(25) Thirty Days of Grateful Praise: Google Street View

I traveled this Google Street View road in Virginia a couple of nights ago at midnight. It’s one of the prettiest I’ve been on.

Blue Ridge Blue Collar Man is edging up on his sixty-first birthday, so we’ve started to talk about places we might like to live after retirement.  We’re just in the dreaming stage right now, but it’s been fun to wander about on some of the maps I ordered through AAA.

We’re starting now because this is a decision that we want to give plenty of thought to.  We’ve moved a lot in the twenty-five years we’ve been married, mostly to find better schools for our children, and we are weary of moving.  We want this to be the last time.  We jokingly refer to The Search for our Final Resting Place, but really, that’s what it is. We can’t seem to give up on the idea that we might finally find a place someday where we’ll fit in.  Like I said, we’re dreamers.

So I’ve been studying my maps and occasionally looking at houses online in the areas we’re interested in.  When I find a house I like, I enter its address on Google Earth and fly like a bird from Outer Space down to see it (I guess you’ll only know what I’m talking about if you use Google Earth—believe me, it’s cool!).  Even though I use (and love) paper maps and always will, I have become completely smitten (some might say obsessed) with Google Earth.   I get a little thrill every time I put in an address, then make the dizzying descent to Earth at lightning speed.  But even more, I love…no, I ADORE…Google Street View.

I’ve only know about it for a year, which is probably a good thing because I already spend more time than I should flying down virtual roads.  When we finally graduated from dial-up internet to the slowest DSL, one of the first things I did was to take a little trip with Google Street View.  I love how you can even tell what time of the year it was then by the wildflowers on the side of the road.  I knew it was August in the one above before I noticed the date on the screen.  Yesterday, I saw that it was early autumn when the Google mappers went through Hillsville, Virginia.  I also saw that Hillsville seems to have a nice library.   The one thing I don’t like about Google Street View is that they don’t often cover the back roads that we love so well, but that’s probably too much to ask.

Someday, of course, we hope to actually check out some of these places in something other than our virtual car.  I mean, you can’t pull over and take a hike or buy a jar of honey on Google Street View, though I wouldn’t be surprised if they offer something like that in the future.  On the other hand, our real car can’t fly over other vehicles in the road like our virtual Google car can.  I’ve always wanted to do that…and now I can.


9 Responses to “(25) Thirty Days of Grateful Praise: Google Street View”

  1. betsyfromtennessee Says:

    Isn’t it just so much fun????? Dreaming and taking ‘virtual’ trips is just so fabulous —and so CHEAP… ha ha ……

    When we bought this house (small and all on one level), we thought we’d be in it til we die –and we might be. We got it in a community where there are hospitals/grocery stores/banks, etc. NEARBY… (We wanted privacy –and would have chosen something in the country –but had to be practical, knowing that we aren’t getting any younger.)

    Now —we are thinking that there may come a time when we will have to sell this house and go into a condo (due to the yardwork)…. OR–we’ll just have to let the yard do its own thing!!!! ha

    I do hope and pray that retirement for you two is as wonderful as it has been for George and me. I’m sure—with your planning—that it will be!!!!!


  2. Bonnie Jacobs Says:

    I love traveling via Google street maps! I have been to “see” the street and house where my book buddy lives in the Netherlands, even though I have never left the USA. Years after I bought an old car from my son, I “found” it parked at the side of his house, even though I knew it was in the parking lot where I’d left it. (I just took a moment to go look again, and yep, it’s still parked beside his house, in the sunshine, even though it’s 1:00 a.m.)

    Maybe some would see my virtual travels as a waste of time, but I can go sightseeing without using any gas in the car, without sideswiping a parked car while I’m gawking at houses and neighborhoods, without worrying about how safe an urban area may be this late at night, without making people suspicious of “a strange woman staring at my house, officer.” Hey, Beth, do you suppose you and I just have a lot of imagination?

  3. Bonnie Jacobs Says:

    I forgot to ask, have you found where I live? I’ll send you my address, if you don’t have it.

  4. Plowing Through Life (Martha) Says:

    I love this! Not only do I use it for directions when I’m going somewhere I’ve never been before, but also to travel around the world. It is one of the most amazing things. I might not have the means to travel in real time, but my virtual travels are quite extensive.

  5. Sharon Says:

    My question is, why in the world would you want to leave that amazing oasis you currently live in? Perhaps it has something to do with maintenance and that sort of thing. We go through that scenario occasionally, but so far have come to the conclusion that it’s more economical to pay someone to do the yardwork (like we have to do when we travel) than it would be to absorb the cost of moving. That way, Bill can still “piddle” in his yard which is his sanctuary, but doesn’t have to do the hard stuff! Just wish it was in the country and had a view of the mountains.

    Oh year, love google street view. I was able to visit ALL the cabins we rented this year on our Summer Adventure before making the final reservation. NICE!!

  6. Jes Says:

    Google Street View *is* so much fun! I used it to check out the small towns we stayed at in England & I love to use to to peek at cool neighborhoods.

    Another app I’ve become fond of for dreaming is zillow.com. You can search by zip code for all the houses for sale in an area. So addicting! Tons of pictures & info about all the houses, plus their tax and past sale data–perfect for dreaming of the next move 🙂

  7. CountryDew Says:

    I love Google Earth, too! It is fascinating to tour the world with it. I see you’re checking out Virginia. Good to hear!

  8. Jeff Says:

    Something to consider in your virtual travels: medical care. Hillsville is a fairly good-sized town, as is Galax, but I don’t know about medical care. Floyd is close to Roanoke and Blacksburg/Christiansburg, though. I expect Country Dew might be able to help you out with tips for places to look, as she’s a native to the area. Oh, and Floyd has a great little library – it is affiliated with the Montgomery County (Christiansburg) library system.

  9. Benjamin Says:

    Interesting especially in places you can’t afford to go, for financial or safety reasons (like Mexico). Some of their highways look a little bit like 221 going down from Watauga County.

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