The Adventuresome Naviguesser

by Jacqui Bennett
Low Country Ocicats


Published February 2007

I made an error in judgment on my travels to the cat show last weekend. YEP... a very BIIIIIIIG error in judgment.

"What" might you ask was this error? Well, the error was in making assumptions...

The Assumption

The assumption was that I "know" the way to Deland, Georgia, where the cat show was taking place. Now, I have been making the trip both from my home to the city of Deland for quite a while. Its not a rocket science kind of trip. You travel I-75 to I-10 to I-95 to I-4... easy, peasy, pumpkin and pie.

A Naviguesser is an electronic device with a GPS locator and the Rand McNally map system and the yellow book system in its little brain which can tell the driver how to get to any given address which it recognizes. --- as well as give the names and phone numbers to restaurants and other fun stuff in whatever cat show vicinity one happens to be in.

Note from Author: While the Naviguesser is MUCH more reliable (usually) than a human counter part, it isbut not nearly as much fun to talk to and it NEVER remembers to suggest Mocha Moolatte breaks..

However, I also "know" that I am capable of becoming lost in a room with 2 doors, and so does my husband, hence my handy dandy "naviguesser" permanently mounted in my car's window (unless the hotel is really scary).

I "know" that sometimes my trusty naviguesser's opinion of the fastest route (calculated by its experience of my average speed on interstates and my average speed on non interstates and a weighted average there of) is not always the "fastest route" as it doesn't know about such silliness as perennial constructions, tolls every 37 feet and the frequencies of Dairy Queens and daily requirements of Mocha Moolatte's ... so I ALWAYS let it calculate multiple routes and then pick which ever one suits my fancy that evening/morning/cat show trip

This time, I noted that one of the 2 naviguesser routes had me continue down 75 and cross through silver springs to Deland. It took over 50 miles off the trip and while it did involve about 60 miles of non interstate it "appeared" to take about 15 minutes less.

What the heck! Sounded good.

The Adventure Begins...

What I didn't "know" is that while there is UNDOUBTABLE a completely paved route through the Ocala national swamp/forest, my Navigator had a hankering for some off road adventures. One would think that along with the options of selecting freeways, toll roads etc, "PAVED" should be a preferred option - but evidently the programmers of the handy dandy naviguesser assume that "paved" is a mere formality.

The first clue was "turn left"... Turn left? Is that a road? OK it's a gravel road. Probably just a mile or two to the paved road. Must have missed something. No biggy. It's an adventure...

2 miles, "Turn left" ... That's not a paved road... that's not a gravel road... that's dirt! That road is half as wide as this road and this road ends! I didn't know national forests had there own roads?

2 miles "veer right"... this Is NOT a road! Is that a lake? How deep is that puddle? It crosses the whole "road" (note road in quotations as I think we are now on a deer trail). SURELY there is a paved road right up here soon?

Keep On Going

As we drive through the "puddle" and mist comes up in a swirly mass and the trees bend in over the car with branches like ghostly hands draped with webs of Spanish moss, I here my traveling companion saying...

"You should go slower"

"NOPE."

"This is kind of spooky"

"YEP."

"You don't mind if I don't ask you to stop and I'll drive do you? "

"NOT STOPPING"

Paving!

12 miles of swamp, muck and mud later, expecting to see the requisite axe murderer jump out into the game trail and to be eaten by the also requisite giant alligator, we found the paved road.

My poor little "domestic" Xterra, which has never had to off road its entire life, was covered with mud and muck and left over axe murderer. My traveling companion asked me innocently...

"So what could have actually been out there?"

"Deer, Bears, Alligators, Snakes, Axe Murderers", I reply.

Epilogue

Coming back from the show we stuck to the interstate :-)

About The Author:

My name is GC, RW Low Country Sandman ... my friends call me "Sandy" and as you can see, I am a lavender silver spotted ocicat. My personal human is Jacqui Bennett. Mama is owned by myself and the lesser member of the Low Country Ocicat Clan as well as a couple of European Burmese. She has been breeding and showing in CFA for 9 years and is the Ocicat Breed Council Secretary.

Mama is quite proud of her accomplishments with the black genetic ocicats and has bred more tawny ocicat grands than any other breeder in CFA history. My buddy "Toddy" (AKA GC RW Low Country Hot Toddy) is still the highest scoring Tawny Ocicat in CFA history, but he better watch out. The season's not over and "Lights" is closing in on his score pretty quickly :). We live in Buford GA and in her spare time (while not catering to our ... well mostly my, but she does take care of the other cats too .... needs, wants and desires) she is the Quality Systems Manager for Georgia Pacific Chemicals LLC. She also takes care of my pet human boy Robert (not sure how his conformation is coming out, but he looks like a pretty good match to the standard), the 2 big barky things (Mama calls "Diva" the abominable snow puppy, but she's really a Siberian Husky and the other one is Dakota. He's an Australian Shepherd. They aren't good for very much but the bounce good when you land on them and they are warm in the winter) and the big furry human guy who huffs and puffs a lot about us, but is really very gentle and good for pets and lap time. He has been trained to lift up the covers as required to let us get in the warm spot and is good about sharing pop corn and vanilla ice cream.

I hope you enjoy Mama's story!


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