Smart Mart?

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

Be sure to visit Two Writing Teachers for more slices of life.

For four years I have been driving to Warsaw, Indiana to be with blogging friends and attend the All Write conference. Every year it is a challenge to get through Indianapolis and find my way to Warsaw in a timely manner. I don’t think I’ve ever been the same route twice. I have used a variety of methods to plot the route: GPS, phone/iPad apps, a paper map. There is no major interstate that will bring one to Warsaw. It is a series of roads that meander through the countryside. I always felt like I was missing something in the directions. Fortunately, I have had a navigator, Kim, beside me to help decipher cryptic signs.

After eating lunch in Indianapolis, I unfolded the map on the table, located Warsaw, and slid my finger over the roads to trace the route. I then listed the numbers of the roads needed to reach Warsaw. Sounds like a great plan, right?

It was working like a charm until there was a detour. We followed the detour, this time. Finally we were back on the right route following our list of numbers made at lunch. Another detour sign appeared, but this time we wondered if it really was meant for us. Time was ticking away. I decided to ask at the Smart Mart about this detour that said a bridge was out.

I walked into the shop, it was deadly quiet. I could not see a single body. I worked my way through the aisles heading to the counter with the cash register. A young man was crouched down, stocking the cigarette shelf.

I began my inquiry, “Hi, I’m trying to get to Warsaw, but I see this detour sign. If I stay on the road will I be able to get to Wabash?” As I am talking, I see confusion passing over this young man’s face. He doesn’t know where Warsaw is, he’s probably having a hard time comprehending my English. “Is there someone else around that I can talk to?”

He goes to the nearest doorway and mumbles something. Another young man, carry an iPad comes out. I launch into my inquiry once again. This time hopeful he will understand me. He does understand, but he has no knowledge of conditions of the road to Wabash.

His solution was to have me travel down the road and go south (Warsaw is north of where I am) to connect to two different roads. He comes from Fort Wayne once a week, so he’s never been to Wabash. His directions don’t make sense to me, because I would be going backwards in my journey. I thank him and leave to report to Kim, that Smart Mart isn’t too smart.

We continued on the road and did discover the closed bridge (only it wasn’t really a bridge, but more like an overpass). With the help of Kim’s phone we navigated that stretch and arrived in Warsaw in time.

Before leaving the conference, I enlisted the help of those who live there to tell me the route to take to get back to Indianapolis. I am happy to report that there were no missteps on the return trip (thank you to Mary Helen and Dianne). Now, all I have to do is find a safe place for those route numbers so I can use them again next year.

20 thoughts on “Smart Mart?

  1. I am so glad your return trips was much better. I am anxious to hear how you went – if it was the same way I went?? It was wonderful seeing you and everyone again. I wanted to write about my trip yesterday, but Pat Summitt took over my thinking. I will definitely be celebrating this weekend though!

  2. I just drove through Warsaw recently and had the same experience of tricky roads along the way. Hope you had fun at All Write. I’m going to make it one of these years. As for Smart Mart….well…..


  3. But next year there will be other detours and unforeseeable road conditions. It sounds like you need to have a generous amount of time to get to where you are going and low expectations for speed and efficiency! But then finally getting there makes it all worthwhile (I hope) !

  4. Love that Mary Helen! I hope to join you next yr even if my journey will be in the air. What fun to come!!!!
    I want to hear more about your memories !

  5. I smiled as I read this. Following directions can be difficult when things like detours pop up. I am lucky. Every time we travel somewhere new Kathy tells me where to go. 🙂

  6. Judy C. says:

    Sounds like places we’ve stopped to ask for directions. I’m not sure how most of them get to and from work. Glad you made it on time and enjoyed your time there.

  7. Ahhh…Smart Mart certainly needs to try harder to live up to its name!!! Navigating Indy for soccer tournaments has always been a challenge for me. I will remember never to turn to Smart Mart for help.

  8. Maps and I do not “get” each other and I find it so hard to navigate to new places. Glad you made it in spite of not so Smart Mart- it always sounds like such an amazing getaway!

  9. Love this story of trying to get to Warsaw. It’s been an adventure both times I’ve gone, but last year with Linda was the most fun! I still remember getting lost after dinner the first year I went, and wandering all over Warsaw trying to find the hotel. It’s not that big! Ruth showed me how to use google maps the next day, but that’s not always reliable either! I hope you hang on to those directions for next year. You may have some requests to share!

  10. Ramona & I got lost last year from the airport, not paying attention because we were talking too much! Glad you made it. I’ve stopped before at places through the years, & sometimes those there have never been where I’m going either. As Yogi said so aptly, ‘no matter where you go, there you are’!

  11. I get lost all the time, even with a map in hand. It’s a genetic flaw, one that I inherited from my grandfather. Glad that you made the conference on time – I was thinking of you All Write-ers so much!

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