Ezra Dyer, a reporter at Popular Mechanics, decided to ditch the GPS system he has on his car and the mapping service on his phone to see how hard it could be to go to North Carolina from his home, Louisville, Kentucky. He shares his experience: I begin downtown, by the river. It seems that if I get on 32 East, I can find Route 150 toward Tennessee. It takes about one block for my plan to fall apart. The street I'm on dead-ends and forces me onto a seemingly parallel road that soon wanders off at an angle. I discover that there's the fancy, Kentucky Derby side of Louisville, but also the Thorobred Lounge gentleman's club side. Somehow, I blunder onto Interstate 264, a ring road, where the exit numbers indicate that I'm at least ten miles from where I thought I was. And yet, it works out. See, this is the way you used to do it. You keep driving. I exit for Route 32 and settle in for a long drive east. I aim to make it to Knoxville by dinner without having any real idea of whether that's possible. It doesn't help that my atlas crams all of Kentucky onto two pages, printed with fonts evidently developed by those calligraphers who can write the Magna Carta on a piece of capellini. So I stop at a gas station to buy a local map. There are none to be found, so I pull into the next gas station. Then a third. In my mind's eye, there are metal racks at every gas station, over near the door, stocked with maps. Well, those don't exist anymore. I don't know when they disappeared, but they're gone. "Try Walmart," says one cashier, as if I could find it. About an hour in, I'm in traffic-clogged strip-mall hell, stoplights to the horizon. The upside is that I have no concept of time. Instead of compulsively checking a screen to anguish over my plight, I drive. I'm curiously peaceful. I can't do anything about the traffic, so I exist in it, placid. And eventually it gives way, the stoplights dissipating into lush Kentucky countryside. The Defender is happy to amble along at 55 mph, so amble I do, down to Route 150 toward the Tennessee border. Read the full story here.
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