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The Loneliest Road in America? - Not With 294 Spark Friends!

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

By now everyone knows that I am a nerd, geek, possessed of the curse of a pretty indelible memory - which can be a curse more than it is a blessing. It is said that elephants never forget. I have been called one, more than once...

I remember every fat-related insult on the school playground, all of the times I was picked last on a team (almost always), each party I was not invited to, and each time that I was turned down for a date in my teens and 20s (and there were a great many) as though they were yesterday. Mix that with a hyper-type-A personality and you have a fair picture of some of my more major character warts and foibles. Selective amnesia would be far better; it is not how I'm wired.

Growing up this way made for more than a little loneliness as you might imagine:

My memory came to be a family asset growing up. It was the heyday of post-war highway construction and we would take road-trips. Mom could never read a map nor handle the spatial gestalt of relating the map to the view through the windshield. Dad would glance at a map and toss it into the back seat. My parents contend that this is how I learned to read, courtesy of AAA and Rand McNally. I was 2, 3, 4 years old. We would go places like Cape Cod.

During those years, I began to collect maps and to memorize them. I still have many of them. I looked out the window and memorized every sight and road sign. Quickly I became the indispensable family asset and possessed of navigational insights borne of knowledge of all those new interstate highways (told you I was a nerd, right?). Aunts and uncles would call and ask to speak to me, asking questions like whether they finally finished I-95 through Providence Rhode Island or whether it was better to stick with old US Route 1. I knew the answers and would advise them.

Well when my younger sister came along I was 5 years old. She was and remains the opposite of me in every respect. Social butterfly, party animal and prone to instant car-sickness. So those long-distance automotive odysseys came to be measly three-hour annual jaunts to the nearest beach...

U.S. Route 50 offered far less excitement to this young navigator, but I made the most of the sights that provided themselves:

What was particularly cool was the sign that one sees overhead, leaving Ocean City westbound, regarding the western terminus of the same highway:

Now only with the internet have I learned that in Sacramento, they have the same theme going, in reverse:

They actually have two, and they do not match! (Are Californians dyslexic?)

Now I ask. Who but me would even think to Google this stuff? Over the years I also have visited my childhood friend, US Route 50, in various other locales:

Perhaps my now some have guessed the recurrent theme of this blog. Stepped on our frenemy the scale this morning (cramp in my still-injured leg awakened me early) and found that I now am down a full 50 lbs since I joined Spark in late December. Hard to believe, but numbers are numbers. Roughly 8.5 lbs a month or 2 lbs a week. Progress occurs in fits and starts, with some frustrating plateaus to challenge ye olde attitude, but it occurs. Spark works, for me, and I believe for many.

Was it not Casey Kasem who used to say as his tag line on American Top 40, "Keep Your Feet on the Ground and Keep Reaching for the Stars?" So I'm taking square aim on the next 50 lbs!

So I Googled some things that weigh 50 lbs. Two 25-lb sacks of potatoes, one under each arm, seemed like cheating. Here are a few others:

a 27-inch:

or (loaded with clothes and supplies for a month or two at sleep-away camp):

or roughly:

So how was this possible? All 293 of you certainly contributed! But the real answer for me lies in the hyperlink below!:
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  • CHUM48
    I am learning this skill as well NAVIGATING! not only the roads my life as well!
    2098 days ago
    I too am an excellent navigator except in Brussels when it was not clear to me that we were on an upper elevation from which we needed to descend before we could continue. The map I had on my lap at the time, had given me no such indications.

