Day 17 The art of getting lost

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June 14th 2015
Published: June 15th 2015
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Distance driven today: 254 miles / 409 km

Cumulative distance driven: 5,065 miles / 8,151km (12,000 miles to go)

Today’s trip: Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico to Zacatecos, Zacatecos, Mecixo

Getting lost in the slums of Torreon in the morning: yes

I must have spent, over the past 3 years, close to 150 hours with the Garmin mapping software, creating detailed waypoints on the digital maps I use for this trip. I have created thousands of waypoints (individual locations on the map) and then grouped multiple waypoints together into routes. I have also created a multitude of back-up routes for this PanAmerican trip. It is fair to say that I prepared my digital maps in advance of this trip so meticulously, that even professional mapping experts would be impressed! But I also know well that, plans serve primarily as a means of mental preparation, and for expectation setting, rather than as precision instruments that are expected to be followed exactly as intended.

Even the best plans eventually have to change. It is not a question of if, but rather when your plans will break down. Dealing with the unforeseen and the things you did not plan for, is the very essence of travelling. And that is exactly what happened this morning, when I was driving out of Torreon. I made a wrong turn before leaving the city, and suddenly I was in the middle of one of the many run down suburbs. On top of that, my Garmin GPS unit, was trying to take me back to the center of the city, because I had now missed one of the previous waypoints that I had entered into my digital route the previous evening, instead of trying to take me to the next waypoint, which was another city further south. GPS units are marvelous pieces of engineering, and practically indispensable on trip like this, but they can only do what you programed them to do. If you deviated from their set parameters (like I did this morning), even a GPS unit can get lost!

And so I found myself spending close to 45 minutes, driving around in some very run down neighborhoods of the Torreon, having no idea which way to go to get out of there. I am pretty sure that I must have driven past some blocks several times, because many of the people I drove by started to look familiar to me. While I was lost, I got to see, close up, some very genuine parts of the city, which I would not have seen otherwise. I saw an outdoor church (at least that’s what it looked like), were 30-40 people had gathered, and where having a Sunday morning outdoor service! They surely seemed surprised to see me drive through on my motorcycle. I saw tons of children playing out on the street, and I saw lots of mom and pop eateries in every corner, where families would gather to have their Sunday brunch. If I would not have taken the wrong turn, and got lost, I would have never experienced this authentic Sunday morning suburb in Torreon.

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