Thursday, December 30, 2010

The great GPS excursion

I have a love/hate relationship with our GPS. I truly and deeply HATE trying to find my way to a part of Houston that I have never been to before, especially if I have to be there at a certain time for an appointment. Houston, like most big cities, is criss-crossed with large highways, tollways and beltways. There is no direct route to anywhere. Add in the fact that there is a huge amount of traffic at all hours of the day and I get very anxious. Houston also has a strange system of 'feeder' roads. These are roads that run one-way along each side of the highway and provide access to the highway and surface streets. If you get off on the feeder heading south but the place you need to go is north of you, you travel south for a while, then cross over the highway and head back north and then cut off onto the surface streets to get to your destination. It's a lot of going around in circles.
So back to the GPS. Yesterday I had to be on the southwest side of Houston at 9:30 am. It was rush hour and raining. Chris programmed the GPS for me and I set off 90 minutes before the appointment. The sweet female voice on the GPS guided me here and there, over the river and through the woods, past a couple of the seven wonders of the world (if those include gang-infested slums) and eventually to travel completely around my destination, circling in closer and closer like a hyena. I love it when the GPS says 'Turn Now' and there is a building smack dab right there. Do you think the lady on the GPS is offended when I call her a blithering idiot?
I got there right on time, luckily. When I was done several hours later, I hit HOME on the GPS and pulled out of the parking lot. I am guessing the lady of the GPS was indeed offended because she then proceeded to take me on a highway treasure hunt. Her intentions were to get me on as many different highways in Houston as possible and still end up home and not in Canada. This woman? She is good. That's all I can say. Here are the roads I was on in the space of one trip to the city.

Hwy 149/249
Beltway 8
some mid-town tollway I had never heard of
I 59
I 610
Hwy 290
Sam Houston Tollway (which may actually be the same as one of the above, but heck if I know)
and a couple of connections called spurs, etc

And now I get to do it all again every day for 5 days. Ashley has been very sick and this is where they scheduled her treatments for 5 days in a row. I wonder if the GPS woman takes bribes....

1 comment:

Essie the Accidental Mommy said...

omg, Houston is a fracking MESS with highways, tollways, those silly feeder streets.... I have lived in a lot of different cities and can eventually find my way around. Not Houston, good crap. The inner loop alone could get its own reality show! When I lived there, I didn't go anywhere unless you could get there from the 610 (Katy outlet mall, LOL!). Otherwise, I stayed home.
However I should say, I really liked it there! We would move back easily.