Tuesday, March 6, 2012

GIGO

March 6, 2012—Most people who do data processing are familiar with the acronym GIGO: garbage in, garbage out. How true.

The other day, when we were traveling from Arkansas to Mississippi, we decided to spend the night in an RV resort called Pecan Grove in Lake Village, Ark., a small town just shy of the Mississippi River (and the Mississippi border). According to the map insert in the directory we were using, the park was situated on the state’s largest oxbow lake. (By definition, an oxbow lake is formed when the u-shaped meandering of a river—in this case, the Mississippi—is cut off and a lake is then created.)

The address of the park was given as an intersection—something that Garmina (our GPS) does not understand too well. However, the ad also gave longitude and latitude coordinates—something we could enter manually to find our way.

Well…we entered the coordinates (very carefully). And then we began to follow Garmina’s directions. When she told us to turn down a very lonely looking country road, I instinctively felt that something was wrong. But Jim wanted to continue going where she told us to.

I wish I had taken pictures. It was pretty lonely out there.

The two lane country road turned into a single lane dirt road that followed the banks of another oxbow lake (Lake Wallace, if I remember correctly). We saw a number of fishermen. A truck came toward us and passed us. And we continued on.

Actually, we didn’t have much choice, because we had no place to turn around. This little trek on the dirt road along the banks of a lake formed by the Mighty Mississippi was reminiscent of our journey along the levee last August. We had virtually no choice but to continue, slowly, bumping our way to wherever the road would lead us.

The trek had a good ending. The dirt road came out on a fish camp. It also intersected with a paved state or county road. Unsure of which way to turn, Jim at first turned into the fish camp, which had a large parking lot. When he saw there was no exit, he managed (with some skill to avoid hitting a flag pole) to do a u-turn and head on out to the intersection. That road eventually led us to the main highway.

We didn’t know exactly where we were, but we kept following the highway, until we finally saw a sign that pointed to Lake Village. And we eventually found the RV park.

Why did the misadventure happen? No, we did not enter the coordinates incorrectly. We were very meticulous about entering those numbers. But, remember what I said about GIGO? Well, the published coordinates were wrong. Garbage in, garbage out.

Today was sort of a GIGO day, too. It was much too windy to go shrimping (something we wanted o do, but sea sickness does not appeal to me), so we programmed Garmina to take us to a number of local attractions.

We were able to find the first one, the Seabees Museum, with little trouble. However, we found out it is located within a Naval Station, and in order to get in required getting a background clearance and that would require a wait of almost an hour. We opted not to wait to see a museum that might interest us for 10 minutes.
Then we went to what was called the “Sentinel Museum.” Turns out it was a museum dedicated to rail history in the area. Only problem: It was closed for renovation.

Next we drove to a museum dedicated to area firefighters. It was closed—only open on Saturdays.
Garmina then led us to a local maritime museum. Apparently it had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina; they were rebuilding. (Incidentally, as we drove along Highway 90, called Beach Blvd., we saw many, many prime building lots empty, most of them with vestiges of foundations showing—all victim to Hurricane Katrina.)

For the most part, Garmina was accurate, although she often had trouble “recalculating.” I think we have challenged her too much (especially while we were in Texas, which is not GPS-friendly) and her brains have become scrambled.

Days like today and the day we went meandering along the banks of an oxbow lake are frustrating when they happen, but funny when you look back at them.

I’m laughing now.

Until next time,

Your Reluctant RoVer,

Linda

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