Once upon a time, before the Garmin or cell phone GPS, there was The Map. A great device for figuring out how to get where you were going. What is a Road Map after all but an adventure waiting to be unfolded!
When I took Drivers Ed (100 years ago, lol), we had a whole section on reading and understanding a map which required our team to use one to plan a trip and answer quiz questions. This was a great life skill. I feel like so many of these “old school” skills are fading away. To this day, I prefer a paper map over GPS. Just like I would rather read a real book over one on my kindle. Now on a big trip, I usually use the GPS but still follow along on the map. It comforts me. Several times when the GPS directions have been wonky or we have lost signal, the map has saved our butts!
Part of what I love about my AAA Auto Club membership is that in addition to getting discounts on hotels, air and other travel arrangements I get Tour books or Maps whenever I need them at no charge. My husband and I have had many adventures by letting a map lead us somewhere. That’s Adventure!
One year when our kids were young, we bought a children’s illustrated atlas of the US and told them that they got to help plan our summer vacation. The only boundary was that since it was just a week, we had to pick one section of the country to work within.
Each of us got a turn picking a destination. Start/Home was Michigan, my son went first and picked the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. Next up, our daughter chose the Hershey factory in Hershey, Pennsylvania. My husband and I chose a stop in Washington DC to see some of the awesome national monuments (sneaking in something educational bahahaha) and then drove on to the Wright Brothers Museum on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. It was a big deal since that was the 100 years of flight celebration. After that we found our way to Myrtle Beach for a few days of out of the car fun and relaxation. My rule was I got to float around a lazy river 1 lap for every 100 miles we drove. The Atlas provided the blueprint and contained a lot of mini games and activities for the kids along the way. This was a great trip.
My husband and I did our first wine tasting on our Honeymoon in 1990 at of all places Epcot’s French pavilion. It became our thing. Michigan has a lot of wineries so that provided easy access for us to continue this pursuit.
Every year the Wine council releases a Michigan Wine Magazine that is full of articles on wineries and best of all maps! We grab the new issue each spring and read through it until it becomes dog-eared. The maps illustrate different quadrants of the state and note all the wineries in that area. Whenever we have the opportunity to do some exploring we flip open the magazine to the appropriate area map and meander our way to a wine tasting or two. These explorations have taken us in circles, on wrong turns and dead ends sometimes, but that was half the fun. I still love these wine tasting Map-Ventures.
Grand Rapids, AKA Beer City, has a fun Ale Trail Map. You can pick up a “brewery passport” and collect stamps at the places you stop and have a beer. Once you have the required number of stamps, you can redeem for prizes. Traverse City offers a similar program, but the prize isn’t quite as cool as GR. Another nice thing about the trail in Grand Rapids is that the locations are much closer together than TC. When we did a weekend trip there, we started at the sites the furthest out by car, then checked into a hotel and finished them up on foot. It was a cool and safe Day Trip adventure.
Passing it on
Apparently I have passed the map passion on to my daughter as well. One of the first big trips that she and her fella took together was a driving trip through the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. They drove around following the map and finding cool places to hike and explore. Just letting the trip unfold, like their map. It’s good to know that Map-ventures live on.
So next time you have a weekend without any plans, grab yourself a map and go on a quest. Pack some bottled water and snacks, and put on your favorite tunes. Just relax and see where things go. Most of all power down the electronics and just have some old fashioned fun.