Rural Life in the UP of Michigan Some stories about life on 160 rural acres in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

March 30, 2022

Lost Drivers

Filed under: Uncategorized — admin0 @ 7:21 pm

We all know how useful GPS is for us, especially that last mile or two of an unfamiliar journey. That cheerful voice patiently moves one ever closer to the destination, and understands one-way roads and all the other hazards confronting we unsuspecting travelers. GPS does have one flaw that has bitten me, probably bitten you, and really bit a couple of guys I met on the road today.

As I was returning from the sugar bush this afternoon after a couple of hours of boiling, I noticed a vehicle stopped about half-way up our road. Our road is not heavily traveled. The mailman goes by six days a week, and the UPS truck less often. Other than that, we have some curious locals, hunters during deer season, and little other traffic. Our road is hilly and not paved, and it does not go anywhere that you can get to more easily using other routes.

I continued walking down the road towards our house and kept my eye on the stopped vehicle. As I got closer I got the feeling that it was coming towards me, but very slowly. Closer yet, and I determined the vehicle was backing up. When I was almost on top of them, I figured it out. It was a large white van (fairly new) that was towing a trailer with an older jeep-like vehicle on it. It became clear to me that the two drivers attempted to tow this trailered jeep up the hill with their 2-wheel drive van, and made it oh so close to the top. So they had to back all the way down the hill, which, to the driver’s credit, was done slowly and accurately. Getting off that narrow road by even a little bit can get you stuck as quick as you can say Jack Robinson.

I had a chat with the guys and I learned a bit about them. They lived in Chicago and had the job of picking up this jeep locally, and delivering it to Florida. My guess is their GPS felt our road saved them some mileage, so it sent them up the steep muddy slushy road. The poor guys were helpless in this situation. They seemed competent drivers when the road is paved and clear, but had no clue how to navigate our Copper Country back roads.

I told them they could back up into my driveway and try their luck leaving our road the other direction. My new friend didn’t think that would work for him. We decided that my plow truck might be the answer. So I pulled out onto the road, and, using my tow-strap, helped him hook up to my pickup; a beefy F250 4WD. The plan was to pull him to the top of the hill so he could continue on his way to Florida. After laying on the slushy ground for a while, we found a place on his van to hook my tow strap, hooked him up to the pickup, and off we went. When I got him to the top of the hill, he asked me to take him farther, which I did. I found a place in the road that had a bit of a down slope so he could get a start. Then I drove to the blacktop, parked, and motioned for him to come on ahead. I didn’t want him to stop at the stop sign if possible, so I looked for traffic before I motioned him along.

He made it around the corner and I gave him a thumbs up as he headed south down the Pelkie Road. I imagined a couple of things as I watched them drive away. First, please Mr. GPS, don’t send us down another road like this one ever again. And second, how and why do people live way out here? Being from Chicago, I’m pretty sure they had never imagined a road like the Cemetery Road in late March, and am pretty sure they never wanted to see another one.

Powered by WordPress