    Undoubtedly you are more nerdy than I but I'm fine with that.
    2175 days ago
    HEE! HEE!
    I am also known as "Nav" and having driven extensively through 48 states, I can always find a better way than the GPS "girl in the box!"
    2177 days ago
    I have the affectionate nickname of "Nav" (short for navigator), given to me by my father as a child, and then without telling him, my boyfriend many years later. I was always the map person on the road, and I can take one glance at a map and find my way where I need to go. I hardly ever get lost, and I can remember how to get to places that I haven't been in years! I love looking at maps, and traveling places. We are map geeks, and proud of it!
    2178 days ago
  • JIBBIE49
    Today is July 1st and we have six months until the NEW YEAR, so let's start now and make it the best success ever. emoticon
    2180 days ago
    What about Kansas? I knew we had a Highway 54 but then did my own googlish search - found this link

    which is a subset of the website

    Have Fun!!
    Oh and I'm a bit nerdy like that too - my mom was terrible with maps and I got tired of listening to my dad and mom fight about her lack of navigation skills, so I learned to read maps out of self-defense ... however... being in the back seat and the balance/ear issues I already had meant that it was fairly easy for me to get car sick unless I closed my eyes (minimize some of the neural input, I guess? didn't necessarily have to be asleep but frequently worked out that way.). And after her "stroke" event some 10 years ago (subarachnoid hemotoma), I frequently have to remind her or text her details for her to read in order to help her get from point a to point b, when we are meeting somewhere in Wichita for lunch (she lives south east of Wichita and I live north west of her, north of Wichita....). One of these days we'll probably get her very own GPS (but we'll have to set it up for her and program it and all that with her "favorites" before we turn her loose with it...).

    AHA!! So it is!! The Kansas 50 sign!! Yaaaaay!! I saw the photo overall -with NewYork this way and Sacramento that way, but the tiny shield sign below it is so crowded with Kansas spelled out instead of abbreviated that I just glazed over it. That, annnnnnd I didn't have my readers on!


    Oh and I really didn't sleep well. Sign says San Francisco, not Sacramento !! Typing on iPhone, not enough sleep, no readers, bad combination !
    2181 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/30/2012 9:07:42 AM
    Cool showing a journey and then linking it to your own journey. Congratulations on your success! emoticon
    2183 days ago
    Fun blog. I have a younger brother with a memory like that. When he was one year old, we moved. The next year when we went back to Salt Lake for a visit, my mother was amazed to realize that he still remembered many of the landmarks. She had to teach him to read to get him to go to kindergarten where he said all they did all day was line up. (My mom can't get over the fact that this is the man who opted for a career in the army where the spend so much time lining up). He used to see a movie once and have the script memorized pretty much word for word, which he would then report in detail to my mother. Yes, it is a blessing and a curse to have such a memory. But I would love it if my memory were better now days.

    You are doing such a great job with your weight loss! Keep it up. You definitely are a man of good self-discipline.
    2183 days ago

    Comment edited on: 6/28/2012 1:38:47 AM
    I'm a little late to this game but congrats on hitting 50! It sounds like you are more than on pace to weigh 0 by the time Thanksgiving 2013 rolls around!
    2184 days ago
    What a great blog! I'm a numbers nerd too, and have always been - that and dates. Your memories of the maps evoked mine, and I worry about the folks who always rely on GPS without ever looking at a map. emoticon Congratualtions on your 50!
    2184 days ago
  • DOTTY7267
    Loved the scenery and the journey!
    2184 days ago
    This is my first time reading your blog and I loved it! I am a a total map nerd too! I majored in Geography in college! I am Californian, but not dyslexic. I have seen that Ocean City, MD sign dozens of funny that the numbers are switched! Anyway congrats on your achievements, and keep up the good work!
    2185 days ago
  • KATIEM929
    emoticon You're doing great!
    2185 days ago
    2185 days ago
    You're so cool!! You're wife must be too! Great blog and an inspiration to me all the time!


    2185 days ago
    Wowee zowee! You're doing great and I'm so happy for you. And you're not "THAT" old, either. Hehehhee...
    2185 days ago
  • CMW123
    Map Geeks Unite!!! **oh, did I say that out loud?** emoticon

    At least the Sacramento CA sign in OC MD has the state listed. There is a sign on Rt 70 going west from baltimore that lists mileage to places like Cove Fort however, it does not put a state but being the curious and map geek person that I am, I had to look up Cove Fort UT. I have heard that they have a similar sign in Utah with mileage to Baltimiore. I wonder if they have MD on their sign? Hmmmmm,..... emoticon

