Navigating Without GPS Was Chaos

The GPS (Global Positioning System) device has changed the way Americans navigate streets and highways.

Before the Global Positioning System became widely used by American travelers most of us used paper maps to find our destination.

When traversing the American highways it was almost impossible to drive and read a map at the same time so it was imperative that there be a second person in a vehicle to read the map while the driver concentrated on the directions from the navigator.

It was easy for a navigator to lose their place on the map so they would have to find the right spot on the map again before they could help the driver find the right streets and highways to arrive at their destination.

Thirty seven years ago in 1973 the Global Positioning System was developed that enabled drivers to have a mobile device in their cars to give them directions to their destination. However the GPS was mostly used by the military at first and gradually was used more by civilians over the years.

Some of the earlier models gave only visual directions with no voice to tell them how far they were from the next turn.

Once the human voice was used to give the directions the devices became even more popular as it would give  a warning before a turn was to be made so the driver could be in the right lane.

For instance our GPS gives us a warning about seven-tenths of a mile before an exit off the interstate to give time to be in the proper lane to exit.

Having no sense of direction whatsoever the GPS has saved me many times from getting lost. After moving from a city of about 15,000 to a city of 173,000 we had to rely on maps to go anywhere until we bought a GPS and now if the physical address is logged in the GPS will take us to the destination most of the time.

The reason it works only most of the time is that new highways and streets won’t show up if they are built after the GPS was programmed. For instance we have  a street that was closed off but the GPS still tries to make us drive down that street.

There is a major street in Knoxville, Tennessee that is not even mentioned on the GPS because it was built after the GPS was programmed.

Having a job which involves much driving around the city from time to time the GPS has been a lifesaver. Not having the advantage of growing up in Knoxville and not knowing the city make the GPS even more important as we navigate the city.

If you don’t want to drive on interstate highways it is important to check shortest route to a destination since interstates are built to have exits on major streets. Otherwise the GPS will send you to the interstates no matter how much you want to avoid them.

My favorite feature is when the voice says recalculating when you miss your turn and the GPS will get you back to that street as soon as possible.

The technology involved with a GPS is too much to comprehend. It is hard to believe a satellite in the sky is tracking our destination for us.

GPS technology has made it easier for law enforcement officials to track criminals by installing tracking devices on their cars that lets them know what the criminal is doing.

We have seen many advances in technology over the last few years as cell phones, MP3 players and GPS devices have become more of a part of our lives with each passing year.


Thank You to Readers of Nostalgia and Now

I want to thank each reader of Nostalgia Now for reading these posts. Today the 5,000th reader visited the website today during the month of August. Last August there were 804 visitors to the website and there were only 241 visitors when the website debuted in April of 2009.

As of this minute 34,476 readers have visited Nostalgia and Now. I hope to continue to write posts that interest the readers and readers are invited to suggest subjects from the past and today to write about.

Thank you again for visiting the site and look forward to writing many more posts over the coming years.

Andrew Godfrey

Andy Griffith Tells About Moments Before Don Knotts Died

Andy Griffith on the Today show recounting the last few minutes before Don Knotts died at the age of 81 on February 24, 2006.

He also tells how Don Knotts called him to tell him he needed a deputy for the Andy Griffith Show.

Barney Fife Recites the Preamble From Memory

Barney Fife showing off by reciting the Preamble to the Constitution from memory to Sheriff Andy Taylor on the Andy Griffith Show.

Hurricane Katrina: Lest We Forget

August 29 will mark the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina which cost 1,836 lives due to the hurricane and floods which caused property damage of $81 billion and left thousands homeless.

It doesn’t seem like it has been five years since Hurricane Katrina hit the United States on August 29, 2005. The aftermath of Hurricane Katrina left thousands of refugees without homes.

The refugees first went to the Superdome for safety but when the levees broke many of them had no homes to return to after the levees broke and water as high as 15 feet flooded the city in some places.

The hurricane did massive damage to the city but the flooding turned a bad situation into an even worse situation as stranded flood victims begged for someone to rescue them from the roofs of their houses.

While this was going on there were thousands at the Superdome and Civic Center who had no food or water for several days as the government was extremely slow in responding to the calls for food and water by the refugees.

