The Joys of “Not Getting Lost”

Nah, this isn’t some think piece with the “directionally challenged”/”directionally gifted” as metaphors for anything. This is just about NSEW orienteering. 🙂

“Not getting lost” in America’s Third World County™ is more fun than not getting lost in Boston or Dallas or wherever. For the first ten years after we moved to America’s Third World County™,navigating the back roads was. . . interesting. No names apart from informal names that could (and did) change according to family or neighborhood tradition, or simply an individual’s idiosyncratic choice. The road “system” also reflects the fact that this is a geographically rugged area (Ozarks, and all the hills, valleys, streams, creeks and rivers that implies) that was settled (more or less) before the idea of section lines really took hold, so, while other rural areas in other parts of the country might give directions by section line, etc., not so here. NSEW and geographical features were the primary means of providing directions to places within the county that fell off the map of state roads.

The official county map was not a lot of help, either. Many roads didn’t even appear on the map of county-maintained roads and the roads that did had designations not acknowledged by those who lived on them. Rural postal routes were more useful as directions than the official county designations. Made my “hobby” of driving the back roads more fun.

Then, when the county began instituting a 911 system, roads started getting names (including the street in town that we had lived on for 10 years with no address), names that usually reflected longstanding tradition. Now, Gobbler’s Knob, Granny’s Branch and Pine Log Road (which Internet mapping services still often get laughably wrong, despite more than a decade having passed since it was formally named) are all easily found on a 911 map, though I know lifelong residents who have NO idea where they are located. Not their neighborhoods.

I’d like the gig of being The County Guide. *sigh* 😉

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