What would you do with a "day of rest?" I'll tell you what I did with mine. Since yesterday was a university day of rest for the faculty and students not involved in judging the various contests of the AACS National Competition on campus and since on our 33rd anniversary (WOW, a third of a century!) last Friday we didn't have time to do anything more special than grab an Italian sub at Firehouse Subs, my wife took a vacation day yesterday so that we could go to the Charlotte, North Carolina area. We had taken a similar trip one Saturday several months ago and found some places we really enjoyed. So I fired up our GPS, whom we affectionately call Stella, and off we went on a bit of a treasure hunt.
What Becka didn't know was that I was planning to take her to lunch at The Cheesecake Factory, a restaurant chain we had yet to experience. It's our daughter Nora's favorite restaurant. (Now we know why.) Since I'm not familiar with Charlotte at all, I was counting on our GPS to get us there. It had us get off I-85 at an exit south of Gastonia. Becka asked if we were taking a different route to Mary Jo's Cloth Store (her main destination on this adventure), to which I replied, "Yes, I plan to check something else out on the way there." The Cheesecake Factory in Charlotte was miles beyond our exit for Gastonia, but I followed the GPS's instructions, apprehensively. It took us through some "interesting" neighborhoods in Gastonia, and eventually right back to I-85, of all things!
A few more miles down the road, Stella wanted us to get off at the exit for Belmont Abbey, still not in Charlotte proper. I had looked ahead at the list of turns and saw that we were headed toward the Billy Graham Parkway. From trips to the Charlotte airport I knew that that was an exit off I-85 and that we would have gotten there much sooner if we had just stayed on I-85 the whole way, without the two unnecessary Stella-recommended detours. Then when we were less than a mile from the road the Cheesecake Factory is on, Stella told us to turn right onto a little side street, in the opposite direction from what the turn list indicated for Sharon Road! It took us through a hotel parking lot, under the hotel's parking structure, and eventually back out onto the street we had turned off of. 🙁 At that point, I turned Stella off and proceeded by my "internal GPS," getting us there in less than five minutes.
After lunch we made our way back to Gastonia, sans Stella! I worked on this blog post, sipping decaf coffee at Panera while Becka had fun at Mary Jo's, just around the corner. After that I meandered up the street to walk through several stores I knew were there.
Several mentions of GPS's last week gave me an idea for a blog post. First a reader sent me a joke about a GPS. Then one evening former students of mine who are now missionaries in Romania and their two children came to our house for dinner. Part of the dinner conversation was about something they're interested in called letterboxing, which sounds similar to geocaching. Rather than explain either of those hobbies in this post, I'll let you click on the links if you're interested. Any way, yesterday's experiences with not-too-stellar Stella confirmed my desire to publish this post now. I wonder if I could ever do letterboxing or geocaching with our GPS without ending up in Zimbabwe!
Here are several jokes about GPS's and geocaching ... something I need to be able to laugh about after yesterday!
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