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Ariana and I drove to FL for spring break. Overall, we had a wonderful time, and I’ll tell you about that later. But I wanted to brag about something she learned to do: read a road atlas.

Arianna and I encountered construction on the way back to MI. The kind of traffic snarl that brings interstate traffic, not to a crawl, but to an absolute standstill. Interstates should never be parking lots. Later that day, we heard a bad accident occur while we were getting gas, not more than 50 meters away. When we pulled out of the gas station, the road between us and the interstate was closed by the cops. On both occasions, we needed an alternate route.

I always take an atlas with me for every road trip I take. I do not own a GPS device or any electronic driver’s aid. Cyndi has one on her phone, but it’s led us astray twice. When we hit the construction, I called Cyndi, who confirmed the construction, and how extensive it was. I showed Arianna how to figure out where we were. I told her that I notice things like exit numbers and mile markers and upcoming highway signs. She became interested enough to keep pace. Later, when the accident occurred, we worked together to see where we were, and where the only road could take us. We saw we could go away from the highway(our only choice), and then travel a series of road more or less parallel to the interstate. Eventually, we made it back to the interstate, not having lost much time. As a bonus, we found some SWEET roads to drive my Fiesta ST on. Perhaps more about that later, as well. Arianna did remark that the side roads were far prettier and more fun. I highly recommend KY state and country roads.

Anyway, although I hate when these things happen on the interstate, I’m glad for the opportunity to teach what I think is a pretty valuable skill. I venture such a skill is a disappearing art in this age of GPS but maps don’t need batteries or cell towers…