Paint Schoodic

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

This line of country


Google maps makes it possible to play cat-and-mouse in your car.
Parke County, Indiana, from an earlier midwest painting trip.
Most of my kids have Google maps location sharing set up. This feature tells you where a cell phone is. If I had younger kids, I’d insist on it. However, my children are all adults. I don’t have them tied to my apron strings; it was something my husband was tinkering with and we never turned it off.

It’s very useful, especially when someone loses their cell phone. “Mary,” I can say from across the country, “it’s at your house.”

Chapel of Faith, by Carol L. Douglas
I met my eldest and her family in Mobile, Alabama. Since then we’ve been traveling in parallel. They amuse themselves with tourist activities while I paint, and we meet up afterwards.

Location sharing has limitations. It updates periodically, not instantaneously. You can set a route to the last destination the phone was in, but you can’t track the other phone in real time. It will be less fun when they fix that.

Parke County, Indiana, from an earlier midwest painting trip.
My kids were poking along the gulf coast while I was in Langan Park with fellow painter Cat Pope. Rather than call them to meet up, I decided to track them. It was an exhilarating game, for they were moving as fast as I was. Time after time, I pounced, only to come up with thin air—they’d moved on. Finally, they entered a cul-de-sac. “Ah!” I said. “I can cut them off at the entrance.” But, alas, another car pulled up behind me, preventing my neat maneuver.

A warning, though: you’re driving a real machine, not an imaginary video-game car. Pull off to the side of the road to use Google maps, just as you should when doing anything not driving-related.

My son-in-law likes to drive at night. They headed north while I got a hotel room in Mississippi. I’m a poor sleeper. I noted they’d stopped for a while at a rest stop in Tennessee. In the morning, they were at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, KY.

Wabash Bottom Lands, by Carol L. Douglas
Rather than retrace my steps through Virginia, I decided to head north after them.

They’d stopped at a lonely country intersection south of Birmingham, Alabama for gas, about 40 miles from where I’d been in Marion last week. There were two service stations. The first was devoid of life, except for a big ol’ junkyard dog. Arthur lost his favorite cap running back to his truck.

At the second station, there appeared to be a party in progress. There were trucks everywhere, but nobody was buying gas. Nobody seemed to notice him. “They were like zombies,” Arthur told me. He decided to go back to the first station. The dog was gone and the pumps were on, but the station was as ghostly and abandoned as ever.

As he headed back to the interstate, he saw something in the road. “That’s my hat!” he exclaimed. It was full of bitemarks. He left it right where it was.

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