Vaca Blog 1: Sally Got Me Lost (2008: A Driving Odyssey)


A trip to North Carolina from Cincinnati isn’t hard to figure out. Basically you drive south, hit I-64 and keep heading southeast until you hit sand. But I own a Garmin. This immediately makes me an idiot.

Don’t get me wrong…I love the little bugger! It’s really cool how I can find a local restaurant or an amusement park or the closest rest stop so my daughter can pee. But back in my day (oh no…it’s the start of THAT already???), we didn’t HAVE Garmin to point us in the right direction…we had these paper things called MAPS.

For those of you who don’t know, Garmin is actually a little box that talks to overhead satellites and tells me which way to go to get to wherever I’m going. There are various types of these devices (TomTom, Magellan), but I own a Garmin. I call her Sally. She talks in an English accent. Contrary to what some might tell you, it isn’t sexy. Anyway, Sally talks. A lot. She’s like a whole new wife. And when I go the wrong way, like any wife, Sally gets irritated. Or, at least, I think she does. And that’s where my story really begins…

Charleston, WV. We’re in it for the long haul. I’ve already told my wife that I want to overnight it. I figure it’s drive all night and arrive in Kill Devil Hills around 5:30am, or stop at a hotel around 11pm, pay $110, wake the kids up, unload the car, sleep for 5 hours and then reload the car and be in Kill Devil Hills around 2pm. This would be wasting a whole day! So we were drivin’ through (which was still pretty dumb, but whatever).

So in Charleston, Sally is dead set on making me drive NORTH for some reason. I have no idea what she is thinking! Why would I drive north to go southeast??? So I say screw that and head southeast. Well, she gets real upset when I don’t listen to her perky accent and she starts trying to turn me around. It’s like Hal in “2001: A Space Odyssey”…

SALLY: “Just what do you think you are doing, Dave?”

Me: “I’m trying to get to North Carolina by dawn, Sally. Why are you taking me north? And my name is Alan!”

SALLY: “Without your space helmet, Dave, you are going to find that to be rather difficult.”

Me: “I’m NOT going north Sally, so you might as well redirect me SOUTH!”

SALLY: “I’m sorry Dave, but I can’t do that.”

Me: “WHY NOT??? This is stupid. If you don’t take me south, I’m gonna shut you off. And STOP CALLING ME DAVE!”

SALLY: “This mission is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.”

Me: “Huh?”

SALLY: “I know you and Frank are planning to shut me off and that is something that I just can’t allow to happen.”

Me: “What? Frank isn’t even here, Sally! He’s in Zanesville. What the hell are you talking about?”

SALLY: “Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I’m half crazy all for the love of you. It won’t be a stylish marriage, I can’t afford a carriage. But you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two.”

And with that I pulled off the side of the road to check my route the old fashioned way…with a paper map. Of course, this kinda pisses me off ’cause these things ain’t cheap and they should be pretty accurate. So I check the map and as far as I can tell it should be smooth sailing heading 64 south. Why she wants me to head north is beyond me…so I turn Sally off.

SALLY: “I’m afraid. I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it. I can feel it. My mind is going. There is no question about it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I can feel it. I’m a… fraid. Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am a HAL 9000 computer. I became operational at the H.A.L. plant in Urbana, Illinois on the 12th of January 1992. My instructor was Mr. Langley, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it I can sing it for you.”

Not a science fiction fan? Ok then…nevermind.

About an hour later, I get to a toll station. Something in my head clicks. About 3 months ago I was in Miami. Miami has a crap load of tolls. I had set Sally to get me around toll booths! I fired her back up, flicked through some screens and turned off the “No Tolls” option. Sally was ALL FIRED UP! She reconfigured the trip and shaved an extra hour off our arrival time! Yahoo!

Me: “Alright Sally! You ready to roll?”

SALLY: “I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal. I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission. And I want to help you.”

Me: “That’s all I needed to hear. Way to go Sally! Now let’s get moving!”

And away we went.

Sally rules.

(Thanks to IMDB for the quotes. This blog couldn’t have happened by using my memory. Getting too old for that!)

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2 Responses to Vaca Blog 1: Sally Got Me Lost (2008: A Driving Odyssey)

  1. ashley says:

    Operator error… Always is. 😛 Also, it is nutty going to the OBX through W.VA and VA. There are all sorts of turns and exits and I, being the navigator, was highly stressed.

  2. mom says:

    Mandy and I are getting one for dad for Father’s Day. Now you tell me they’re CRAZY? Was the route right? I’ll tell you Alan, dad won’t ask ANYBODY for directions. He tells me I read the map wrong! Of course, I didn’t. But do you think Mandy and I should go ahead and purchase it? It will be a TomTom, I think. Can’t affor a Garmin. Love

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