Sometimes in my work I have to travel. This is not down-the-highway driving. The interviewee's instructions usually go something like this: "Get on highway such-and-such for so many miles and get off at exit number so-and-so, go "x" number of miles west and then turn south after the fourth cattle guard and then" ... you get the idea.
Usually, I'm not headed home until after dark, and things look different then. Trees and rocks are bigger, ditches are deeper. After my husband had to gather up the tow chains and come looking for me a few times he started, before I left, having me name every town I'd go through before I left the highway and make a copy of my directions for him.
But if I took a wrong turn in the dark I wouldn't be where the directions said, anyway.
Cell phones, you say? There's often no service in the "boonies," and besides, if I called what would I say? "I'm on this road that's going around a big mesa. Can you maybe figure out where I am?"
Maybe the new Global Positioning System will come to my rescue eventually, but our family doesn't have that yet.
I've gotten an unexpected benefit from getting lost out in cow country. If you stop at a place that has lights on, usually the person living there will be nice enough to tell you where you are and which way to go.
Actually, I've made quite a few new friends that way, and when I see them later at a fair or rodeo I really don't mind if they make a clever remark about my "lostness."
Our family finally came up with a name for these extracurricular travels - tour bonuses.
It's not always just me. Sometimes it's all of us - especially if we're going fishing, and not catching anything. In that case, we keep moving to a different stream or a little lake somebody mentioned that's not far, just up that road. First thing we know, we've gone way far and realize we shoulda been paying attention.
Also, our "lostness" proclivity is not limited to our home state. I blame it on the urge to "see the country" away from the interstate. A group of us went to Branson, Mo., once to fish and visit the music shows. The map showed a shorter route, through Arkansas. We took that route -- and took that route - through beautiful country covered with trees.
The scenery was not disturbed by convenience stores, gas stations or restaurants, just a house now and then. Luckily, somebody had brought along some crackers, cheese and bottled water so we didn't totally starve. We did not have a portable restroom, of course, so that became a major problem before we finally found a gas station.
By then, nobody was happy, although a couple of group members drove everybody else crazy by singing "I'm lost" songs in the Hank Williams, Sr., tradition - really loud with the car windows rolled down - off key.
That trip holds the record as our most memorable Tour Bonus.
Glenda Price has been a contributing editor to New Mexico Stockman magazine since 1982. Contact her at: