Saturday, August 15, 2009

Driving Adventures with Valerie

This morning at 9, I was supposed to go on a hike near Baltimore. Last night, I got home from work fairly late, and instead of researching how to get to the hike, I watched a movie, figuring I'd get the directions this morning. So I did, but of course that, plus refusing to set an alarm clock, plus taking a shower and brushing and tying up my considerable amount of hair plus trying to find something for breakfast meant I got a kind of late start. It was nearly 8:20 when I left, but thinking that a Baltimore address meant the park would be near campus which is about 45 minutes away, I figured that wouldn't be a problem as long as I drove with a purpose.

I was wrong. At 9, I wasn't anywhere close to where I needed to be. Oh, well, that was OK, I concluded. If I didn't manage to meet up with the group, I could still get to the park and enjoy a nice solo hike.

However, in my hurry, I had written inadequate directions, which made it difficult to get to the park. I thought I was supposed to take exit 20 to get to I-83 (I hadn't specified whether that was 83 North or 83 South) and then take a right on York Rd. I crossed I-83 before I got to exit 20, but concluded that the exit number was the most likely piece of information to be correct, so I kept going. But at exit 20, there were no signs for either 83 or York Road. At that point, I wisely got out my gigantic Baltimore area wall map, and found out that I was supposed to have taken 83 North and THEN gotten off at exit 20.

OK, so I needed to turn around. I had started out going north and thus assumed that I would need to go south to go back, but had already gone so far around the loop that I was actually going south again, so I really needed to go north. Too bad I didn't figure that out until I actually got back on the highway and saw I was still going in the wrong direction. I had to go 4 miles down the road before I reached another exit and succeeded in turning around.

Well, now, when I saw the signs for 83, I knew I was back on track. I was still going to make it to the park. 83 North, then exit 20, then follow the nice instructions. But after driving on 83 for just a short while, I discovered I was going south! I don't know how I had managed that! I swear I took the exit for 83 north. It was almost 10:00. I was an hour late, and I didn't want to turn around a third time, so I just went home. Actually, first I went to the University of Baltimore and had a heck of a time trying to find out where my projects had been kept. But I got them. I got home.

Since I was already in the car, I took the opportunity to see if I could fix the various nonfunctioning dashboard meters. I couldn't.

When I turned on my computer, I noticed an email from the leader of the hiking group. It had arrived at 8:20 this morning, stating that the hike had been canceled.