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.