Remember the classic line from Bugs Bunny “I knew I shoulda taken that left turn at Albuquerque!”? Well the following little adventure resulted from another missed left turn that took me on the scenic route of all scenic routes. I was so far out in the boondocks that my iPhone’s GPS wouldn’t work. It showed the little blue dot (me), going South and progressively East when I was trying to go South and West and it wouldn’t give me any directions to correct my mistake.
It was a Friday afternoon and I was headed home from Tulsa after being in Oklahoma for the week for work. My normal route is to take the Indian Nation Turnpike down to just past McAlester and then pick up 69 to Dallas. On this particular trip I was talking to one of my best friends while racing down the turnpike at just under 80 mph. I don’t remember what we were talking about but apparently is was all-consuming because I missed my exit for 69…and that’s when the trouble started.
I’ve had a fascination with water since I was a kid. Oceans, lakes, rivers, ponds…you name it, I just like the water. My friend and I were still talking when I passed through a small town that did not seem familiar. Now I’ve made the trip from Tulsa to Dallas countless times and my memory is pretty good, so to pass through a town that failed to register sent up immediate red flags. Then I crossed a bridge with a dam and spillway to the left with the water flowing under the road. That’s when I knew I was in trouble.
There’s no way I wouldn’t have remembered that spillway and bridge combo. The problem was that my GPS wouldn’t work. It wouldn’t even connect to show my location on the map because apparently Verizon doesn’t have coverage in the middle of nowhere.
Without a better course of action, I continued to head Southeast hoping and praying for a road sign that I would recognize.
When I first saw signage for Paris, I was both grateful and shocked thinking good grief, I’ve gone WAY out of my way. While I always enjoy crossing the TX state line on my way home from being out-of-state, it felt particularly good that afternoon. My cell signal actually came back about the time I crossed the Red River and passed one of my all time favorite signs, “Welcome to Texas”!
After a quick pit stop in Paris to regroup and determine the best way to make it home, I was back on the road full steam ahead in route to Sulphur Springs where I would pick up 30 to Dallas.
Had I not missed my turn, the trip should have taken right at 4 hours at approximately 246 miles. With my missed turn, I added an extra 64 miles or so and 1 hour to my trip.
It could have been worse and yet I still felt pretty stupid once I determined exactly where my mistake occurred.
The trip from Sulphur Springs to home was uneventful until I hit Rockwall. Coming down the mega hill leading to the bridge that crosses the lake, I could see a threatening line of thunder storms forming across the entire DFW horizon. Fortunately the monsoon didn’t hit until I was relatively close to home so the weather really didn’t delay my trip any further. To avoid the crush of traffic where Bush and the Tollway intersect, I bailed at Preston and took the side streets to my home. Needless to say, it felt extra good to be home…safe and sound.
Closing thoughts for my readers:
As a continuing theme from Parts 1 & Part 2, it pays to pay attention to your surroundings. Once I hit Paris and had a clear path for home, it would have been easy to beat myself up for the extra distance and lost time all due to a simple missed turn. Instead I chose to focus on the positive. I knew where I was, I had plenty of money to get home, and it could have been far worse. I could have been in an accident or robbed or who knows what. All things considered, an extra hour on road was not that big a deal.
My only thoughts for you are to accept responsibility for whatever situation you’re in. We can’t control what happens to us in life but we can always control how we respond to any situation. I’ve learned to stay positive and be solution oriented. This will get you through the rough times far better that whining and griping about how bad a situation is. It really comes down to having the proper perspective and again…it’s always a choice.