Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Daniel the GPS

So our Renault Grand Scenic is equipped with a GPS that we have discovered in an Englishman named Daniel.  The manufacturing company of this GPS is TomTom.  The kids wondered why his name is not Tom.  When we first got the car we were headed to Rotterdam, to jam, and we were sticking to larger highways.  So, Daniel seemed to be doing this quite well.  We had a lot of repetition with directions, but at the time we thought no problem he is very efficient.  Well as time progressed we are getting slightly annoyed by Daniel’s instructions.  Really, how many times does one need to hear “stay left then stay left” or “bear left then bear left”.  Ok we get it, stay left, and try really hard not to swerve over to the right and suddenly take the off ramp because we will end up in God knows where.  My favorite of these instructions is, and I am not kidding, “Stay straight, go straight ahead, then go straight ahead”.  Wow, I never realized how confusing going straight was.  Through these all-knowing instructions we have learned that a roundabout in known as a rotary.  So Daniel’s instructions usually go like this, “Go straight through the rotary, second exit”.  But by far my favorite is, “Keep left, then turn right”.  This is always told to us when there is more than one lane, so I have moved all the way over to the left just to hear that I need to turn right.  That is impossible unless you would like to gun it and cut off everyone next to you.  We have yet to figure out what this bit of instruction is, because in every case there was a right turn lane and cannot figure out why we need to be left.  Lucky for me Justin is exceptionally good at trying to determine the map portion and I hear a lot of, “Ignore Daniel, and stay right”. 
The other issues we have are that sometimes, and it is always at a random moment, Daniel likes to send us on a road that is hazardous, way out of the way, very narrow or ALL of the afore mentioned.  On our way to Nendaz on an already sketchy road, Daniel decided to send us on a “shortcut” up a crazy steep road that was only one lane wide, but for 2 direction traffic.  On our way to Interlaken he also sent us on another “shortcut” into a high mountain town on a winding one lane, 2 direction traffic road, to save us 2 minutes.  Listen, I would much rather take 2 minutes longer than feel like I was ready to get into a head on collision at every turn.  Another example is while getting to the apartment in Nantes.  Once we got off the freeway, we needed to go another 5 kilometers through the city to get to the apartment.  Well, we took about 50 turn to get there.  I was thinking that this city has no straight roads.  Well, then we were heading back another day getting off the freeway in the exact same place, I was getting ready for a crazy ride, but lo and behold we took only 5 turns total.  What how could that be!  We did it again the next day and had a new route.  I think we went a total of 5 different way to the Nantes apartment.  We never used the same one twice. 
Today, on our way from Pamplona, Spain to a country house near La Quar, Daniel sent us to a fork on a small country road on a mountain side.  Daniel wanted us to take the fork that was closed, we took the other one.  Daniel recalculated and told us to continue.  We continued the fork and road closed process several more times, when he told us to “take a right” which there was no road!! If we did we would have literally driven off a cliff.  At this point we consulted google map on Justin’s cell phone and Lisa (we christened her) lead us safely back down the mountain and towards the correct road that was open.

Daniel also likes to think about where we are and takes his time recalculating.  Once in Baden-Baden I left the parking garage headed towards Merkur Mountain, and Daniel wanted me to take a one way road the wrong way, when I did not he needed to recalculate so I kept on aimlessly driving.  Several minutes later, he finally figured out where we were and started with his directions.  While he was recalculating he showed the car all over his GPS map and it did not at all match where we were, and he kept saying “Take a right, turn around when possible”.  Crazy.  Let me tell you when you are in a city that you are not familiar with and your GPS is yelling at you it is slightly unnerving.  I do think that I may write TomTom at rather strongly worded letter about the crazy routes that are suggested at times. Now Justin and I have gotten so used to Daniel’s quirks that we know when to ignore him, and when we need to try to stay left and turn right.

One of Daniel's moments where he thinks we are driving through the middle of a park

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