07 September 2010

Navigation - without a GPS

This is a portion of a map of the Salt Lake City area. This is the place where I've done most of my driving. There are not too many highways. It is not hard to navigate.
Contrast that with the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. (Yes, that is what it is called. I did not make that up, and I didn't even know it wasn't a word used to describe all metropolises until I was in college and people raised their eyebrows at me when I used the word "metroplex." It was only then that I learned it specifically refers to the Dallas/Fort Worth area.) The DFW highway system is fairly complicated. There are a lot of highways. Many of the highways have multiple names. In some places these highways merge together for a few miles and then separate again. There are exits on the LEFT SIDE of the highway.
It is a pretty big, sprawling place. And despite the fact that I lived in the Dallas area until I went off to college, I had virtually no concept of how this highway system worked. Besides the fact that it was big and sprawling, I did not get my driver's license until the summer after my freshman year at BYU, which means that I only spent a few months driving, and I only went to the same handful of places when I did go places.

For my trip to visit my family, I rented a car. I had an event to attend and a few people I wanted to visit, so I wanted the flexibility of having my own vehicle. I was rather terrified to know that I would be navigating the freeway system on my own. BUT! I've managed! The night I arrived I managed to get from Dallas Love Field to my parents' house in southeast Dallas County ALL BY MYSELF. The next day I managed to get from my parents' house to my sister's work in downtown Dallas ALL BY MYSELF! The next day I made it to the Dallas Temple (which, admittedly is VERY easy to get to) ALL BY MYSELF. Then, after that, I went out to Arlington and visited a friend, and I got there ALL BY MYSELF. On Monday I went all the way up to visit a good friend in Plano, and I got there and back ALL BY MYSELF.

You can probably tell that I'm fairly proud of myself. I've mentioned before that I don't like driving, and I especially don't like driving in unfamiliar terrain, so this week has been a huge accomplishment for me. I don't have a good sense of direction. I rely very heavily on maps, and it takes a lot of effort for me to have a sense of where I am. There were times when I took wrong exits, merged onto wrong highways or missed exits altogether, but despite this, I was able to figure things out and get myself back on track. I feel so much more grown up than I did a week ago.

Granted, I still have to get myself to the car rental return place tomorrow, but I'm feeling pretty good about that.


John said...

It's not about getting to the car rental place, it's about finding the nearest gas station so your tank is completely full before you return your car. The rates they charge for partially full tanks are insane.

Jenny said...

Way to rely on your inner Liahona!

Alice said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alice said...

John can find anywere in Dallas, as long as it is off Beltline. So you did a really good job.

Dorothy said...

Your friend in Arlington REALLY appreciates your efforts and commends you on a job well done!