I think I've figured out how Mapquest.com got its name. They generate the map, and you go on a quest to try and decipher it.
Today found me on one of many such quests. My task was to obtain a Nintendo 64 for a group activity from the other side of town. I looked up the directions, did a quick read-through, decided it looked easy enough, and set out confidently down familiar roads.
It seemed this time I was going to come off conqueror, as the first 10 minutes sailed by fairly smoothly. The trouble started on Riverside Dr., a familiar road, except this time I had to turn right instead of left, not familiar. Still I drove sanguinely, trusting that Mapquest would steer me right. (Not right as in the direction, because my next turn was left.)
I was supposed to turn left in 2.8 miles, but I had gone about 8.2 miles before I suspected that I had passed it. I did, however, find out why the road is called "Riverside." A roaring river runs alongside the left side of the road and stretches on for miles. This was one hint to me that I was perhaps not in the right (again, by right I mean correct) place anymore, as it is difficult to turn left when all that's on the left of you is a massive body of water.
Now this is where I have a bone to pick with Mapquest. Sure they tell you which roads to take, but sometimes that's not enough. In this case, it should also have read, by the way, the road you're looking for doesn't have a street sign, so you'll probably miss it. Then I would at least know to turn at a signless street, right?
During that 8.2 miles, however, I did see one street sign of note. There was a side road clearly labeled, "Seldom Seen Rd." Upon seeing it I let out a "hmph!" of contempt. Sure they label the road seldom seen clearly, but the only road I wasn't seeing was the one I wanted to turn right on (this time I mean right as in the direction, because by then I had turned around and was coming back from the other way.)
I finally turned onto an unlabeled street that I guessed was the right one (luckily, it was) and proceeded to try and find the next road. I ended up passing this one as well and blame Mapquest once again. The directions should have included the following caution: The people who designed the street you are on have decided, for aesthetic reasons, to use wooden posts with hard-to-read engravings as their street signs instead of the green, reflectant, legible signs used everywhere else in the city. These are impossible to see when the sun is glaring in your eyes. Also, they put some of these on the other side of the road, where you wouldn't think of looking, as a practical joke.
By the time I had safely gotten the game console into the front seat and to the activity, I had been driving around my once "familiar" home city for over an hour. The activity included a Mario Kart tournament, but I wasn't really in the mood to do any more driving.