Thursday, May 24, 2012

Off the Map

Trey Smith


I live in a small town in a rural county far from any large cities. South Bend is approximately 135 miles from either Seattle, WA (northeast) or Portland, OR (southeast), the two nearest population centers. There are no stoplights in this little town. There are no corporate-owned stores. There is only one gas station (a mini mart owned by my friend, Paul), one grocery store, one pharmacy and one hardware store. In more ways than one, we're sort of off the map.

However, we live in a computerized world. Go to MapQuest or Google Maps and you can see an aerial view of our town (including my house). Despite the fact that these online maps clearly show the street layout of South Bend, delivery drivers (e.g., UPS, Fed Ex, etc.) have a hard time locating specific addresses in our town.

Why this is so I have nary a clue!

Della and I live on the western most street in town. We live near the top of what locals call Nob Hill. It is a dead end street which means it has no outlets. Unless you go back the way you came, you must stop somewhere on our street or else go driving off into the forest that drops into a ravine!

I can't tell you how many times commercial trucks or passenger cars come up our street only to discover there is no outlet. They often stop near the front of my house and I can see the driver looking perplexed. He or she will look around wildly and then, after some excited muttering, turn the vehicle around to go back from whence they came.

On a few occasions, the enterprising driver decides to try the grassy alley that runs along the north side of our property. What a shock it must be when they realize that the alley simply runs down an incline to the back of an abandoned home nestled in the woods!

I know what part of the problem is. I have learned that many companies don't show South Bend, Washington on their proprietorial mapping systems. They know this town indeed exists, but it is unmapped territory. So, the drivers often are left to their own devises and far too many of them obviously don't know about the wonders of MapQuest or Google Maps!

1 comment:

  1. Isn't the road marked? Cul-de-sac, no through road or dead end?

    From the description you gave I'm fairly sure I could find your place. I'm personally rubbish for learning road names. I know the one I live on but as for the other 3 between here and the station, I know them but not their names. I don't even know the name of our main st, I just refer to it as 'you know, the main one'.

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