Road trip: Old School.

trash bag and maps
I love technology. I marvel at the immense conveniences and benefits of our time. Take Waze, for instance. How amazing is it to enter your destination and not only be given verbal instructions, but to be routed around traffic and warned of stopped cars, police, speed camera and more. Truly unbelievable. And now, Waze talks in terms of time, not distance. So instead of, drive 30 miles and then keep right, it says drive 37 minutes and then, keep right. Now if that isn’t thinking about the way the user thinks, I don’t know what is. Very, very cool.

But you know what? I miss spreading out my maps and plotting my path. I miss seeing what is along the way – or not – and thinking about where I’ll stop and what I’ll do. I miss visualizing my path ahead of time and while I’m on the way to where I’m going. And I miss pulling out the map on the side of the road and figuring out where I am when I get lost. The getting lost part – that was part of the adventure.

I never get lost anymore.

Is that a good thing? I’m not so sure.

My AAA membership expires tomorrow. I’ve been a member for as long as I can remember.

Back in the day, it was hard to find someone to help you if you had car trouble 10 miles outside Duluth and didn’t know anyone west of Ohio. It was impossible to know if stumbling upon Sam at Sharky’s Garage was a stroke of luck or a nightmare waiting to happen. But today? Yelp. Today? Google. Today? Easy.

Sure, it’s an option to self-insure a tow by joining AAA. But the thing is, I’ve been a member for 20+ years at $50-75 per year and have been towed once. Now, the tow was free. But add it up, and not so much free. Yes, they have lots of discounts and offerings but I don’t use them. The AAA hotel discount? I can find that rate a hundred different ways, or frankly just by asking.

So, I’m not renewing my AAA membership. It isn’t a decision I came to lightly. But I’ve been thinking about maps a lot lately and have regretted not having good street maps in the car. Sure, I could go out and buy them but since they’re a part of my membership, I scurried over to pick some up before the end of the month. I got 12 maps.

Assuming I’ve been a member 25 years and the average cost per year was $62.50, that’s $1,562.60. Let’s take out the tow back in 2003 (I’ll call that $150) and the average cost per map I just got is $117.71. Just saying, they weren’t really free. However, as Andrew always says, “Sunk costs are sunk,” and now I have some new maps.

The main reason I’m posting, though, is that awesome trashbag they threw in with the maps. Now, I have a trashbag in my car, already. But this one? This one brings back some great memories. And it made me laugh out loud.

Do you remember these? The bag hangs on the window crank. See that round hole? Now tell me, how would you hang it in your car? There’s no place in mine, for sure. (You might say the lighter/power source, but there’s not enough room UNDER it to let the bag hang. At least not in our cars.)

So, so retro.

4 thoughts on “Road trip: Old School.

  1. This is a big deal, Wendy. When my grandma finally had to stop driving, she cried when she had to call AAA to cancel her membership. She’d been a member over 50 years, and if she ever made her own travel plans she still went down to their office and had their travel service make them. It’s the end of an era. It’s the end of good memories that our kids just won’t understand.

    1. It really is the end of an era. We spent a lot of time with our kids when they were younger teaching them about maps and the highway system and navigation and it’s paid off. But they’ll never understand what it was like without these tech tools – and just discovering.

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