Google Maps and the Road Less Traveled

My Mom and I took a road trip to Robber’s Cave in Oklahoma over the weekend for Mother’s Day.

Robber’s Cave State Park and everything around it was beautiful, and I would highly recommend checking it out. And we had a wonderful time, even if there was a tarantula on the front door of our cabin one night. I named her Carol Ann because she was crawling toward the light.

But what I want to discuss is the road situation in Oklahoma and wonder aloud what Google Maps was thinking when it – probably due to a glitch in a part that was developed by men who refused to ask for directions – gave us an adventure of a lifetime.

Seriously, Google Maps?

On the way there, the only detour we had was in McAlester when a road was blocked – presumably because it was washed out in recent rains, because based on the remainder of my experience on rural Oklahoma roads, it was definitely not road construction or routine maintenance.

This took us on a mini-adventure south on back roads that would make Deliverance weep with envy. We were back on a real highway before we drove through a blast zone, which may be one of the highlights of my adult driving life. Obviously, we survived.


The way home, though, was second only to my first driving experience in Atlanta. The difference in the two was in Atlanta I felt as though I had been shot out of a cannon strapped into an unfamiliar rental car; the Oklahoma experience involved less fear, more laughter and the faint sound of banjos playing.

For some reason, Google Maps took us back out of the state park through the blast zone and then into the twilight zone.

Google Maps instructed us to take a highway (it would be unfair to the locals to mention it, really)  that was long and weird and fun. The first thing we noted was that there was no shoulder, only four-inch drop offs of chunky asphalt. And pot holes, lots of them. Faint remnants of road patches  from days gone by could be seen sporadically.

In this one  little town, Google Maps told me to turn left onto the same highway we had been on. I thought this was odd, but I complied.

The route had us turn in to a convenience store parking lot, which then turned into the highway again. I swear.

That’s when things got weird.

Although there were no shoulders, there were definitely lines in the middle of the road. Lots of them everywhere. In fact, it looked like the road crew drank their lunch, grabbed brushes and paint buckets and started walking down the road.

In fact, for miles in front of us all you could see were wavy bright yellow lines intersecting with off-center lines. It was like an asphalt fun house, daring you to go off the shoulder and ruin your tires. It was intense. And it was hilarious.

My guess is that the county commissioner owns a tire shop and stock in Keystone Light. Mom thinks they contracted it out and paid for it in beer.

At some point we managed to find food, and finally into another county where the dizziness wore off.

And there were creeks. So. Many. Creeks. I suspect the proper pronunciation is crick. Either way, Oklahomans name creeks with a weird gusto. My two personal favorites were Clear Boggy Creek and Muddy Boggy Creek.

Then there was more laughter and pointing out the beauty and weirdness that, in turns, surrounded us.

We drove through beautiful communities; towns I didn’t even know existed; over Lake Texoma; and somehow crossed back into Texas and out of Twilight north of Nocona. Things were unweird again.

Weird is not always bad.

Sometimes the road less travelled really is more fun.

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