“Wake up, Babe. The wrecker just lifted your SUV out of the pit,” said Struby, to her husband, customarily The Wily Old Editor. It was a little after midnight.
So ended the GPS-Navigation system’s assault on The-now-not-so-Wily Old Editor and his ride, a beautiful red Mazda CX-9, “Soul Red.”
I had reached the outskirts of Ocala about 5:30 PM, driving home from Jacksonville on Central Florida back roads. I had not yet deployed the Navigation system (Navi for short). I turned it on for guidance to I-75.
Navi sent me in circles, twice leading me through The Villages retirement community. For over an hour its voice demanded travel on US-301, not nearby I-75.
I had had enough. I veered away from the 301 “force field” and followed the blessed “To I-75” sign, turning west on Sumter County 470.
Navi appeared to give ground. It allowed my deviation from its preferred route, signaling I-75 was scant miles away.
Still More Trouble Ahead
Next was the “Road Closed” sign and haphazardly placed orange barrels. The barrels did NOT close my lane, just directed me into an oncoming traffic lane.
I slowed to 10 MPH. Next a dramatic drop on the right and a loud, grinding stop. Soul Red and I were stuck. The instrument panel indicated we were operational but listing right, 37 degrees to horizontal.
Soul Red’s left wheels remained on the road pavement. Her right wheels were off the pavement, dangling 2 feet over the roadbed of a lane under construction. Time 7:00.
Lovely Soul Red was beached like a steel whale.
The skilled tow truck operator arrived about 10:30, some 2 hours after my wife dashed up I-75 in case my car was no longer drivable. He surgically extricated Soul Red 90 minutes later, using makeshift wedges under the fallen right wheels.
*A BMW toppled into the pit, just moments after I had.
* The night manager at the nearby Texaco station said at least one car a night had taken the plunge.
*A Sumter County Deputy Sheriff agreed with the tow man that “this was the worst marked detour” ever. DOT “had a lot to answer for,” the two opined.
Navi’s Aversion to Interstate Highways
An instrument setting that permits “freeway” (as in California?) travel was not “on.”
Was the incident Navi’s revenge on The Wily Old Editor for refusing to go in more circles on US 301?
Soul Red’s underside and dignity were scratched. She was otherwise sound and quite fit to drive.