Monday, October 14, 2019

Tiny Trailer Halloween Freeway Horror Movie

Greenville, SC, freeway. Now add fog.

If traveling through Atlanta, Georgia, at 9 A.M. on a Monday morning with eight lanes of freeway traffic one way is a horror movie, then I was the intrepid protagonist today.

I kept a promise to myself last night and looked in my Nissan Pathfinder's owner's manual for more information about the gps navigator. I learned that when a destination is plugged into the car's gps system, I can choose three options: fastest route, shortest route, or an energy-saving route. I used this information while overnighting in Kinards, South Carolina, so that I could take the more rural route to Harrison Bay State Park in Tennessee. The longest route was the fastest, on freeways through Greenville, SC; Atlanta, GA; and Chattanooga, TN. The shortest was more direct, but because it was rural, it took more time. My choice was rural. I selected that route and saved it.

Hmm. If not exactly my Atlanta route, then all too close to it! Add morning rush hour traffic, though.

My mistake, I discovered the next morning while pre-dawn night driving on a foggy freeway on my way to Atlanta was that the navigation system had saved the destination but not the route--and the route the navigator chose was freeway. Evidently, the Greenville--Atlanta--Chattanooga routes are major connectors because for almost the entire way, the freeways were at least three lanes in each direction.

The trip went well, but it was an intense focus the entire way. Even Atlanta was manageable, but I had to narrow my focus down to moment-to-moment thinking to keep myself from getting too nervous. Luckily by this time in the trip, I understood automatically the symbols on the gps screen, which helped me choose the correct lane. Much of the time I chose a middle lane, which for me meant, "Hey, I don't want to pass, and I'm just traveling through." Then I could ease into a left or right lane, depending on which freeway I was merging with or continuing on. That worked well except for one semi that blasted its horn at me just outside of Greenville. It was still foggy and dark, and I hadn't realized that I was now outside of Greenville and could take the right lane. Also, the truck driver was probably jacked on coffee.

My comment for this photo is to add about 50 semis for accuracy.

The Chattanooga experience was okay--just more steady-to-heavy three lanes of traffic, except that I took the wrong road on a highway change--the east and west entrances were right beside one another, resulted in a "That's it--no, that's not it!" moment. A short excursion through a one-lane residential area, and I was back on the freeway. My main experience for the regular freeway driving was that I drove at 65 mph rather than more slowly. It was just less stressful to somewhat go with the flow, although the flow was actually more because folks were in a hurry and a lot of the freeway was 70 mph.

Safe at Harrison Bay
I'm learning better and better how to use the capabilities of my Pathfinder. I've learned how to go slow in low and to use the incline automatic Hill Descent Control, which automatically keeps the car at about 3mph so the focus can be on steering. (I used this at the most rustic campground I've stayed at.) I've learned how to turn on the fog lights, the engage towing system, and how to activate the signals that flash warning lights left and right if being passed. And, by the way, I don't fiddle and try to figure this stuff out while blasting down the freeway. If I don't know how to activate something, then it's just "old school" until I have a chance to stop and research.

What got me through this day of freeway driving was today's music: Eric Clapton's Unplugged and the Best of Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong. That big traveling mug of chai didn't hurt any, either.

This is the first of three articles about gps and travel. On my way home from the Carolinas back to Iowa, I experience the highs and lows of gps navigation systems.
1. Tiny Trailer Halloween Freeway Horror Movie
2. The Green Goddess Meanders Toward Home
3. If GPS Routing Were Music, It Would Be the Blues

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  1. Greengodess, I love reading your posts!! Sorry I missed the reunion, FLU!!!

  2. Wow. Our lake house in Alabama is 2 hours SW of the Atlanta airport and I'm always glad I don't have to drive in the rest of the Atlanta traffic. My brother, who drives to the lake house from his home in Charlotte NC goes through ATL and tries to avoid rush hour, but he says it's always rush hour.

  3. I'm learning. What I'm doing now is a road trip, not a camping trip. And like I said, I'm learning a lot.