Disappearing Skills: Maps

In one of my classes with my international students today, I was telling them about the dream trip DH & I took in 1999 to Yellowstone National Park.

In the course of the conversation, they wanted to know how we got there.

“What do you mean, ‘How did we get there?'”

“How did you get there?”

“Um, by car.”

“No, no–How did you get there?”

“Well, we certainly didn’t have a GPS.”

“So, how did you get there?”

I just looked at them.

“We used a map.”

Triptik Map

“A map?”

“Yes. A map,” I said matter-of-factly.

“Oh, that’s so dangerous!”

“What?!” I couldn’t believe my ears!

A map? Dangerous?


“Haven’t you ever used a map?”

“Oh, no!” That is too dangerous!”

Honestly! They’ve never considered using a map, never heard of a AAA Triptik, and have never pondered the possibility of setting out on a trip with just a map in hand and no GPS.

Truthfully, I still like a paper map to show the big picture. I love my GPS (I have 6 of them, after all, 8 if you count the ones on our iPhones), but there’s something reassuring about a paper map that a GPS just can’t provide.

Teaching continually opens my eyes in many ways, but today takes the cake.

Maps. Dangerous. Who’d a thunk it?



Weekly Photo Challenge: Hidden

Actually, for this week’s challenge all you have to do is look at my headline photo above. See the hidden baby Bison?

This is a wider view. Can you see the baby Bison hidden in this photo?

Ground Control to Major Tom

One of the recent suggested topics was “Would you rather have one free trip to space or free international travel for life?”

I asked DH which he would prefer knowing full well what he would say before I even asked him. He said that he would take the trip to space. Natch. Further solidifying the running joke in our house about what complete opposites we are.

For me, absolutely I choose free international travel for life. Why would I choose one trip locked up in a cylindrical hell when I could take delight in international travel for life. For LIFE. Not one trip, but for life! Oh yeah.  I’m taking that one.

Where would I go? Hmmm. Let me think. Let’s start ticking off the life list.

View of Matterhorn and Dent d'Hérens from Tête...

Matterhorn in Switzerland/Image via Wikipedia

Switzerland–First and foremost, my all-time dream trip. And while I’m so close I’ll go to Austria, too.

The Grand Canyon–DH calls it a big ditch, but since the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone was my favorite part of our Yellowstone trip, I know I’ll love it. I want to photograph sunsets and sunrises there. I want to just look and look and look.

Glacier National Park–Riding the Going To The Sun Road definitely has a place on my list.

The American Northeast in the Fall–I’d love to see the blazing colors on the trees.

Italy–My sister has been there many times and from her descriptions, I’d love to go there.

Hawaii–Perfect weather, pork, and the beach. What more could I want?

Germany–I hear the food is awesome.

The Book of Kells, c. 800, showing the lavishl...

The Book of Kells Gospel of John/Image via Wikipedia

Ireland–Just to see the green and The Book of Kells at Trinity College.

England–I’m an English major, so I’d love to tour there and check out the cemeteries, too.

Scotland–Why not?

France–Even though they don’t like Americans, I’d like to see it anyway.

Yellow Knife, Canada–I’ll go there to see the Northern Lights.

Alaska–Just to say I’ve been there.

Turkey–I have lots of former students there, and their food is awesome.

Greece–Since I’ll be next door.

Japan–Again, lots of former students there.

Chile–Patagonia for sure.

Australia–Why not?

Idaho–I’ve always wanted to go there.

Other states: West Virginia, South Carolina, and all the others I haven’t been to.

International travel for life. Wow. It’s hard to imagine, really, but it’s definitely my choice.

Corner Kitchen in Asheville, NC

I’ve always heard that when traveling, you should always ask a local where to eat. I try to do that sometimes and usually get good recommendations. We really hit the jackpot when we were in Asheville, North Carolina.

We had decided to eat at Mellow Mushroom, but on impulse on the way out of the motel, I asked the dude at the front desk where he would recommend that we eat. He said, “Corner Kitchen.” Of course we had never heard of it.

Upon further inquiry, he told us that they only use fresh, seasonal, local ingredients. We had never eaten at such a place, so we decided to try it. He said most people have reservations, but since we were going early–5ish–we decided to try it.

We wandered around Biltmore land a bit before we spotted it. We walked in and told the lady we didn’t have reservations, and she said, “Can you eat in an hour and fifteen minutes?”

“Sure,” was our reply. What did we know? As it turned out, that meant no dessert, but we never order that anyway.

Somehow I accidentally saved this map search to my photos on my phone, so you can see where Corner Kitchen is.

I would have made photos of the food, but DH gets all weird about that sometimes, so I didn’t take any. The food was awesome, though.

We started with crab/corn chowder that was amazing, and we got a bread basket that had some pesto brushed bread that was quite tasty. DH had Jamaican jerk chicken that was good but spicy hot, black beans, guacamole, and fried plantains. I had meatloaf, collards, and cheese grits. The meatloaf was good but the sauce was a little sweet. The collards were not bitter at all. Impressive. The cheese grits were very delicious.

Overall, our experience at Corner Kitchen was quite excellent. You should check it out if you are ever in Asheville.

Handblower Hate

A Dyson Airblade hand dryer in California.

Image via Wikipedia

It’s official. I hate handblowers. You know, those goofy things that they put in restrooms now in an attempt to save the Earth from destruction by our using paper towels to dry our hands.

I mean, come on. Just how much electricity does it take anyway to blast that inefficient air on my hands? If the air were hot it might actually dry my hands, but more often than not the air is cold and won’t dry a fly’s wings, much less drippy hands.

I hate them so much that if I think about it, I’ll bring toilet paper out of the stall with me so I’ll have actual paper to dry my hands with. Only problem with that is it falls apart and leaves little specks of TP debris on my hands.

My other option is to announce to anyone within earshot in the bathroom that I’ll use hand sanitizer when I get to the car. I’ve even had some women agree with me on that one.

Lulu’s in Gulf Shores has a super-charged blow-the-flesh-off-your-hands version of the wall-mounted hand dryer. (See above image.) Trembling, you slide your hands into the slots and an ear-deafening roar accompanies the hot air assaulting your hands. Miraculously, this thing actually dries your hands. My SIL loves it and made us all go try it out!

I still don’t like them. They all hurt my ears, and most of them are inefficient at best. I’m pretty sure hand sanitizer is my friend from now on.

Recycled Teenagers

We were driving up a mountain road one day when we encountered a bus coming down the mountain our way. Nothing out of the ordinary about that. What was unusual was the sign on the top front of the bus.

Recycled Teenagers.

Hahahahahahaha. I laughed out loud when I saw it. Normally those signs say things like “Baltimore,” “Birmingham,” “Tampa,” or some other such destination, but “Recycled Teenagers?”

What could it mean?

I asked DH, and his response was that the bus was carrying delinquent teenagers headedfor rehabilitation. That made me laugh even more because as usual, our interpretations were exactly opposite.

I think the bus was filled with a bunch of old people pretending that they were teenagers again. To me, that’s a much more enjoyable thought that the bus was carrying seniors reclaiming their youth rather than delinquents trying to make a turnaround.

However, after thinking about it, I guess both evoke smiles and the promise of hope.