Sunday, October 19, 2008

Greta, Part II

We are such dorks ...

As we considered our camping options for the night, we used a regular old road atlas and the AAA Colorado travel guide to get the big picture on where we were and then we used Greta to help us find specific places and come up with the details on distance, driving time, ambient temperature and such. We had many options but the most promising looked to be near Denver, Eagle or Glenwood Springs. It was also at this time that we returned to looking at the bigger picture of what is was going to take to get us to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

By our rough estimate, it took us 12-13 hours to get us to our Grand Island stop. That meant we should have about 15 hours of driving left. Putting in an 8-9 hour day today should get us close enough to the North Rim that we might be able to check-in and take in some sights before dark! And had we broken camp even an hour late, we might've been able to reach our next stop at a reasonable hour.

And Greta agreed with us. Kind of...

Greta has two screens (besides her maps) that give us driving tips and information. The first screen comes up with a list of all your requested destinations with accompanying mileage and cute little arrows pointing in the general direction. Let's say we're looking up "Denver." This can quickly become a game of "pick a Denver, any Denver." Who would've thought there are, like, a million Denvers?! And of all the possible Denvers that we could want to go to, Greta asks us if we want to go to Denver, Indiana! And what would be the reasoning behind listing the one Denver we're interested in, the closest Denver, the biggest Denver and the best known Denver, next to last on her list? Spite? Malice? Obnoxiousness? It certainly had nothing to do with proximity or even alphabetical order! Denver, AR was half a world away. Denver, CO was 271.3 miles away. That's the one we wanted. We wanted the Denver we could drive to in less than four hours!

Next, we asked Greta to guide us to Eagle, CO and to remember Denver as a stop on the way. Eagle showed up as 287.6 miles away with a little arrow pointing toward the southwest.

Great. We should be in Eagle in about four hours, maybe a little more depending on Denver traffic.

Then there's another screen that gives detailed, turn-by-turn directions. So we could easily find out how far it is to Denver, then from Denver to Eagle. To get to Eagle from I-80 we'd take I-76 to Denver. Then we'd meet up with I-70 in Denver and head west for 126.9 miles to Eagle.

And all of the sudden, things weren't adding up. (You can double check our math, but I'm thinking even a Countrywide mortgage broker would have a hard time adding 126 and 271 and coming up with 287 ...)

In our minds we suddenly envisioned not just a long night, but a very long night. And probably a much longer day on the road tomorrow than we hoped for

And how many times had Greta already done this to us over the last couple of days?

"How far to the Grand Canyon?" I asked.

Shawn asked Greta.

"Depends," she said, "on whether we want to believe the Good Greta or the Evil Greta."

The figures were mind numbing and in this moment of clarity we realized that unless we drove all night we would somehow fall almost a whole day behind schedule! It was inconceivable, but adding up the numbers between the little red arrows on the road atlas confirmed it.

Forget camping in Denver, Eagle, or Glenwood Springs. Unless we drove clear across Colorado to Grand Junction tonight we'd be pulling up to the North Rim sometime in October.

We cursed Greta knowing she wouldn't care and drove on to Denver where we connected with I-70.

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