I don’t know the timeline in Haiti as to how fast food and water arrived after the earthquake there but I have a feeling they may have been given food and water faster than those refugees in New Orleans who begged food and water for days before finally getting help.

President Bush told the television networks that Michael Brown was doing a great job as FEMA director while there were thousands of people begging for food and water to stay alive. While nobody was responding to the calls for help people were dying from the lack of food and water to sustain them.

How could government officials see the pain the people were in and not respond sooner is beyond me. I know it takes time to get the food and water to the refugees but there should have been a contingency plan that could have expedited the relief efforts.

I realize that it was not easy to get to the refugees because of the flooding but why wasn’t there some airdrops made that could have dropped pallets with food and water for the refugees.

The television networks documented the situation showing the need of the refugees yet it seemed like nobody in the government was doing anything to alleviate the situation. People were dying in the city because they were unable to get a bottle of water for each refugee.

Not only did the federal government fail the refugees but the state and local government did nothing till after refugees had died from lack of water and food.

Hopefully some lessons were learned by the different government entities that failed the refugees that will prevent another situation like was experienced by the refugees in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Thousands of the refugees who had no homes to return to boarded busses to different destinations taking them to an uncertain future in different parts of the United States. Many of them have never returned to New Orleans.

My son left New Orleans before the hurricane hit riding his bicycle and made better time than the motorists who were in long lines of cars exiting the city of New Orleans. We were living in Pineville, Louisiana which is 219 miles northwest of New Orleans at the time of the hurricane.

The hurricane didn’t affect us much since the hurricane hit the eastern side of the state. However we had an interest in what was happening to New Orleans since we had been there several times over the years.

Brian Williams of NBC made an interesting retrospective of what it was like when Hurricane Katrina hit and the aftermath on a recent Dateline NBC program that reminds us again of the suffering endured by the refugees of Hurricane Katrina.

Those who missed the broadcast and would like to see the program can find it in six parts:

This photo shows how the flooding covered part of the I-10 and I-610 interchange in the New Orleans area.

I was impressed by the sincerity of Brian Williams in the Dateline NBC program and his ability to tell what it was like to be there in the center of the storm and the aftermath in which our government was unable to respond to calls for food and water until several days after the hurricane had hit.

If the government doesn’t have a better contingency plan than we had in 2005 we are doomed to repeat history the next time a major hurricane hits the United States.

Blackwood Brothers: The Old Country Church

The Blackwood Brothers singing The Old Country Church at the Grand Ole Gospel Reunion. The group at this time was comprised of tenor Bill Shaw, lead James Blackwood, baritone Cecil Blackwood, bass J.D. Sumner and pianist Wally Varner.

The highlight for me was when Bill Shaw is featured on the last verse. I liked the song so much I that I wore out the record and had to order another one.

I have been fortunate to have seen the Blackwood Brothers a few times in concert but not with this configuration since J.D. Sumner was no longer with the group and Wally Varner had left the group in 1963.

Varner was one of the best southern gospel pianists to sit down at the keyboard. The following video shows him playing Looking For The City and he is in top form as he shows his piano wizardry.

This is southern gospel music at its best with Vestal Goodman, Johnny Cook, Wally Varner and the Bill Gaither homecoming singers singing the classic Looking For A City on the Turn Your Radio On video. This video was the fifth in the Bill Gaither Homecoming series and was released in 1993.

Wikipedia has more information about the homecoming videos and even lists how many videos each of the performers appeared on.

It was surprising to me that Jake Hess was on 38 videos while James Blackwood only appeared in 10 of them.

Dove Brothers Quartet: When I Move To Hallelujah Square

John Rulapaugh featured on When I Move to Hallelujah Square in this video from an appearance in Kentucky when the original lineup for the Dove Brothers was still together with Burman Porter singing bass, Eric Dove singing baritone, McCray Dove singing lead, Rulapaugh singing tenor and Richard Simmons playing the piano.

Only McCray Dove and Eric Dove remain out of the original five Dove Brothers. Jerry Martin tenor, David Hester bass and Adam Harman are rest of the group as it is comprised today.