16 July 2006

It Was a Brutal Trip of U-turns

Our trip planner/navigator used Yahoo!Maps and that P.O.S. website let us down more than once, and once in a very time-consuming detour. I had to call a SoCal local for directions. It was like in The Matrix when Trinity gets instructions on flying a helicopter.

When I get directions from online mapping s/w, I prefer to use MapQuest and check it against Yahoo!Maps. Or vice-versa. Either way, I always use both.

Traveling north from Riverside to Valencia, our directions from Yahoo! said to get onto Hwy 14 after traveling for 1.7 miles on Hwy 5. It was nothing like that. It was more like 50.7 miles. Home now, I can't duplicate the bad directions after several tries on Yahoo!Maps. I couldn't duplicate the crappy directions on the 'net while at the hotel, either.

I may never know how the s/w developed that particular set of directions, I just know two things
(1) I'm in charge of directions for all future trips;
(2) I will always use more than one map source.

For me, it's not usually a big deal to have a detour. Gas pricing at $3.XX per gallon doesn't really bug me. The real problem is that all of the highways surrounding the Los Angeles territory have slow moving traffic at all hours. I have now personally verified this "myth" several times. It's either hot and traffic is heavy, or it's night with the construction crews working and traffic is heavy.

On top of the vehicular U-Turns we made, there were several pedestrian U-Turns at Magic Mountain and at Disneyland. Sometimes, when you arrive at a popular ride and the projected waiting time in line is 90 minutes, you just have to turn around and go somewhere else. Sometimes, when you arrive and the ride is closed for unscheduled maintenance... same thing.

Caveat : The map they hand out at Magic Mtn doesn't really show the park's footpaths well. Our paranoid theory was that they want people to wander around and spend more money on food/drink/other junk.

So, having a map and a plan isn't always a solution. It just makes you want to scream.


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