While I was representing these projects of furniture manufactured in prisons, I had an appointment with a contracting officer at Ft. Irwin in the desert area of Southern California. Fortunately I was traveling with a project manager who was also an engineer. Engineers think in a logical way and that night it was really a good thing.
This was before just about every person had a GPS, and we relied on directions from sites like MapQuest. Well Richard and I were driving from an appointment in Las Vegas to this one. We were going to have to stay overnight at the motel on base so we could be there for a 9:00 a.m. appointment.
We followed the directions from MapQuest to perfection. By the time we approached the freeway exit it was clouded over and just about twilight. Once off the freeway, we kept driving and driving but couldn't find the road where we were supposed to turn left. Finally Richard, engineer that he was, said, "Wasn't that turn supposed to be only a mile or so from the freeway?"
I checked the MapQuest sheet and sure enough that's what it said. He said, "Then something is wrong. We've gone ten miles since we left the freeway. Let's call the Day's Inn and see how to get there. Naturally there was no cell phone signal.
So, Richard said, "Well, how far exactly was it supposed to be from the freeway?"
I checked again. "1.5 miles."
He said, "No problem. All we have to do is go back 8.5 miles and we should be right at that road. We must have missed the sign."
So we backtracked 8.5 miles, but all we saw was sort of a dirt trail. By now it was really getting dark and the drizzle had turned into rain. We decided to see if we have a cell signal since we were back near the freeway. We got through to the hotel and asked if the clerk knew where this particular street we were supposed to turn on was and after we turned, how we got to the base and the hotel.
The hotel clerk said, "You're looking for what road? Where are you, anyway?"
We gave her the name of the road and the exit we'd used. She said, "Holy shit! Whoops, excuse me. That's the wrong exit and what that darned MapQuest gave you was a Humvee trail. It goes into the desert.
Whew. If we'd actually made the turn before it got dark, we'd have been in the middle of the desert in the rain and dark on a trail used for training, thanks to MapQuest. She gave us the proper directions which involved getting back on the freeway and going to the next exit, then driving many, many miles to the base. Let me tell you, we were really happy to see the guard shack that night. Ah, the joys of selling furniture made in prisons.