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Alex's 48th State - Mapless in the USA

Allow me to start by saying, I am old school. I ALWAYS travel with a map. As my travel and technology have evolved over the past 25 years, I have also attempted to evolve. In the beginning, I had a map. My 1st trip to NJ my husband bought me my 1st cell phone. So, away I went. From there on out I had a map, and my cell phone.

In 2002, when we began taking trips for Taekwondo, I would MapQuest directions, send the itinerary to the families of the kids traveling with me, and never had a difficult time (except one time in ATL when I wound up on a dead end) getting to and from my destinations.

Then in the summer of 2005, after suffering a huge loss of miscarrying a baby (our daughter was 12, and we had never been blessed with more ), I went on my longest journey at that time. This was a transitional time for me. I was still recovering physically from the loss, as well as emotionally. Meghan (12) and Stephanie (15) wanted to compete in a martial arts/taekwondo tournament in Colorado Springs, CO. Steve and I, and Conchita couldn't afford to fly all of their equipment and rent a car (most great things begin from necessity), therefore, my best solution was to drive them, and tent camp all the way. I had never driven West past New Orleans by myself, but I am ALWAYS up for a challenge. With a brand new Atlas, my cell phone, MapQuest directions there and back, (stops to camp along the way) and my husband's GPS (new to me technology), Meghan, Stephanie, and Edwin (12), and I headed out.

After that trip, I began traveling with a GPS - but ALWAYS my Atlas. I feel an Atlas gives a broader picture of the area (like the time in UT when we were not too far from the Salt Flats, but I only knew that because I was looking at a map).

I'm always teased for taking an Atlas, which brings me to the real point of this post - I decided to try a trip, across the USA, withOUT an ATLAS. I wanted the challenge of trying to do this trip with just our cell phones and a GPS (I do LOVE my Garmin). We survived 7,788 miles, South Florida to Seattle, with a lot of googling (what campgrounds are near me, where is the nearest historical site, how many miles until...). This was a challenge for me, I am not going to lie. But, once I commit to something, I do not back down, and as I said before, I LOVE a challenge. Game on. There were times when I was so aggravated I wanted to buy an Atlas. GPS's are great, but your view is limited.. I learned years ago when getting my pilot's license, that a broad view is very helpful. State by state, mile by mile, I persevered. I relied on Alex a lot - thank goodness he is great with technology and a great co-pilot!

Three things I learned without a map:

  1. My GPS is great, and our phones are amazing - thank you Garmin and Samsung!

  2. If I were to do it again, I would at least study the areas I was going to travel through.

  3. I'm always looking for off track places - by signs on the road (Enchanted Highway in SD, Meteor Crater in AZ), or by looking at a map to see what is out there that I don't know about, and it is more challenging without an Atlas - but it is doable.

I can say, I did it, I can say, I won't do it again. Straight technology isn't for me - I will always be a little bit of old school and a little bit of new!


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