I was on my way back to the yard in Garden City on K156, and the fact that I just didn't have the intestinal fortitude to carry on had me stopping at the lone rest area west of the big city at the junction of K23 and K156. I do not like stopping there. It is a "natural compost" facility. Which means in the winter on a cold day, a nice breeze blows up yer kiester and freezes the dangly bits. During the summer, flies attack those same bits. Needless to say, it was only the greatest urgency that had me stopping there.
When I stepped out, considerably relieved, a car came driving up next to me while I was preparing to mount my ride. A guy in the passenger seat hollered at me - it was windy. This sort of kinda made me nervous, since this is out in the middle of nowhere. There is traffic, but it's sporadic, and if something hinky happened, it might be possible for no one to see anything unusual for a long period of time.
But my Spidey Sense was on overdrive for no reason - it was a guy riding with his significant other and apparently their two kids in back. He asked me if going west was the right way to get to Wichita.
The sun was setting, and I said: "No, you are headed west into the setting sun. Wichita is east of here, a long ways."
It turned out they were from Perryton, TX and had no maps, nor did they have a phone with any sort of map on it, either. The young man informed me that "She just made me give up an iPhone 4!" Apparently, their budget couldn't handle it. He didn't seem to me to be up to handling much - she was driving, and making all the decisions. I know I was passing judgement, but oh well. So, they had no idea what I was talking about as far as highways and towns went, so off to the truck I went to get my Trucker's Atlas.
She did have some written instructions from her best girlfriend on how to get to Wichita, which involved getting to TX 23 and going north into Kansas until she got to Greensburg, where she was to turn right. One problem with that - K23 never goes through Greensburg.
|The way they shoulda gone|
|Where they actually went|
The young woman's father had broken his leg and was in one of the hospitals in Wichita - probably one of the many complexes Wesley runs. The name sounded right to the both of them. I drew them a map on a notebook they had and tried to keep it simple.
I dunno. I cannot imagine heading out into unfamiliar territory without a freaking map. I don't care if I've got cell and data service out the wahoo, I want my map. I find myself shaking my head that they headed out with two little ones so irresponsibly. Wow. Like I said, the guy didn't impress me much.
I gave them some rudimentary info on where the hospital was, but honestly, I figure they were gonna have to be talked in when they got there over their phones. I'm not sure my map made much of an impression - I don't think their map reading skills were quite up to par. Maybe if you can't read a map, you really don't need to have one with you.
But, wow. I wished them luck, they drove back to the east, and I pointed the Binder westward, and said some prayers for 'em.