks said...


I'm glad you made it out alive, too. I can't EVEN imagine (or don't won't to) meeting a logging truck on one of those curves! LOL

Laurean Brooks said...

Thanks, Lisa. We did have a wonderful time, overall. And the times that weren't so wonderful were the ones that made this story. LOL

Thanks for stopping by.

Laurean Brooks said...


Regarding "doing the Charleston," I have to laugh, because it was NOT me to do something like that. I'm usually shy.

I blame it on Kemp, our wacky classmate/pianist. With his outogoing personality, he always had a way of bringing the "crazy" out in everyone. Teachers would rotate his desk, weekly, throughout the class to find a "shy" person who would not encourage his talkativeness.

In fifth grade, Miss Mary thought she'd found one in me. (I was terriby shy.) NOT. I got us both in trouble one day, when I turned around to ask Kemp to help me make a good sentence with the word "drank."

When he came back with, "He drank whiskey for breakfast," I burst out laughing. Both of us received a hand paddling with a wooden ruler. Ouch!

I'm telling you it was Kemp. No matter how shy you are, you are comfortable being your silliest self around him.

Poor guy! He can't help it.

Celia Yeary said...

LAUREN--we've had some stories to tell on our long road trips, but I cannot top this one. Honey, this was one of the funniest things I've read, and I can also identify with the direction thing. I'm the navigator, Miss GPS, and I do a dang good job. But if I do make a mistake, or a mistake happens because the road doesn't match the map--I swear this happens--we get all in a dither. We don't handle mistakes well.
One story about a GPS--when they first appeared on new vehicles, one of our good friends--a retired coach--is the funniest person in the world and a little clueless. He told this story: he was so tickled with the GPS, he invited a good friend to lunch. He drove to the restaurant and told his friend--"Watch this. This little GPS gizmo will tell you exactly how to get to your destinaitons." He spoke into the gizmoe--"I need directions to Herbert's Taco Hut in San Marcos, Texas." The voice came back, "Sir, you are in their parking lot." He hasn't figured that out yet. Celia

Danielle Thorne said...

hahahah! loved your post, Laurie. I can soooo relate as we don't anywhere without "Cat" our GPS. I so named her because she sounds like beautiful Brit, Cat Deely, the host of So You Think You Can Dance, who I accuse my husband of being secretly in love with.

But yes, the wonderful GPS--isn't always so wonderful if you don't check out your "shortest" and "fastest" route offers. Many a time I've found myself wandering down two lane country roads in search of Interstate--which may not always be the shortest route--but I sure know it's the fastest!

Sorry about your blouse! :(

Hugs to ya

EA said...

That sounds like quite the adventures you've had! That's the time of vacation you need a vacation from, LOL. But all in all, I'm glad you had a good time and got to spend it with loved ones.

Anne Patrick said...

Half the fun of road trips is getting lost along the way :-). And I agree with Sharon, ditch the GPS!

Laurean Brooks said...


Thanks for popping in. Sounds like you and your hubby have experienced a few navigation woes, too. I'll bet you are a great navigator.

And your coach? That was so funny!

Laurean Brooks said...


Yep! Sounds like you can relate to this post. Hee-hee.

And like you, I'm a little jealous of "Miss GPS" because I think my hubby's in love with her.

Could that be why he prefers her directions over mine? Hm..mmm.

Laurean Brooks said...

We did have a great time, but oddly enough the class reunion was the most fun.

Weird, but Terry and I are probably the only two people who can drive 8 hours to Gatlinburg and not find a thing to do.

We enjoy the scenery, but neither of us is big on shopping.
Well, he is, but only if it's an antique to sell.

Laurean Brooks said...

Oops! Sorry, EA. The previous post was supposed to be addressed to you.

Thanks for your comments.

Laurean Brooks said...


I agree. I love to get lost, (if we aren't on a schedule.) But Terry panics, even close to home.

I prefer the good ol' tried and true map most of the time.

Fooling with the GPS causes lots of unneccesary stress, especially when you haven't quite figured it out. Yikes!

Gail Pallotta said...

Hi Laurie,
This sounds like quite a trip. I'm glad you and Terry are home safe and sound. One time when we were traveling our GPS system said,
"Sorry, no guidance available!"
We had to wing it on our own. It does as though you had some good Southern eating while you were there, not to mention the samples in the distillery.

Laurean Brooks said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Swift said...

Laurie, this was the best thing of yours I have read. You've got our Southern tongue-in-cheek humor down pat. Now if you will only put all of this is a fiction book or else write it as non-fiction I think you'll have a great book. Ah, that GPS. My husband takes short-cuts that are NOT on the GPS instructions plan and you should hear Miss GPS screech then! I usually have to have him turn her off when I'm driving. I don't take instructions well as I get right and left directions backward. Thanks for making my day, and night with this one.

Laurean Brooks said...

Glad you enjoyed my non-fiction. I always liked Erma Bombeck's wit.

My first two stories published were humorous accounts from my childhood.

Local folks enjoyed the sled ride, gone awry essay. That's how I began writing back in 2002.

Our local HomeTown Magazine accepted the sled ride story, then another a couple months later. Nothing like that first acceptance, is it? Ah-hh.

Today, I have a collection of maybe 20 non-fiction, nostalgic,
3-5 page, stories tucked away in a folder.

I worked hard trying to find places for them in 2003, but got one rejection after another.

You should read the one about our attempt to go into the "Worm-raising business." That's a hoot.

Redameter said...

Ah yes Laureen the benefits of modern technology.LOL

The best part of most vacations are getting back home.

Love and blessings

Miss Mae said...

Memories, delightful memories...wait, wrong song, huh? LOL

We don't have a GPS, and after reading this tale, I'm now more convinced we don't want one! LOL That "recalculating" would have me stomping it to the floor!

Glad you got back home safely, Laurie. Maybe you should offer this story to your local paper? It's a jewel. :)

Laurean Brooks said...


It was a good trip, overall. We really enjoyed the class reunion. And our hostess at Miss Bobo's gave us interesting history on the Civil-war-house-turned-restaurant, including Jack Daniels,himself.

Wish we'd had time to tour it, but by the time we ate, talked, laughed, and exchanged funny stories, it was time to get to the distillery

Laurean Brooks said...


I have to agree. "No place like home," but it's nice to get away occasionally.

We had a lot of fun at the reunion and on the trip, despite "Mrs. GPS" and my "gulp" navigation suggestions. LOL

Laurean Brooks said...

Miss Mae,

That's some visual! A southern, genteel lady stomping a GPS into the floor board. LOL

Donna B said...

LOL When we went to Texas for TWRP's get together this year, the GPS had us about 20 minutes away from the ranch down some dirt road where we stopped and asked a cowboy if he knew how to get to the Silver Spur Ranch and he chewed and spit and said no, then called us back and misdirected us some more. We finally called the ranch and they told us GPS doesn't work there and gave us direction. GPS - Generally Pretty Stupid

Laurean Brooks said...

Donna, I like your acronym for GPS even better! LOL.

Thanks for stopping by. Always good to see you.

Laurean Brooks said...

And I loved your description of the spitting, chewing cowboy Ha-ha!