Rand McNally Vs Mapquest

As a child we had a well worn Rand McNally Atlas.  It helped guide us on all of our adventures.  I remember my mom looking through the wrinkled pages planning our next twists and turns on our travels.  We often wandered on small highways off the beaten path, following one of those little lines on the map.  Distances between stops were measured and approximately stated, mile markers helped but often it was “about an inch till the next stop”  The atlas would get passed around the car  “let me see where we are” and “its my turn to look” were a constant refrain.  Sometimes we had separate state maps but those often would tear on the crease, half of Pennsylvania would be in the car, the other half maybe not.  So the big atlas book was the preferred navigational tool.

The Rand McNally Atlas was a fixture in my house as an adult also.  We would start our plans for our road trips months ahead, scouring the map for small towns and landmarks to check out as we traveled.  While we were on the highway, I was the navigator, map on my lap watching out for our trip but also daydreaming to other locations, that valley in Ohio, the mountain stream in western Pennsylvania,  the highways marked scenic routes always caught  my eye.  

As the internet machine caught on, I started printed out directions to long off destinations, complete with miles, expected time, attractions on the way.  I still brought the atlas with because you never know when you might want to turn off the highway. 

Now my road trips are not so lingering, more the have to get there now type of trips. Picking up or dropping off at college or visiting family for thanksgiving, not the wandering type I used to take.  All the directions are on my phone, no atlas is around.  I miss the days of the atlas and the sudden decision to “go see what that little line on the map looks like”

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6 Responses to Rand McNally Vs Mapquest

  1. Katy Collins says:

    This post triggers lots of childhood memories for me as well. I too miss the days of measuring lunch stops “in inches” and ending up in unexpected, but wonderful places! Beautiful post!

  2. tsudmeier says:

    Great slice! I LOVE maps. We still have a Rand McNally atlas at our house and get it out and dream about the places we will go. I hope you can take a trip soon with a little bit more wandering!

  3. What a nice memory of the old days. You took me right back to the station wagon on the way to Michigan. We never went far away, but we were always accompanied by the atlas. We still take it with us now, along with the printed mapquest route. Can never be over prepared according to my husband!

  4. Jaana says:

    i still love maps! GPS in the car gets me where I want to go, but there is something special about maps that you can touch. The worn out maps are like proof of trips taken and past adventures.

  5. shelsdon says:

    I love maps. I was reminded of being the navigator on car trips. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Kate Schwarz says:

    I’m with you. My family has long been members of AAA, and when we’d go on a long road trip we’d go to the store and they’d print out a special map just for the trip we were taking. I have no idea if they still do this, but we’d highlight our route ahead of time and keep track the whole way. GPS just isn’t the same.

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