I currently write a column each Tuesday for the DeKalb
Daily Chronicle. The column will also appear on this website
each week and be added to the archives.
The Articles started December 2007.
If you've missed any please follow the links on the dates
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New travel companion Mabel worth keeping
By Barry Schrader.................................September
Once we keyed in the destination from DeKalb to Columbus,
all I had to do was sit back and steer. No more missed turns,
confusion about freeway signage, arguments with my copilot, pullovers
to read the map, or outbursts when said map is torn to shreds
in desperation when all else fails. Mabel made it seem like I
was getting drivers ed training from a pro.
My wife and I take road trips now and then, but they lose
their luster when we get lost or argue over routes on the map.
Now I think we have found the ideal solution.
the past month we acquired a little device the size of a cellphone
which is formally known as a portable GPS auto navigation
device. It sets on your dash or in a cupholder between
the front seats of the car. And it talks to you. On our recent
trip to Columbus, Ohio we tried her out for the first
time. She was dubbed Mabel by a friend who rode with
us around the Ohio State campus there and enjoyed her calm, business-like
directions that came at regular intervals.
No more crumpled maps and frazzled
on car trips using Mabel
When I missed a turnoff she would calmly state that the next
exit where I could turn around was 2.1 miles ahead, then at the
half mile mark she would remind me to turn right up ahead and
then just before the turn she rang a bell. When we got to Columbus
and found two freeway exits near our hotel closed for construction
I kept ignoring her instructions to turn, but each time she said
recalculating route using the GPS satellite hovering
over our car at several thousand feet, then shortly told me where
to turn next, even mentioning take the next legal U-turn
so I wouldnt get in trouble with the local traffic patrol.
It made the trip so much more enjoyable and probably
saved on gas as well. Missing an exit off the freeway or tollway
can be costly, having to go another three miles to turn around
and come back to the missed exit.
know why they didnt invent this device 30 or 40 years ago.
We could have had so many more enjoyable trips during all those
years. It all goes back to the old (stupid) saying: Real
men dont need maps
subject, I wanted to comment on how well the Sycamore Steam Power
Show and Threshing Bee went this year. We even got to buy some
corn meal freshly-ground by Maynard Petersen and his family and
the homemade cornbread that resulted tasted mighty good.
But not all was well for one family that has been
involved in the show and club for many years. One of the directors,
85-year-old Dean Warrington was driving one of his antique tractors
on Lenschow Road to the show earlier in the week when he was
rear ended by a car driven by a Streamwood man and seriously
injured. Warrington was thrown from the tractor and ended up
with a broken leg, several stitches in his scalp, road rash and
internal injuries. He is still undergoing rehab and his family
hopes he will be able to return home to Hampshire this week.
In case you want to send a card to wish him a speedy recovery
mail it to P.O. Box 477, Hampshire, IL. 60140. His tractor fared
even worse than him and is a total loss. It had just been refurbished
by a family member for Warringtons 85th birthday in June
and this would have been its first appearance at the Steam Power
Show. We sure hope to see his machinery exhibited under the Frugal
Farmer sign as usual again next year.
The columnist can be reached via email at :
or by snailmail at:
PO Box 851
DeKalb, Ill 60115