I’ve wondered for a while now whether my GPS is trying to kill me. My suspicions were confirmed on my drive from the Russian River to Bodega Bay.* As the name suggests, Bodega Bay is on the coast. The journey was going well enough as I drove north along Hwy. 1 in my RV with my Smartcar in tow. Then the Bitch (my fond nickname for my GPS) abruptly told me to turn right (east – away from the ocean) on Windy Lane. She was quite insistent: “In 500 feet, turn right on Windy Lane.” As I approached the street, she repeated the command several times and I swear her voice became louder and more insistent: “Turn right on Windy Lane. Turn right on Windy Lane.”
As soon as I turned right on Windy Lane, I knew I had made a serious mistake. Ahead was a steep, narrow, twisty old road full of potholes. Further inspection revealed that Windy Lane was a one-way street, not that I could have found a place to turn around or back up anyway.
I continued on for no more than a quarter-mile until the Bitch had me make a left turn and then a right turn, putting me right back on Hwy. 1 North. What, then, was Windy Lane about if not her own amusement and/or attempt at homicide?
But she wasn’t done with me yet.
When I came the street on which the Porto Bodega Boat and RV Park was located, she led me not to the RV Park but to a gravel parking lot of an apartment building. “Your destination is on the right,” she assured me. At first glance, it seemed to be the back way in. But when I came to where it appeared a gravel lane continued on, I was confronted instead with two large green garbage bins. The Bitch had led me to a dead-end.
Swinging wide, I tried to turn around. A sign on a wood post firmly imbedded in the ground in front of some trees warned, “No Parking.” I couldn’t complete the turn without knocking over the sign. I contemplated doing so, however, the Toad most likely would have hit the trees. I backed up what little bit I could, until the RV was about to hit the side of the car. Then went forward, sharply turning the RV’s wheels. No go.
Time for Plan B: Unhook the car from the RV. Back up the car and park it in the apartment parking lot. Back up the RV and turn it around. Drive the RV to the right location. Park the RV at the Office. Register and receive my site assignment. Back the RV into my assigned space. Return to the apartment parking lot. Pick up the car. Drive the car to the assigned space. Simple, right?
The twisting and turning of the RV placed the car at an angle that increased the pressure on the pins and rods that affix the car to the tow bar. The task of detaching the car was beyond my strength – even using tools.
I went to Plan C. Swearing, weeping, beating my chest and in general carrying on. Then Plan D: I placed a call for help to the RV Park.
Three guys showed up. Working together and using my tools, they were able to detach the car from the tow bar, allowing me to go back to the remaining parts of Plan B.
When I registered in the office, the woman told me I was not the first to miss the entrance to the RV Park. She makes it a point to explain its location to people she speaks with when they call in to make reservations. I had called on a weekend and spoke with Heather. Who said nothing.
Since at least two of my loyal followers have posited the theory that I’m a scout for women who may in a few years follow in my RV tracks, here is my advice based on this particular experience (and frankly I’m embarrassed I didn’t take the following precautions myself from the get-go since it now seems so obvious):
1. Ask the RV park if there are any “tricks” to finding them.
2. Look up the location of the place you’re going to on Google Maps. This will not only prevent you from taking unnecessary, GPS-assigned “short-cuts” but also may give you a more accurate route to your destination.
* If the name “Bodega Bay” sounds familiar, it may because it was the location of Alfred Hitchcock’s` movie, “The Birds.” I’m here having a great time with the Northern California chapter of Loners on Wheels (NOR-LOW) and we watched “The Birds” last night, identifying the shooting locations, making snide comments about Tippi Hedren’s acting, and noting that no matter how dire the situation, she always made sure she had her purse with her.