Thursday, November 5, 2015


The  first time I crossed the continent I was only six months old.  In the summer of 1948 my family drove from Wilmington Delaware to Tacoma Wahington because my father was working as a summer substitute preacher there. I have no memory of the trip, but I know that although they carried a camera and took a few photos,  they carried neither phone nor iPad. 

Our trip this fall has been shaped by media, GPS, and electronics. These modern conveniences have transformed our travel. The most important app we use is our Google Maps. Although we have a GPS navigator in the car, we have found that Google gives us much more information, and allows us to make choices for ourselves. As we plan our route we can see mileage and an estimated arrival time. Each time we stop the app recalculates so we see the effects of a leisurely lunch on our arrival time.  I leave the phone plugged into the car charger because the location function rapidly drains the battery. 

As we set out each morning, we are fresh and focused.  But as we approach noon we begin to think of lunch. In the eastern states it was easy to find a rest stop every 25 miles or so to spread our picnic. But by the time we got to Ohio it wasn't so easy. In addition the clouds were gathering. I checked Weather Underground which showed rain approaching on the green radar layer. What to do?

I did a quick search and found a basic rest stop app that I could download. Voilà. There was a rest stop 20 miles ahead and it even gave me the mile marker. 

I don't usually depend on my phone for photos but in the car the phone camera is perfect for car photos. It is both high quality and easy to focus as we hurtle along. I was able to capture tha flavor of our 8 hour voyage across Kansas without a single photo stop. 

Our first two nights were spent with friends but the third night we needed a motel. I used my Expedia app to locate a hotel read reviews, and pay for the reservation after we had decided how far we could get that night. 

It was confusing to keep track of the time zone changes as we headed west. Our car clock is still set for MA but our phones adjusted effortlessly each time we crossed to a new zone. 

We didn't stop often for fuel, but when we needed diesel fuel it helped to turn to Gas Buddy to locate a service station. 

As we drove through a desolate corner of UT last Thursday night, where there were almost no radio stations, we could follow the play by play as the Patriots took care of the Dolphins. 

And I posted more than one blog from the front seat as Peter drove 

iTravel is pretty cool I'd say. 

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