Don’t Just Follow the Needle; Use Your Brain

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Saturday, Wendy and I drove along the mountain ridge that separates the Pacific coast from the inland valleys. We were geocaching and looking for a specific cache. [Click here for the full story.]  It isn’t an easy drive.  We quickly climbed almost 4000 feet along a road that was seldom wider than one lane and was rarely paved.  The road along the ridge was worse–lots of loose rocks, with steep drop-offs on one, or both, sides of the road.  This isn’t the place for a leisurely, weekend drive.

As we were returning from the cache site, I stopped for a photo or two.   A woman drove up and stopped next to me.

“I think I’m lost.”

“Where do you want to be?”

“Solvang.”

“Yes, you are lost.  Solvang is way over there.”  Solvang was about 9 miles and 4000 feet below us.  “How did you get here?”

“I don’t know.  I just followed my car’s GPS.”

I deduced that she had driven from the coast up a country road that turns into a very narrow mountain road, then turned east along the mountain ridge instead of driving down into the valley.  I doubt she saw another car until she met me.

I love having a GPS.  I use it for my geocaching hobby and for getting to places I’ve never been to.  But I also have a brain.

How often do we just put our brains into neutral and end up lost on a narrow mountain road?

We need to be constantly aware of what is going on around us.  We need to question and to evaluate our situations.  If this woman had asked just a couple of questions–“Why is this road so narrow? and “Solvang is a popular place.  Why aren’t there any other cars going to or coming from Solvang along this road?—she would have realized that, in spite of her GPS’s directions, she was going the wrong way.

We need to do more than just follow the needle.  We need to be aware and to think.

If we don’t, we may just find of lives on a narrow mountain road, miles from where we need to be.

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2 Responses to “Don’t Just Follow the Needle; Use Your Brain”

  1. Doug Beecher Says:

    I like this post on two levels … the message itself is spot on.

    And I’m impressed you got Wendy to go with you on such a road (even if the view is spectacular!)

  2. CALIFORNIA GIRL :o) Says:

    Is that snow on the mountains? This picture is GORGEOUS!

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