I hate GPS with a fiery passion. I don't allow it in my vehicles. I am an extremely calm dude (you have to be to teach middle school shop class), but nothing brings me to a frothy rage quicker than some pushy electronic bitch, telling me some bassakwards way to get somewhere. When we got smart phones a few years ago, my wife quickly learned to stop turning that shit on.
I feel like it's making our society dumber. You should be able to get from the place that you live, to a place that you regularly go to, without step by step instructions. I see it all the time, intelligent people, who turn into drooling morons whenever its time to go from A to B. I'll use my dad as an example, a man who I've seen drive from Chicago to Clearwater, FL and back at least a dozen times, without so much as glancing at a road atlas. Now that he has GPS, forget it. He can't even make it to Indianapolis, a route which has approximately three turns, a route which he's driven at least 100 times. Now I get a call the night before we meet at the Indy 500 every year. "What's the address?". I don't even know the address, I just go there.
For me, part of the fun of driving, is knowing how to get places. Everytime I move to a new area, I drive around a lot. I get lost, I find my way back, I study maps, I drive around some more. Before long, I can get around town better than most people who've lived all their life there. Why do I do it? Because it's fun! Because I love driving. Once I know an area, I can just drive. I don't need to think about where I'm going, I don't need to look it up. I just go. If I hit traffic, or construction, I know three or four alternate routes.
What do I do when I'm going somewhere new? I'm not a complete luddite, I look it up on google maps. Not on my damn phone with the tiny ass screen, on my computer, with a 24" monitor (OK, occasionally on my phone). I look it up, I study the route for a minute, and then I usually just go. If the route has a bunch of turns, I'll scribble the turns and directions down on a scrap of paper. If its a really tricky route, I might sketch a quick little map. Rarely do I actually look at either the directions or the map once I'm driving, but if I do forget what the next turn is, its good to have them to glance at. Occasionally I do get a bit lost, so I look at a map. I figure out where I am (top tip, read the street signs, if you know what road you're on, and you know the last two streets you crossed, you now know where you are, and what direction you're heading), and then I get back on track. That never takes more than a couple of minutes, and even that is rare. As a side benefit, I now have learned more, and can get myself around even better.
Anybody else out there like me? Anybody else so bold as to go somewhere new, without a GPS? It's really quite fun to drive around, knowing where you're going. More people should try it.