I sort of inwardly cackle when I read about llaird getting lost driving in L.A.; never a "there but for the grace of god" reaction, instead "I can't even imagine what that's like because my sense of direction and map memory is too good for me to ever really get lost".
Well, today I managed to turn a 15 minute trip into a 50 minute one by virtue of not quite remembering the map right and losing my sense of direction by about 90 degrees (it was overcast or I'd have noticed the sun position probably).
I've been able to reconstruct my route with a fair degree of certainty, between a couple of road names I remember and certain features I remember encountering.
The complicating factors here: the address for the Target that I mapquested was wrong. (Either there are two Targets near each other in San Leandro, or something. I don't know. Target's web site was running super slow so I couldn't use their store locator. But I knew where the store "really" was, and I figured it was either there, or it had moved to the other place, and it would be easy to drive to both of them at once since they were both located off Hesperian between 880 and 14th st.) Also, I had looked at this map on Monday, not today, and never bothered refreshing my view of it.
This is the route from my apartment (at the star) to the place where I believed the Target was.
Here is the end of the route, with the route leading to the actual location where the Target turned out to be. (The other red dot with arrow shows the "other" Target which was showing up in my searches, in a mall just off the edge.)
Here is where I made my mistake. When I got off the off-ramp for Lewelling Blvd, my memory of the mapquest route was that I had to go straight past a cross-street and go another block or so before making a left on something (Lewelling, or Hesperian, I couldn't remember), but when I got to the cross-street going straight didn't look promising (it was one way and kind of tiny), so I instead made the left (onto Lewelling, but there were no signs so I couldn't tell I was doing the right thing), thinking I was where the green line and arrow is.
I knew that the Target was off Hesperian, so I had two barriers that I knew I shouldn't go past: 14th St (aka International Blvd, which actually goes right by my apt too) and Hesperian. And, if I somehow got turned around, the freeway I was coming from, 880.
So I felt confident that I could wander around looking for the Target and eventually I'd bump into one of those two roads and could guide myself by it.
However, if you look at the previous map, you'll see that I had already overshot Hesperian (while I was pondering what road I was on) and in fact had managed to just miss seeing the towering Target sign.
So I set forth, thinking I needed to cut SE towards Hesperian, and that I was going NE-ish (when I was actually going E). So I made the first reasonable-looking right I found, leaving Lewelling without ever knowing I was on it. This turned out to not be as major as I'd thought, driving into a suburban neighborhood, so I took the next left and then a right onto something moderately major, which I'm guessing now was Meekland.
I followed Meekland an awfully long way (in hindsight), knowing that I'd have to hit Hesperian or 14th eventually so it must be reasonable. Eventually it ran out, forcing me left, so then I turned on Grand, and eventually that ran out, and I turned onto Jackson St., having not my choice--and believing it to be more like SE than SSW.
I started seeing signs for 880, but I wasn't sure where the hell I was relative to the Target so I didn't want to get on it since I didn't know which way to go, so I figured I'd cross it, figure out where I was, and double-back. However, the little street I was on suddenly had a 65-mph sign and widened out--with the addition of ramps coming from 880--into a freeway, totally throwing me. I thought maybe somehow the road I was on had turned into 880, heading south (SSE), when in fact the road I was on was becoming 92. (I'm not sure if there were signs for this that I missed or what.)
The funny part here is how much further I was going to go the wrong way.
Anyway, I saw the signs for Hesperian after 880 merged, but there was a poorly-timed 18-wheeler on my right and I just couldn't get over in time, so I figured I'd take the next exit and either get back on going backwards or just cut across overland. I wish I'd done the former since maybe I'd have noticed it wasn't 880. The next exit was Industrial Blvd.
Here I am getting off of 92 at Industrial Blvd... and going entirely the wrong way! How come? Well, because I thought I was getting off 880. Also I didn't know that Hesperian ran NW-SE here; I thought it ran more NE-SE (it actually runs N-S where it crosses 880).
So this is what I thought was going on, roughly:
Nevermind that I was incredibly far from where this could be; I had thought I had never crossed Hesperian or 14th avenue, and so must still be in the good zone (and just thought that I had totally misremember the map and the zone was much bigger than I thought).
Now, I didn't want to go too far "NE" on Industrial without cutting over to Hesperian, because I didn't want to pass the Target (remember, I was unsure how far up Hesperian it was, because of the weird two-possible-locations). But the first left I came to looked suburban as I approached the light, so I didn't take it. As I went through and looked down it, I could see it looked pretty good after all. Then fearing taking too long, I took the second, not realizing that Industrial was rapidly converging with Hesperian.
The second, unfortuantely, ran out and I was forced to double-back to the first, then cut through to Hesperian. Since I didn't see any giant Target signs anywhere, I concluded that it must be further away from "880", and hence continued in the direction I'd been going on Industrial.
I then followed Hersperian a ways.
A long ways.
Eventually, it dawned on me that (a) this was just too far, and (b) I couldn't see the hills that I know parallel 880 down the bay coast off to the NE, looking in the direction I was imagining was NE. And everything was just suburban in a wrong way.
So I eventually turned around, and later did spot off to my front right the hills.
My complete route (missing about 1/3 of the original official route--my apt is a tiny bit off the top left here):
The route home was much simpler.