Wednesday, April 18, 2012


My sister, Ellen, has always given me and anyone else extraordinary directions.  I have a whole file of them I use again and again.  Also Jim has a gps in his head so most of the time I don't miss that gadget folks are so crazy about. Oh and did I mention that because of where I live the darn things take people up seasonal roads to get here?  All these together have kept me from even thinking of getting a gps.

On the last day in Rhode Island, Ellen and I were invited to Lynn's farm in central western RI, west of West Warwick to deliver some hand dyed fiber and to see and touch her new Golden Gigi spinning wheel.  I did want to meet Lynn since we had only spoken on the phone but the Gigi tipped the scales so we made some time to get there.

The night before Ellen got out her maps and wrote down her instructions.  That day we got onto 295 north looking for an exit that would take us to 12.  When we were approaching Smithfield I said, "ummmm I think we are too far north.  We are nearing Mass. now, right?"  My sister has lived in RI for over 40 years so she does know her way around that state but this was the 'wild's of  RI so less known to her.

We got off and on and started south thinking we might have missed the exit as we were talking.  But we still did not see anything for 12.  Eventually we pulled to the side and took out a RI map, found 12, found where we thought we were, exited and drove toward 12 on a smaller road.  Finally we stopped at a Dunkin Donuts, thinking we needed the bathroom, some tea/coffee and maybe some personal directions.  No one working there had any idea where rt 12 was!  uh oh

So we get back into her car and Ellen opens her Android to see if it can locate us.  Sure enough it knew exactly where we were even if we didn't.  Now the fun began as we were both gps neophytes.

We pushed buttons and pushed buttons and back buttons and other buttons until we found a google app that seemed to know what to do.  It told us to turn around and go in the other direction.  Well, not it, a nasal sounding woman who turned out to be extremely patient with us.

We drove along with me holding the Android.  The last time a gps was in my car I nearly threw it out the window as it talked incessantly.  This woman only spoke when needed.  We started to like her.  She told us we were almost at the farm, then she told us we were past the farm and showed a picture of a field.  And I could see that field out the window.  !!!!!! We, well I, were mesmerized, while Ellen tried hard not to look and drive.  We got turned around and found the driveway.  WOW!!!  Impressed was us.

The visit with Lynn was delightful.  She lives in a restored farm house on their horse ranch.  She also grows her own hay so I took some back to upstate NY where Gummy and Keeper are now munching sweet tasty supple RI hay.

The Gigi was something else again.  It weighs 30 pounds, has 3 flyers and the wheel itself is weighted so once you get it going it just goes and goes.  This thing practically spins the fiber by itself.  I barely needed to treadle (similar to Jim's wheel) and when I stopped treadling it kept going on its own.  Oh my, oh my.
BTW I am told there is a 6 year waiting list for this treasure.

Lynn also showed us a jar of Copper dyeing solution she made from copper wire, ammonia and vinegar.   The water color was deep indigo.  And since no cooking is needed (as Cu is a mordant) I was intrigued. Right now I am looking for a large glass jar to make my own. Anyone have one of those industrial sized mayonnaise or pickle jars?

After we left Lynn's we headed back to a nursery we had passed to get some pansies.  Yes, I know it was only the first week of April, but all this warm weather had me wanting some color and pansies can take a bit of frost.  Back in the car we decided to test the Android gps by having it take us back to Newport.  Ellen knew how to get there so this was going to be easy to judge.  It took a bit of fumbling and button pushing for us to get the thing going again.  Yes, probably there was a simple way to do it but what did we know and we did not have a teenager handy.

The same woman was helping us.  We named her Mabel.  We discussed changing to a different helper but since she was so patient with us we didn't want to offend her by leaving her.  After all its not her fault she has a sinus problem.  She got us onto a route (I forget which I was so distracted) and then onto 295 heading in the right direction.  We were thrilled!  We loved that Mabel told us turn right 100 feet ahead, go for 3 miles and then the thing would show how many miles were left.  I recited these visuals to Ellen who really wanted to look at the screen but restrained herself.  We were hooting and laughing at ourselves and at our pleasure in finding this new toy.

On 295 I felt confident enough to press another button and wha la there was a 2d perspective image of us as a pulsing blue arrow with the road we were on and other crossing roads and another simpler arrow showing what direction we would be going.  Our road curved to the left and so did the picture. Our road straightened out and so did the picture. It was all we could do to drive and stay in lane what with our excitement at this discovery.  "Ellen, Ellen the blue arrow is moving.  It's US!  Now its showing water and the Jamestown Bridge."  When we got near a bridge the picture changed to water and land as our pulsing blue arrow slowly made its way across.  We were whooping and tearing and laughing so hard.

We had programmed the thing for Ellen's house but once in Newport decided to go to a restaurant instead.  Mabel was so patient with us, she kept redoing the directions trying to get us to turn left up the hill instead of right and flat.  Each time we passed the street she wanted us to turn on she would reorganize and tell us patiently about another turn we could make.  It was a big hoot and totally fun.

I don't know how anyone can actually drive safely with all this entertainment in front of them unless they have someone sitting next to them. Even then it would be hard. This app is addicting and fun and amazing.  Perhaps once one gets used to a gps it isn't such a distraction, but really, this is as bad as texting and not against any law.

I want me one.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I hate GPS, but I also love my Android GPS. I especially like the fact it doesn't tell me I'm going the wrong way, it just reroutes me instead. I also love being able to find and navigate to restaurants. So cool :)