    Anyway, the two OC MD signs have reverse mileage but I wonder if the signs really are 36 miles apart. Since you googled them, they actually could be and that would explain the discrepancy.
    2186 days ago
  • JPEARL127
    emoticon You are poised and ready to continue your journey and now know just how much less you will be carrying with you as you do continue to your goal in incremental steps. You are emoticon and emoticon
    2186 days ago
    Congratulations on the 25 lbs loss. Good luck on the next 25lbs. Make it a reward after the next 50 lbs to go to Sacramento and see those signs first hand. Have a great day !!!!
    2186 days ago
    2186 days ago
    emoticon journey!!
    2186 days ago
    Congrats!!!! I love reading your blogs emoticon emoticon
    2186 days ago
    A great partner is an amazing asset!
    2186 days ago
    2186 days ago
  • ANYVAR54
    Congratulations, you are doing great!!!
    2187 days ago
    2187 days ago
    congrats occasionally drive that hwy 50 in Sacramento, I will have to keep a look out for that sign.
    2187 days ago
    emoticon on a MAJOR accomplishment....and best wishes on your journey to the next! You're BOTH doing emoticon !!!!! How marvelous that you are sharing this adventure.
    2187 days ago
    2187 days ago
  • KIPPER15
    emoticon emoticon Great job.
    2187 days ago
    congrats on the 50 pounds. and i love the pics. i cant tell you how many time i saw the cape cod sign. emoticon
    2187 days ago
    I enjoyed your blog and the pictures were great. Congratulations on the 50 pound weight loss. It was also very special that you put the link in to your wife's page. It is great and nice to be reminded that there are happy good solid marriages out there and that each partner respects and cherishes the other. My friends are going through a nasty divorce and I am friends with both and stuck in the middle.
    2187 days ago
    Congratulations and that was a great blog! Really interesting stuff and loved the pics!
    2187 days ago
    2187 days ago
    2187 days ago
  • HEARTS116
    2187 days ago
    I loved this post!
    2187 days ago
  • MOMMY445
    congratulations! such wonderful news! have a terrific day!
    2187 days ago
    2187 days ago
    I thoroughly enjoyed your entertaining post and could totally relate to wondering if I-95 through Providence Rhode Island would ever be finished! I live here for part of the year, and I can tell you from experience, that I-95 through Rhode Island will never be finished! Congrats on your awesome weight loss! emoticon
    2187 days ago
    What a fun post ..... from another map geek
    2187 days ago
    So I ask, who is right? Maryland or California? You seem to assume Maryland...did you check? Yes, I too am geeky enough to be interested!
    2187 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    We could stand in line for geeksterdom.. I cross teh Mackinac Bridge, stop, then watch and count how many semi's, cars, motor homes,etc go by in a certain time frame, count and memorize the moose, bear and elk, deer and skunk crossing signs in the Upper Peninsula(Yoopee) of Michigan every time I go, I check out new roadsigns, gather new maps at the info center,, I can cross that bridge with my eyes closed,, it makes the bridge in San Francisco look like a toy..

    Out of necessity, I have also mapped every public restroom on US2 there,, and all around the U.P of Michigan.
    whoa, a Geek rant!!!!
    2187 days ago
  • FARIS71
    I'm totally looking up things that weight 45 pounds.
    2187 days ago
    Hey... I've really been on some of those very same roads! keep on keeping on... have a great day! emoticon
    2187 days ago
  • NCSUE0514
    Looking forward to joining you in minus-50-world!
    2187 days ago
    2187 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    ... this helps explain your skills at hooking up with a caravan --- and you are in good company
    I'm not sure but the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce might not appreciate your selected photo --- rain and traffic. Realistic --- but not flattering!

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2187 days ago
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    liked the compassion your a inspiration to the rest of us on the Spark trail. thank you for you dedication and encouragement you giver us thought your blogs they great like to comparisons it helps to see what we lost and never to find
    emoticon emoticon
    2187 days ago
    emoticon on those 50 pounds. And what a very sweet way to end off this blog!
    2187 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.

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