If you have a short or long story about travels way beyond Marietta, please let us know!
WHEN YOUR GPS FAILS YOU…
“Let’s go!” said my husband, Don, as he headed out the door. Our daughter, Josie, 12 years of age, came rushing down the hallway.
“Is the GPS in the car?” she asked.
“Programmed and ready to take us to Lewisburg,” Don assured her. We were going to witness Don’s nephew’s White Coat ceremony.
Our spirits were high and we were making good time when Don remarked that we should be getting close to State Route 60 where we would exit.
“Oh! But we selected ‘most use of freeways,’ I said. “It won’t route us to a state route.” Quickly I cancelled our route and entered “shortest route.”
Almost immediately we were directed to exit onto State Route 60. Good. Now we could relax and enjoy the mountain scenery. Our atlas had shown us that Route 60 would take us into Lewisburg.
After a short period of quietness and peace, we were startled out of our reverie. Miss GPS was directing us to “Prepare to turn right on Route 61.”
What! That can’t be right!
“What! That can’t be right,” Don declared, as he, nevertheless, turned onto a much narrower road. We started up the mountain on switch-back after switch-back.
“Well,” Don said as he maneuvered yet another switch-back, “I was hoping to show Josie what mountain roads are really like.”
The road straightened somewhat as we wondered exactly where this road would take us. Surely it was just a shortcut to some wider, more traveled road, we were thinking, when Miss GPS spoke again. “Prepare to turn left onto Bull Run Road,” she instructed as we passed a narrow one-lane road.
Ever ready to correct our mistakes, Miss GPS spoke up again. This time she said “Prepare to turn left on Cat’s Creek Road.”
I thought, this road will meet up with Bull Run Road and take us on to that wider, more traveled, road. But… a mile or so down Cat’s Creek Road, Miss GPS changed her mind.
In her most urgent voice, she announced, “As soon as possible, make a U-turn on Cat’s Creek Road.” Where, oh where, Miss GPS, can we make a U-turn on Cat’s Creek Road? we wondered. It is definitely a one-lane road. When a tractor came toward us, Don had to move over onto the gravel — almost into Cat’s Creek itself.
Finally, we came to the end of Cat’s Creek Road.
A large house on a well-kept lawn and a cluster of smaller houses made up what appeared to be a small mining community. A few men were clustered around a truck in a turn-around area. They looked at us wonderingly as we made our turn, but raised their hands in a gesture of welcome. “How have these strangers made their way into our remote area of the mountains?” their expressions asked.
Miss GPS remained silent in regard to this matter. We started back down Cat’s Creek Road and again had to pull over into the gravel as we met another car coming toward us. The “granny” driver surveyed us curiously — with maybe a mite of suspicion. My mind could see her driving just a little faster to get home and see if the men knew who those strangers were.
Back on Route 61, Miss GPS again became vocal. “Turn right on Bull Run Road,” she said. I know, I know what you’re thinking. Nevertheless, still wanting to believe that Miss GPS knew the way to that wider, more-traveled road, Don obediently turned right onto Bull Run Road.
When we reached the end of Bull Run Road, the ever-sure-of-herself Miss GPS said, “Turn right onto Jeep Road.” From all appearances, Jeep Road was an almost-invisible trail going up the mountainside.
I realized that Miss GPS knew where we were but didn’t know WHO we were. She thought we were an off-road vehicle or maybe even hiking in these mountains. Did she lead us astray — or did we allow ourselves to be led astray?
Oh no! Not the Tire — and Not Here!
We had no time to consider the answer. Late afternoon was quickly coming upon us and we were far off our route, with many mountainous miles to retrace. But before we got off Bull Run Road, ding! No, not Miss GPS this time. It was the “low tire” alarm.
Don was beginning to get tense. He knew the dangers of being on these switchbacks after dark. And now the low tire added to the list of his worries. There would be few, if any, places to pull over to the side of the road and a low tire can cause serious accidents in curves.
We prayed as we made our way back down the mountain. Finally we were back to State Route 60.
“There’s a gas station,” Don said with relief, “but will it have an air pump?” Then, “Yes! Thank the Lord.”
Tire Pump Didn’t Work!
Next, a moan of disbelief came from Don’s mouth. “Something’s wrong with this pump. It’s letting air out of the tire.” The station attendant told us there were no stations with air pumps close by. After examining the pump he found the plunger was missing. Using a paper clip, he rigged up a temporary plunger, filled our tire — putting in a little extra air in the hope of getting us to Lewisburg.
However, five miles down the road, the dreaded ding again signaled a low tire. Now we were more concerned. The tire was leaking air faster than we thought. It was after 5:30 p.m. At each station we stopped to see if they had an air pump or if they knew of a nearby garage.
“Yes, there is a station about five miles down the road, but I don’t know if they’re still open,” one man told us.
At that garage, three young men were walking across the parking lot toward their cars.
“Yep,” one stated, as he headed on toward his car, “my dad owns this garage, but I don’t have much to do with it. I mud bog. I’ve torn up three cars this summer already.” Don asked if he could open the garage and change a tire.
“Nope,” he answered. “I’m going mud bogging now.” But he had just enough time to fill our tire with air, and he stated that there was an Exxon station a few miles down the road that might be able to fix the tire.
As we pulled into the Exxon station, we noticed an older gentleman sitting on the porch. He was smoking his pipe and watching the traffic come and go.
Pointing with his pipe he said, “See that road going off of 60? Take that road around a big curve. You’ll see a big building. If they aren’t closed they might help you. Now if they can’t, come back and maybe I can find somebody else who can.”
Down the road and around the curve we went, but the gate was closed and locked. Back to Exxon.
The chair on the porch was empty. Saw us coming and left, I thought. But, no! Out the door he came.
“Go inside and talk with the two men in our auto supply department,” he instructed Don. They thought that maybe the manager could help, so one of the men went to fetch him.
Don took this opportunity to visit the “gents” room. Meanwhile, Josie and I had gotten out of the car to stretch our legs. A man came walking hurriedly across the parking lot past us but quickly turned and asked, “Do you need help?”
I explained our situation and he said, “I think I can help if you want me to.” He dropped to his knees beside the tire and began examining it.
“There’s the problem,” he said, pulling out a small arrow-shaped rock. He told us he was the manager of Exxon but that he worked wherever he was needed that day.
If Your GPS Fails You, God Never Will
I learned several things that day: First and foremost, if your GPS fails you, God never will. Also, God knows where you are and who you are.
Don’t be like the young man in the garage. He knew his father owned the business, but he himself cared nothing about his father’s business. We should know our Father and care about His business.