Scrolling Saturday: April 2005.

For Scrolling Saturday I have unearthed this old post:

Maps for Road Tripping April 29, 2005

I love road trips, the campier, the crazier and the longer – the better. To overly plan a road trip is to spoil it. You may have an ultimate destination but it’s the journey that really counts. Take time to get lost. Wander. Make frequent stops for no good reason. Coffee, knickknacks, tourist traps, farmers markets, flea markets, fresh honey, odd road signs, adventure and other things so essential to life yet so often overlooked for lack of ‘time’.

You may wonder why a road tripper ever needs a map. Let alone a collection of them. I do love them, they make the trip that much more fun. Mainly, you absolutely must have the backroad maps to wherever you may be wandering. Should you get hopelessly lost (lucky you!), as you’re laughing, sipping roadside coffee and wondering how you ended up so far to the left, a good road map will be your guide to possible alternative routes. Never take the map seriously though. There are always glitches. You’ll find them as you drive along and realize the map never had this road or that turn or that dead end approaching right in front of your car bumper. That is the odd thing about maps, they are imperfect but trying so hard to be correct. Maps are friendly and confused, so very likeable.

I think of maps as those drawings from the early explorers. Those men who trekked out to places completely unknown and tried to draw a guide to what they were seeing. Not just flora and fauna but rivers, lakes, mountains, valleys and everything else they stumbled upon. Ancient explorers were the earliest road trippers. Before cars, there were ships. Before ships there were horses. Before horses there were just people walking around wishing they knew how long it was to the next grocery store for snackage. No, just kidding, you knew there were no grocery stores back then, right?

The first maps were wonky. They didn’t have perspective and distances were not measured equally. Now we have science which has given us exacting measurements and the tools to create beautifully detailed maps. Cartography and related sciences are things modern road tripping types can be grateful for. Think of them next time you’re looking for the right house on the right street in the right town.

Now, go, take your itchy feet, let the wanderlust possess you. Take along a map, it’s like a good friend who will never laugh at your navigational skills.
Road Map Collectors Association
International Map Collector’s Society
History of Cartography

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