What The Heck Is A Road Atlas Anyway?

I had a funny thought for a blog post a while back, and then I forgot about it–until last week!

Last week I was visiting my optometrist to get some new eyeglasses.  (You know, the eyes are the first thing to go…)  While there, I spoke with the technician, Vanessa, about getting a pair of prescription sunglasses made, too.  During the course of our conversation, Vanessa explained to me that bifocals would be much cheaper than having progressive lenses made into sunglasses.  She said, “I can just  put little bifocals in the bottom of your distance lenses, in case your husband wants you to look at a map.”  I laughed to myself, then I remembered my forgotten post idea…

Thanks to the invention of GPS, future generations will soon be asking this question, “What the heck is a road atlas?”  Probably in a few more years, the atlas will become as rare as a telephone with a cord!  My parents (if they were still alive) would be asking, “What is a GPS?”  My daddy would probably think it should be GSP, something he knew quite well, since GSP was the abbreviation for his place of employment–Georgia State Prison.  No, he wasn’t an inmate, but worked as a guard there for twenty years…Get your mind out of the gutter!

Anyway, Ed and I have yet to invest in a GPS .  We don’t travel to unfamiliar territory much anymore, and besides, we still have some pretty fond memories of our first Rand McNally road atlas–and we still know how to use it!  (I’m afraid map reading may be a dying skill, these days…)

Ed and I received our first atlas as a Christmas gift, early in our marriage, and we put it to good use for many years!  During summers, we explored many of Georgia’s state parks and tourist attractions.  I became a pretty good navigator for Ed, if I must say so myself!  We used that atlas to find our way to the Great Smokey Mountains, as well as to the shores of Panama City Beach!  We eventually bought a new atlas, but never used the new one as much as we did the original one.  Times were changing–and so were we.

Yes, unfortunately times are changing–and I’m afraid it’s getting harder for some of us aging folks to keep up!  I shudder at the thought of Ed and me in the car, trying to figure out how to program that GPS!  Besides, Ed and I usually prefer to travel within familiar territory, these days.  Our eyesight, driving reflexes, and  sense of direction aren’t what they used to be–and now we have to watch out for those texting fools, too!

Which brings me to yet another thought…What would my parents think about texting?  My mama didn’t hear so good, so she’d probably think I was talking about sex instead of text!  I can only imagine what that conversation would be like!  With that thought in mind, I’ll say…

Have a great day, everyone!

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Published in: on July 31, 2012 at 9:30 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Things are a changing. I am trying my darndest to keep up. My grandmother actually remembers the ponyexpress…my granddaughter drew me a picture a few days ago and asked her mommy to send it to me via text. I received the drawing in an image via text, sent it to my email, opened it on my desktop computer and printed it. She lives almost 3 hours away but I had her drawing on my fridge in less than 5 minutes!

    I took a picture of it on my fridge and texted it back to her and she was beeming with pride, all before she headed our the door for her first day of kindergarten.

    Since we all don’t live in the same small towns like we did way back when…technology helps make our distance not seem so great.

  2. I’m straddling both technologies … we use a GPS, and I follow along with our atlas. But that may be changing soon … at my age, I need the LARGE print version, and most of the large print atlases just aren’t large enough. A couple of years ago, I bought online (the only source I could find) what I thought was a perfect large print atlas … spiral bound with print large enough for me to see well. Unfortunately, they printed the map on the entire page, so that some of the map is in the section that got bound … so I can’t read that part of the map. I didn’t realize it until AFTER I’d transferred over my notes (Chick-Fil-A and Firehouse Subs, diesel fuel and hotel locations), so I couldn’t return it. I use it, but there are times when we travel through the bound sections — frustrating. I’m looking for a replacement atlas, but so far I can find nothing with large enough print.

  3. You have a comrade here. I never set out on a trip without my 2008 Rand-McNally Road Atlas. In fact the night before I emptied out my beloved Truckito before trading it in, I put the Road Atlas aside so I’d know where it was for my next trip.
    And when I went to Key West, I packed it in my carry-on because although I was flying out of NY I would be renting a car in Florida.
    Never mind future generations and GPS, my contemporaries roll their eyes when in answer to whether I’m using GPS I point to my RMRA (Rand McNally Road Atlas for those of us in the know!

  4. We do have a GPS but I still like to look at a map. I like to see the big picture : )


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