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  • Writer's pictureFeathers the Wonder Dog

The Agony of Google Maps

Dear friends – many of you may know by now that Klady has an inordinate sense of adventure. This was nurtured through her childhood by her uncle, Paul, who taught her everything she loves about the sea - fishing, boating, prawning, crabbing, yabbying, beach combing - and off-road driving.

Holidays were spent with dawn treks through the bush and climbing down cliffs to isolated fishing spots and also on dark, moonless night prawning expeditions. Many of these adventure points had to be reached by driving over extremely potholed bush tracks. As a result today, Klady generally treats driving on a major motorway as if she’s going over ditches and avoiding kangaroos. Her 10 years spent in Europe also enhanced these driving skills especially when motoring up and down icy and snowy mountains.

Klady knows that map and chart reading is very important. Our new daily breakfast routine here at World’s End is that she enjoys a leisurely German-style breakfast in the sun room and I sit next to her waiting for that little extra morsel of cheese or ham (but never pickles!) off her toast.

While we sit there she pores over the sea charts for southern Tassie, planning the next boating trip. So far, I haven’t seen her do this with a paper road map as she always has a quick look at Google Maps to decide where to go in the car.

Last weekend, we went on a little road trip. Well-researched via Google Maps, we found ourselves at the most incredible dog beach and lagoon in Kingston, just 15 km south of Hobart. The lagoon was clear and filling fast with the incoming tide and I enjoyed an active dip with some fellow poochies, as well as managing to practice my farm skills, by rounding up some poodles, groodles, spoodles, oodles and the occasional less pedigreed four-legged friends.

The seafood lunch was delicious and with a nicely full tummy I decided to catch a quick nap in the car on the 60 km trip home. The road back to Verona Sands runs close to the water all the way along the D'Entrecasteaux Channel and the views are magnificent. I had, however, seen this already many times and so having a quick nap didn’t matter but that only lasted until I heard Klady ask SirD, Do you want an adventure drive home?

My ears pricked up, I sat bolt upright and looked out the window. We were turning off the main road and heading up a dirt track past sheep and goats and a sheep cheese farm. SirD was sure that the adventure was to go for a cheese and vodka tasting. But no. Klady kept driving with a road that kept getting narrower and narrower, steeper and steeper and enclosed by tall trees.

I stared out of the window hoping that she knew where we were going and her cheerful confidence reassured me. No problems, the road goes over Mount Cygnet and down the other side to Garden Island Creek, so close to home. You can even see it on the car Satnav!


We then reached a fork in the road and Klady decided to go straight ahead up an even steeper track only to see a chain across the track and a VERY BIG ‘Private Property’ sign. Of course, there was no opportunity to turn around and backwards we went. I looked at SirD and his face was stony and his hands were gripping the front seat. Because of the steepness I was punched hard into the back of my seat! But wait – there was more to come.

We then turned left and kept climbing.

This must be the Garden Creek Road – see it’s on the map!

Ha. By now I heard SirD saying that the incline was 3:1 (whatever that means) but I was starting to feel very sick. I looked out of the window and couldn’t see any ground, just a deep, dark valley and then we turned up an even steeper track only to come face to face with another 'Private Property' sign.

That’s strange. Something is wrong. I’ll have to turn around.

Good idea but to find a suitable spot we continued to trespass higher and higher, twisting around tight corners and encountering a mob of grey kangaroos resting on the ‘road’. I was now queasy and panting and SirD remained silent, grim and white knuckled.

Finally we reached a turning spot and here the view was unbelievable. We were so high we could see over Bruny Island to the Tasman Sea, up to Hobart and down to the end of Tasmania.

Isn’t it beautiful? Wasn’t it worth it?

No, thought the white knuckled SirD. No, thought the queasy dog. Yes, thought Klady! Then down and down, down we inched.

Halfway down the mountain, Klady saw a farmer and asked him about the Garden Island Road only to discover that it had been closed more than 20 years ago and today the forest has grown over the track.

At least we were luckier than that the visitor to the Grand Canyon who used Google Maps to guide her way but unfortunately, it took her down a wrong road, leaving her stranded when her car ran out of petrol. With no mobile reception and her food and water disappearing, she thought she was going to die and recorded her farewell videos. After 119 hours, she was rescued, fortunately.

I don’t think I could have waited that long for my next German breakfast treat of cheese or ham - and hold the pickles.

So much for Google Maps and real adventures!

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