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Today in random GPS stories

Popped up on my tech news site.

Couple of interesting comments that sounded like things I would have done.

Travelling from Durango Colorado to Reserve New Mexico, Google Maps routed me to a “road” that was simply a dry stream bed, in the middle of a large Indian reservation, in high desert wilderness, many miles from any human habitation.

It happened gradually. First I was directed to a well maintained gravel road, then to dirt track, which slowly faded away to nothing.

I was driving a 4x4, had an almost full tank, a load of groceries in back and plenty of time, so I went with it for quite a while. There are lots of long dirt tracks in this area and I kept hoping that it was still a short cut. The shortest alternate route was around 90 minutes longer.

I think most travelers would have bailed at the first turn off of the pavement. I waited until the stream bed sand was getting deep before turning around. But for some optimistic, mobility impaired person, it could have been a death trap. I’ve adjusted my expectations of Google Maps accordingly.

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And this exchange was a bit sobering:

As a backcountry motorcyclist I’m accustomed to coming upon roads that are “private” because some rancher decided to hang a sign but in reality it’s a public right-of-way. Also as a backcountry motorcyclist I’m smart enough to not drive a Prius down a mud trail. Not sure what is wrong with people today. We have more information than ever, we should be making better decisions than ever, but the truth is the opposite.

Be careful ignoring those “private” signs though. I ignored such a sign in south Texas, took a dirt road (in a 4x4) that was mapped as a public road (both on paper and Google), only to have a rifle shot cross my path about 5 minutes later.

Ended up having a fairly civil conversation with the “owner” before turning around, but he was adamant that I was on private property and would not be allowed to continue.

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