I have this portable GPS. I haven’t used it very much because I never seem to drive anywhere where I would need a map. It’s not that I don’t actually GO anywhere, just that I drive mostly around the Vancouver area and since I’ve lived here all my life, I generally have a pretty good idea how to get where I’m going. Also, I still have and occasionally use a bunch of old, outdated paper maps, the kind that once you unfold them, you can never get them refolded properly. Also also, when I go on vacation, I seem to go far enough away that I have to take a plane to get there. There is very little need for a GPS unit when one is on a plane.
But PG and I are planning a road trip this summer. We would like to drive down the West Coast of the USA, likely as far down as San Francisco. Both of us have done this trip before: it’s practically obligatory for Vancouver residents to have driven the Coast Highway down to Northern California at least once. I have made this pilgrimage twice in my adult life, and PG has done it once. On a bicycle. With about 200$ in his pocket. He was in his late teens and eventually had to call his parents to wire him money to get home – but that’s another story.
Anyway, as I say, we are planning this trip. More precisely, I am planning this trip. I plan things, PG wings it. The way he doesn’t plan makes me nervous. The way I do plan makes him itchy for spontaneity. We are trying to find a happy medium.
Part of this happy medium is the GPS. I have agreed to leave my ancient paper maps at home and rely entirely on the GPS to get us where we want to go. Oh, I know, millions of people do this all the time, it’s no big deal. But I have never done it. I must admit that it kind of annoys me that I can’t see the big picture with the GPS’s small screen, that I can’t plan out an entire route, only small bits at a time. It also niggles at me a bit that we won’t be able to play music very loudly if we want to hear what the GPS gal – “Serena” – tells us to do. But I’m going to try.
So PG asked me if the maps were up to date. “Huh?” I replied. He patiently explained that you have to update the maps every so often, since routes change. He asked me if I had ever done that since I got the GPS. “Um – no … I think,” I replied. That was embarrassing, because PG is not known for his extensive knowledge and use of technology. But he did know this stuff.
And that became my assignment for today: update the maps on my GPS.
Should be easy, I thought. Everything is online, so all I have to do is go to the manufacturer’s website, select the model of GPS I own, choose the updates I want, pay for them – wait, what? I have to pay? They’re not free? You mean this doesn’t work like going down to the local BCAA office and requesting an old-fashioned route map of wherever I want to drive to? Really?
Oh. So today I have not only learned how to update the maps on a GPS, but also that it is apparently not free to update the maps for a GPS.
Now I have to go outside in the drizzly rain and see if the thing can acquire a satellite through the clouds to make sure that everything downloaded correctly. If it didn’t, technology be damned, I’m heading over to BCAA to ask for a paper map.