You Can’t Always Trust Google Maps

Ah, fuck.

Me, as I rounded the corner into the back parking lot

Whenever we stop and eat we try to look ahead and find a place close to the Interstate or highway that has good parking for our long rig. Google Maps has a satellite view which is a composite image and though it doesn’t always represent the most recent construction in an area, if it shows a hotel, school, truck stop, or shopping center with a big parking lot, that generally hasn’t changed from the time the image was taken.

Well, there’s a first time for everything. On our drive between Slidell, LA and DeFuniak Springs, FL we stopped to have lunch near Pensacola. I had looked ahead and found a hotel next door that had pull around parking. So I got directions, pulled in, pulled around and… no outlet. I’ve backed a trailer off and on in my past life (I grew up with a family tree trimming business and drove a dump truck, chipper truck, lift truck, and often was towing a trailer; backing a trailer wasn’t foreign or scary), but trying to do a 3 point turn with a 34′ trailer in the back parking lot of a hotel was enough to get my dander up! I decided to go get something to eat first then tackle the (relatively minor) problem after I calmed down a bit.

This might get into the metaphysics of a travel trailer a little. If you’re like me, a recovering perfectionist (or as I heard recently, an avowed imperfectionist) who thinks he should already know everything, and who is also very subject to embarrassment with respect to ‘guy things’ and what I think other guys may think about what I should know, pulling into a parking lot with no outlet is one of those ‘new experiences’ that you weren’t thinking of when you were looking at the glossy brochures of ‘life on the road.’ Being open and curious and adventurous isn’t supposed to mean not knowing what the heck you’re doing… right? Well, sometimes it does. And learning to laugh at myself instead of getting irritated, being impatient, calling myself stupid, feeling embarrassed, well, this is a work in progress.

So when I pulled into that back parking lot and started trying to get turned back around, a guy in a pickup was very nice and offered to move out of my way to give me more room. Another young man came over from the BBQ place we were fixing to eat at and kindly offered to help. He didn’t put me down or act like a know-it-all, but he did know, and he made some suggestions. I told him I was going to eat first and calm down, but I was appreciative of the offer for help.

So, long story short, it was no big deal. I applied a couple of suggestions the young man had made, backed up as far as I could, dropped my trailer, got faced the right direction, then drove out just fine.

Live and learn. Again. Not the first time, won’t be the last. And it’s only a big deal if you let it be.

We drove a couple more hours after visiting a customer and that evening this is the view we were rewarded with. I sat out and enjoyed the view as I finished up some work. It’s all good.

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