This is a tale of a trip. This is a tale of rural areas. This is a tale of how much we love our car. This is a tale of how much of a biatch (disclaimer: this post is full of biatchs) TomTom can be!
This is long so go on!
So, mother in law bought a trunk (copycat! (-; ), and asked us if we could go to Hoksem (near Hoegaarden, town of the beer with the same name, I guess) to pick it up. We said sure, no problem, we’re half there today anyway. And so, we entered the address in the biatch TomTom. We looked at the time, and were happy we were going to be there earlier than we said we would, it might give us some time to have a coffe and relax some. The road was nice, not too much traffic, and a nice lovely highway.
Then after some kilometers, the highway’s firm wasn’t so firm anymore. It looked like they had planned to lay a new layer, and scrapped the old one a bit, and then completely forgot about it. Shaky butt! Nothing we haven’t seen before. They even put these nice signs on the road saying “Careful, not so good road” instead of fixing it, it’s quite normal – even on highways.
Go on with the shaky butt, we got off the highway into a normal towny road. You know, one lane each way, no lines painted, and risk yourself with the speed limit: 70km/h are you nuts!? Biatch TomTom was doing good, we were sticking to paved roads and stuff, with houses around and some “civilization”. Then it asked us to take a right turn that looked like we were going to be driving through the middle of a field. But the part of the road we saw was paved, so we said, ok, let’s see where this ends. It ended in an earth track made by tractors. Yep, and it was mapped as a road by TomTom. Biatch I tells you.
So at the point where this earth track split in two and got completely undriveable with the Prius, we turned around (againsts the biatch’s recommendation of “Make a U-turn when possible”, and decided to take the actual road that looked like it wouldn’t make us have to call on-road assistance tog et us out of the crap. TomTom kept asking us to “Make a U-turn when possible” and getting a “Sod off” or “Shut up” back. After four kilometers, it got the hint and retraced the route to follow the road we chose. All was good and nice, until it made us turn into, yes, you guessed it, yet another earth track, that we only saw after the first 100m of cobblestoned road. Fuckit, turn round, and get back on the “main” road. Why on earth are these crappy earth tracks that are barely driveable for a truck mapped as streets, I wonder.
This went on a few more times, until we decided that really, sodit, we’re not taking any more of this “cobblestoned” roads that end nowhere. The TomTom got the hint and ended taking us to our destination. We arrived half an hour later than it said in the beginning. All because of the insistence of taking rural paths that I would only take on a (mountain)bike on a dry day after a full dry week.
Got there, picked up the trunk, got it in the back of the car. Love the folding down seats, yes we do. And love the hooks to tie stuff as well. We tied the trunk good, and set off. This time we avoided any street that looked like it might perhaps end in cobblestones and earth paths. And tried to wing the way back to the (crappy) highway. But then, the local government decided that working on several roads at the same time was a good idea. Yep, the roads that lead to the highway, you guessed it. TomTom kept asking us to “go straight on” through road block-barricades. No, I’m not driving there, biatch!
We drove in what felt circles around the small towns that form the area. We found: a garden center, a bread vending machine (empty), and a butchers. In the four towns we drove through. No small shops to buy day-to-day groceries, not an Aldi or a Lidl or any other supermarket. This is rural, this is the kind of rural I don’t want to live in! I mean, seriously, having to drive about 25 km to buy a bottle of milk? You kidding me? No wonder we saw so many veggie gardens, and houses with a couple of cows in the back garden, and chickens. You need to provide your own food!
Anyway, we finally saw a sign for the highway, and TomTom was sending us in… the opposite direction. So we did make an U-turn (against TomTom’s suggestions), and decided to try and follow the sign. On a road on works. It took several kilometers more to see another provisional sign for the highway, by then we thought we had screwed it and were ready to believe in TomTom once more. Luckily, the TomTom and the sign agreed for once. We got on the (crappy, shaky butt) highway, and decided stopping at the first road restaurant to be seen. Because hell we need a break or else we might go nuts, we’ve been digging through crappy rural roads for over an hour.
Uh, yeah, on road restaurants here: Carestel = good, AC = bad. Seriously, there is road restaurant food (not expecting anything like a semi decent restaurant here, edible and something veggie is the most I aim for), and then you have AC. It looked disgusting.. At least the coffee is from an automatic machine and tastes as everywhere else. So we had coffee. Oh, and a piece of Normand Apple Pie (that looked ok, tasted ok, but nothing to call home about). AC is also a chain of “road hotels”. Seeing the outside of the rooms, and the lounge-bar-restaurant-cafeteria: I rather sleep in the car. Yep, it’s that bad. I mean, hell, there were no truckers, it’s gotta be really crappy! Had I seen the parking from the highway (like you usually do for other road restaurants), I’d skipped to the next one. Not a single truck. That means it’s going to be bad (thanks grandpa’ for the tip, very much appreciated, and very helpful).
Oh, and then, following suit with the rurality of the area and lacking of road signs, what we thought was the exit back on the highway, because, uhm, these places usually only have one way in (from the highway) and one way out (back on to the highway), was, in fact, not the way to the highway, but back in more crappy rural roads. No way we’re getting back in there, as soon as we realized that, the U-turn was inminent and found the actual exit back on the highway.
I’ll spare you the traffic jams and general slowness. Just saying, what usually would take an hour (without getting lost in the middle of nowhere because TomTom likes to take you for a panoramic trip), took us three hours with the getting lost and the traffic jams and all that crap. But we got back home, and we got the car through a wash cause the rural tracks had left it full of mud and bugs and other stuff that we didn’t want on it. Yep, in these past five days when we’ve been touristy with my mother the car has gotten dirtier than in the previous two months and a half.
An finally: home made food tastes delicious after five days of restaurant fare. Even if I have to cook it!