Another Use For Your GPS Unit

GPS systems are now standard in most new vehicles and the portable units are very popular.  Very handy they are too, especially for city navigating.

However, I have found an amusing and entertaining use for them when touring country areas.

Program your unit to seek the shortest route.  If travelling from your home to a distant country location then use it to regurgitate the directions from your home to the nearest town, then from that town to the next and so on.

Overall, this will probably not be the shortest way from your home to your destination, but it will be the most interesting.  If where you live is anything like where I live, then you will find roads you didn’t know existed, even roads that are more like tracks than roads.

You may even come across some useful short cuts.

I have used this method many times now and have discovered parts of the State that I never would have otherwise visited.  Some of these locations have been eye opening; well-kept secrets known only to a few.

Travelling through the mid-north of the State on one occasion, I programmed the GPS to take me to the centre of the next town.  I was guided way off the main route, along a narrow dirt road.  This part of the world is quite flat, but this track was leading me through some low lying hills.  I eventually came to a creek crossing.  It was beautiful little area, with flat grassy plains either side of the creek and the big river red gums lining the valley.  I have since returned to this spot several times with my son.  He loves it and I have never seen anyone else there.

I travel to the Riverland, about 200 kilometres from my home, quite regularly.  It takes about 2 hours.  I travel the same route I have always done; with two notable exceptions.  I was about 5 kilometres from one town, the GPS suggested the shortest way to the next was to turn off right.  I did, and about 10 kilometres later, I re-joined the main highway, well past the town I was nearing and a few kilometres nearer my destination.  This shaved about 15 minutes from the total travel time. 

Mark Point, The CoorongCredit: Steven Pike

The other notable exception occurred a little closer to home.  I have to travel through one town just north of my home town, it is unavoidable.  Then there is a short ride along a secondary road to the main highway.  The GPS directed me to a series of muddy, narrow tracks that weaved their way between farmer’s paddocks.  These led to the main highway, quite a few kilometres further on than the place at which I normally join it.

Most of these diversions don’t necessarily take less time; in fact most of them add time to the journey.  The upside is though; you are bound to discover some interesting spots, some of which may be close to home.  Kids love the diversion and the change of scenery.  A warning is appropriate here; once the kids have experienced the off road stuff, you’ll be expected to consult the GPS for short cuts every trip.