Of course, I thought I knew where I was, but it proved to be a fallacy. I was staying in our organization’s guest accommodations during some meetings in Orlando. I took a quick trip down to south Florida to visit friends, 3 hours south of Orlando. They rightly told me to return to Orlando on the Florida Turnpike and I would arrive in 3 hours. I did that and in 3 hours, I was indeed back in Orlando. The problem was, I didn’t know how to get back to where I was staying from the Turnpike.
My initial mistake was thinking that the Turnpike and Highway 417 were one in the same. They are both Toll roads, and have green signs. To my cost, I learned they are NOT the same. So, having arrived just after dark, I found myself northwest of Orlando. I decided to take the first available exit, and stopped at the tollbooth to ask. They had no idea where I was supposed to be, so advised me to turn around and head the other way. I did, but still on the toll road.
Fortunately, my phone had started asking me to talk to it, and since I have been unable to set it so that I don’t have to, it was a good opportunity to start talking. I asked it to call the person in charge of the course, named Jo. I then asked Jo where I needed to go. It was during that discussion that I realized I was confused about the Turnpike and Highway 417. Anyway, she gave me instructions as best she could, given she wasn’t sure where I was exactly. I got to the specified exit, and found a gas/petrol station. While filling up, I called her again. After some discussions, and asking directions from the clerk at the gas station, I headed east on a road that should take me to Narcoosee Road. He thought it would take about 15 minutes to get there. There was a light and the street was marked.
After what seemed an eternity, I ran out of lights and found myself driving along a very dark road. It felt like I was beside a lake, which was probably Kissimmee. After some time, I saw a sheriff’s car in the median. I managed to do a U-turn a bit further down, and came back to the sheriff. My car was quite low, and he couldn’t see that I had pulled up beside him. I couldn’t find the horn, so finally got out of the car and picked my way through the burrs. The sheriff was working on his computer quite intently. I knocked on his window, and that gave him a start. He looked at me for a long moment and then put down the window. I explained that I was lost, and he directed me to where I needed to go – in fact the last light I had passed.
Finally on Narcoosee, it was supposed to be 3-4 miles. That is actually about 10 miles. Things are much further in the dark. I was beginning to despair that I would ever see my things again, but after much stress and anxiety, I did manage to get “home”. I felt like kissing the ground! My greatest joy was that I was being picked up and taken to the airport the next morning, so there was little chance that I would get lost again! Jo was also relieved, that after monitoring my two hours of wandering about Orlando, her little duckling had at last reached home.