Dysons, Wineries, Canyon Lakes and Google Maps

Google Maps has made great strides in the past four years in regard to its mobile app. To the point that I depend on it solely in navigation. Even within Kennewick, I use it. For me, it has been that dependable… So dependable that when Apple rolled out its own Apple Maps app, it fell back on Google Maps (by allowing it back in to iTunes) to bail it out of its premature launch.

My point: Google Maps is dependable.

Or is it?

Sunday I received a text from a friend that she had two Dyson vacuums that she no longer needed (one cord had been chewed on by her dog) and wanted to know I wanted them. I told her that I could not pick them up at that time as I was indirectly enroute to Col Solare Winery to sing Christmas carols with the Mid-Columbia Mastersingers. She that was fine and that she would leave them outside as she would not be home when I could come by. If you didn’t know (which I was in the same boat until this past week) Col Solare is located on the northwest side of Red Mountain. Really a beautiful property with great architecture in its buildings.

After the performance, I punched the address of my friend that lives in Canyon Lakes into my Google Maps app and it popped right out a path forward. Right out of the gate, I should have known something was off because the app was showing me to go a different route away from the winery, off of Red Mountain on Antinori Road. Right out of the gate I should have known. But I let it pass and decided then and there that Google Maps was being very intuitive. Intuitive in that way that I have come to know Google to be. I proceeded down the road for about 50 yards whereas the pavement turned into dirt road: Red flag 2. Through a vineyard: Red flag 3.

Pause. Yes, I am sure that you are thinking “Duh Jeremiah. You should have turned around right then and there. This is not even the way that you came up the “mountain”. There is something in Google Maps now, that recognizes your movement of travel and routes accordingly. I mean that it routes with the mindset that the user is not capable of “flipping a bitch” at a moment’s notice and change direction. Something that I vaguely recognized in travelling in West Seattle a couple of months ago, but didn’t dawn on me until after all of this.

I decided then and there that Google knew better. Like Google had an inside track to something that the rest of the population didn’t have. So I stayed the course, through a bunch of vineyard, past a couple of processing buildings in the middle of the vineyards until lo and behold, I reached the main arterial that Google Maps had promised me! All of my doubts diminished in a split second… And then fastly reapproached. My doubts returned as fast as I approached the end of the dirt road that I was on that ended with a four foot deep 80 degree decline. STOP.

Apparently Google Maps does not take into account elevation drops between the end of one road to the next (refer to View 1: http://bit.ly/1cicF8l ).

I stopped abruptly at the end of this dirt road. To my right was a dirt berm in-between the vineyard branches and the steep decline that ran parallel with the grape rows. To my left was a small orchard of sorts with a grassy berm and that same steep decline running parallel. I tried progressing to the right but surmised that the path forward was too narrow. So I reversed my path and took the left instead. Through the grass, in between the trees and the decline (refer to View 2: http://bit.ly/1cicObN ). Although this path narrowed as I progressed, it was still a bigger path. As I crept down the orchard perimeter, I came upon another road that ran perpendicular to the main arterial that was so close and yet so far away. The only thing between me and this newfound access was a bunch of rather large rocks separated at about 6 feet apart and a row of particularly odd trees separated about eight feet apart (refer to View 3: http://bit.ly/1cicWbm ). I decided to take another left and ran parallel with these trees and the newfound road…Until once again, the path was too narrow.

The Good: This grassy orchard perimeter and the newfound road was at the same elevation. The Bad: I had nowhere to approach these tightly located trees in a way that my fat car would fit through. As I came to the end of this opportunity to escape this ever encroaching maze, I found a couple of trees that seemed just a smidge further apart from each other and was able to miraculously back up and not hit any orchard trees and then pull forward, through the odd trees onto this newfound side road.


I was finally able to make it onto North Sunset Road and onto my designation. And at that…and at that; once I was in Canyon Lakes, Google Maps gave me some ass backwards way to get to her house. Yes, I took Google Maps suggestion even then. No it wasn’t better. I had to go way up the hill and then down again.

Here’s a map of my travels with a couple of points of interest notated:


  1. I seriously laughed out loud while reading this. Too funny. For some reason, I visualized you doing this in a 1986 four-door Chevy Caprice (not sure why, but it made it funnier).

    Google Maps is good, but it definitely still has some areas that are a little sketchy. I've had a lot of problems when trying to navigate in South Richland (new development areas). Some areas in West Pasco are still not on the map, either.

  2. In a way, I wish I would have been driving a Chevy Caprice.Driving my Maxima scared the crap outta me. There a few times where I felt like I was going to be in a bad way and nobody would know until weeks later when they found my body. :)

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