We spent a couple of days in Niagara, and loved it. Then it was time for the second leg of the trip – Letchworth State Park, Castile, New York. The second leg had us coming out of Niagara and going through Buffalo.
I had never been to Buffalo. Neither had CJ. This was well before Google Maps existed. Please keep those three facts in mind as you read the rest of this post.
As it turned out, I was driving for this leg and CJ was navigating. I would like to state for the record that we did have the forethought to buy a map of New York before we started this journey. It wasn’t terribly detailed, but we figured it would be enough to show the main highways and get us close to Castile, where we figured we’d start seeing signs for Letchworth.
Little did we know that the map had other plans for us. For the sake of argument, let’s dub him “Mr. Grumpy Map”.
I don’t think we quite made it to the Buffalo city limits when Mr. Grumpy Map started working his magic. You see, Buffalo has several major roads that intersect with each other. We were on one of them. We wanted to be on a different one. Mr. Grumpy Map decided to take advantage of that. What follows is a reconstruction of that fateful hour.
Me: “CJ, we’re coming up to the 290.”
CJ: “Yeah, I heard you. I was trying to find where we are on the map.”
Mr. Grumpy Map: *snickers*
Me, puzzled: “Well, we’re on 384 and we’re coming up on the 290.”
CJ: “That doesn’t help. This map just has a mass of blue roads. Ok, I think we need to get on the 290 and head East.”
Mr. Grumpy Map: *grins devilishly*
(A few minutes pass)
Me: “Ok, we’re on 290 East. Now what?”
CJ: “I don’t know, the roads are all blue. There’s no detail.”
Mr. Grumpy Map: “Muhahahahahahaha!”
Me: “Well, we’re coming up on the 990, does that help?”
CJ, clearing getting upset: “No. It. doesn’t.”
Me: “We just passed exit 3A, does THAT help?”
CJ: “No! All the damn roads are blue! That’s all I have on this map! Blue roads!”
Mr. Grumpy Map: *laces fingers behind his head, sighs contently*
At this point we started hitting some heavy traffic – not a jam, just a lot of cars around us. CJ was getting frazzled that she couldn’t figure out which way to go. I was getting nervous about getting lost in upstate New York, or about suddenly needing to cross four lanes of traffic to get some exit that we needed. Somewhere in the chaos I realized that the source of our problem was that our map was no ordinary map. No, sir – it was sentient and it was having WAY too good a time messing with us.
Mr. Grumpy Map would have to go.
I could tell CJ came to the same conclusion, but didn’t want to verbalize the thought for fear that the map would somehow sabotage our tires. So, as nonchalantly as we could manage, we stopped at the first place we thought might have another map – one that wasn’t holding a grudge against us. We did, and upon studying it realized we had somehow managed to take all the right turns so far, despite Mr. Grumpy Map’s meddling. With our new map in hand, we managed to find our way out of Buffalo and made it to Letchworth without further incident. It certainly helped that our new map contained zero blue roads.
We don’t know what became of Mr. Grumpy Map, but I have two theories. He either found his way “accidentally” into the first trash can we came to, or was simply relegated to being buried in the back seat where he could exert only limited influence on the rest of our journey.