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So the other day, I set out on what we in the county counting business like to call a “county trip”, which basically means driving around in the middle of nowhere aimlessly collecting counties. My youngest daughter decided she wanted to go to “Kentucky” for her long-distance date with me, so I coopted her into driving to finish the final 15 of Kentucky’s 120 counties (and also a few in southwestern Virginia as well).

You see, Robertson County in Kentucky, a mere 75 miles from my house, had been TAUNTING me for 10+ years, so close and always so far!  (furthest west of the counties in white in the picture below)

a map of different colored squares

So that was the first order of business on the daya man and girl taking a selfie

Miles and points hooked us up with a stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Lebanon Virginia. Rather than pay 20,000 IHG points (Category 3), I booked it through IHG’s annual sale for $75 plus tax.

Arriving at the Holiday Inn Express Lebanon Virginia

Due to a 2 hour Google-maps-induced delay which is probably worth its completely OWN blog post, we didn’t get into Lebanon until nearly 8pm.  The address of the hotel is 228 Regional Park Road, Lebanon, Virginia 24266. If you put that address into Google Maps, you come out just fine, but if you just put in “Holiday Inn Express & Suites Lebanon Virginia” (like me), you’re greeted with this

a map of a location

It says it’s inside the Walmart. (Spoiler alert: It’s not)

Well at least my 2 rules of traveling for when things go wrong come into play….

No, the Holiday Inn Express is NOT inside Walmart

In hindsight, I obviously should have checked my directions. But my first clue that something was amiss was when I pulled into the Walmart parking lot and started looking for the Holiday Inn Express. There was a blue sign off of the exit from US19 saying that it was at this exit, but when I pulled into the parking lot I got this

a parking lot with cars and a building

Actually, it was worse than this because it was the evening of Christmas Day and Walmart was closed. So it was completely dark and completely empty – there was NOTHING. There was a road to my right so I thought I’d try that.  As soon as I get 200 feet Google starts “recalculating” so I turn around.

Okay, maybe it’s BEHIND Walmart. I stayed at a Residence Inn in Peoria that was hidden behind a shopping mall. Nope, that’s just the truck loading zone.

Hmm, I’ve never seen a hotel inside a shopping center but… maybe? (No)

As I drive through the deserted Walmart parking lot, I see a lady blowing leaves (I think?). I stop and ask her if she knows where the Holiday Inn Express was.  She responds with “WALMART IS CLOSED”. Oooooh boy I could already tell it was going to be a fruitful conversation, but eventually she tells me she thinks she’s seen it down the road a mile or two – “Don’t go more than 2 exits”.  TWO EXITS?!?!? WHERE AM I?!!?

I start driving down the road off to the right again, past where I had turned around previously, and make another right which leads me to a dead end. At this point I decide to call the hotel, even though my phone is literally at 2% battery. The gentleman on the phone starts giving me directions, and after 2 more wrong turns (including starting to go down a gravel road – or was it someone’s driveway?), I make it to the hotel

cars parked cars in front of a hotel

Postscript to the story – I suggested an edit to Google Maps which I’ve already been told was accepted. So if you try to search for the Holiday Inn Express Lebanon today, you may find it in its correct spot. Consider that my Christmas gift to you, future traveler 🙂

Now it’s your turn – what’s your best story from where your GPS led you astray?

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