Saturday, November 15, 2008

Never Totally Trust the Navigator

My daughter graduated in May from the University and I had already bought her a book as a gift but somehow it did not seem valuable enough for such an accomplishment. We had very good experiences about navigators on our visit in Israel and we also had several problems travelling to unfamiliar places to dog shows. So I decided that we would buy her a GPS navigator and our choice was Tom Tom which is probably the most popular here even though we had Mio in Israel.

The following story is really embarrassing for both me and my daughter but I decided to tell it anyway. About three weeks ago we were once again leaving for a dog show in Hämeenlinna, about 140 km from here. We have been there often and if we had been wise, we would have used the navigator near the destination. However since the gadget was new, we started to use it from home.

We left very early, about 6 am and it was still a bit dark when we started the journey. The navigator asked if it could include roads with no asphalt and we answered yes. Here it is not a big deal. We have smaller country roads which are not covered. They are not very bad; maybe longer but they don't have so much traffic. That was our second mistake...

The start from home was different than we normally used but since we used the motorway, we thought that there was a link to the main road we normally use. The motorway was definitely the faster option. Then about 25 km from our starting point the navigator started to change our direction. At first all went well, but when the navigator told us to choose a very narrow country road, we were a bit hesitant. Our third mistake...

The road started fine but the longer we drove, the more bumpy the road got. There were rocks on the road and it was so narrow that only one car could drive it at a time. It had been raining a lot in the past days and there was wet clay on the road. By the time we realized we should not have taken that road, we could not really turn back anywhere.

The last thing was a steep downhill towards the river. The middle part of the road was so high that we got totally stuck. At that point the whole road was just clay, no solid part anywhere. Piitu did not make it to the dog show that day. She was not disappointed. She just loved to run around the field near by.

The next thing was to call a tow truck to get us out of there. The most curious thing was that the truck driver did not find us. He said that according to his navigator there is no road there! My daughter walked to the intersection and the truck backed up to us... well almost to us because his truck could not take the last 200 meters.

The truck driver contacted the farmer whose fields were surrounding the road and he came to take a look. He was a bit pissed off but promised to pull us up with his tractor. I can understand his annoyance; he told that we were the third ones he had to save that week (!) because the navigator had told to use that road even though he had several times informed the municipality that the road must get a sign informing that it can't be used. It really was a field road for tractor traffic!

Here is the tractor which saved us. It has the huge plough equipment on the back.

Here the car is finally getting out of trouble:

Safe and even working:

Here is the picture from the Google Maps and it shows the road also. We were stuck at the spot where the red cross is. I heard later that if we had managed to cross the river we probably would not have made it to the Google pointer anyway...the direction we should have followed is the yellow one.

Both of us blamed ourselves for what happened. Well, there is a saying that what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger. The wheels and the bottom of the car have now been washed and the toe has been adjusted.

One of the family members said that maybe this prevented us from facing a far worse accident. Well, we'll never know that :)

1 comment:

Unknown said...

that happened to me, i was in Geraldton, western Australia(country WA) and we were sent down a dirt road and then got to a 4x4 path that our clubsport couldn't go down since its a sports car, we had to turn around go though a small creek!we ended up getting to the camp that my fiaonce was at, finally about 2hrs late! he was working up there doing pipeline fitting, for the new wa pipeline