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Hometown Heroes gone bad

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014 12:59 p.m. CDT

I would like to start this column out by simply stating ... I really dislike the rural roads throughout Bureau County.

Not only are they difficult to navigate, I’ve also never been able to understand how they are defined by a number, followed by either East Street or North Avenue. Often times, the mapping system on my cell phone is confused by a road name that includes a number. A lot of times, the device tells me there is no such place.

When this happens, I end up typing in the road I need to get to, such as 2800 North Avenue, and once I get to the road, I can then locate the address I’m searching for on that particular road.

My luck with this secret, however, caught up with me the other day.

I was headed to an assignment for the Bureau County Republican’s up and coming section, “Hometown Heroes.” Watch for it soon!

I had scheduled an interview with two special people from rural LaMoille, who had been selected by their fellow community members to be highlighted in this noteworthy section.

I’ll be honest when I say I don’t get to LaMoille as often as I should, therefore, the area always feels new to me when I’m there covering assignments.

This time, I had my destination address, and as I typed it into my system, it of course came up as nonexistent. So I did what I always do, and typed in 2800 North Avenue, which quickly gave me directions to the road.

I was on my way, making good time. My directions told me to make a right on Route 92 in LaMoille and continue on the way for about 10 minutes. In my head, I thought, “Wow this address is actually pretty far out of LaMoille.”

I should have listened to my instincts right then, and especially when the outskirts of Mendota started to come into view.

To make a long story — full of much panic — short, my mapping system directed me to the wrong section of 2800 North Avenue. The section I wanted to be on was actually on the opposite side of LaMoille.

Before I realized that, however, I spent a good 50 minutes, driving around very rural land, looking for the missing section of 2800 North Avenue.

I’m embarrassed to say, I went as far out as the LaSalle County border line; I drove past Clarion; discovered a golf course I didn’t know existed; and came upon some of the largest snowdrifts I’ve ever seen. Let me tell you, it’s a different world out there in very rural LaMoille.

Looking for a destination is one thing, but searching for an unknown address in a place where you’ve never been before, in the middle of winter with large piles of snow — it can bring you to a point of extreme anxiety. At one point, I figured this might be the first time in my journalism career where I wasn’t able to find my destination.

I was lost in the middle of nowhere, at the end of my road; my cell phone signal was dying; the mounds of snow seemed to get larger; time was quickly ticking away; and I was wondering what I would even say to my interviewees if I ever made it to the actual destination. I thought, “Man, this is Hometown Heroes gone bad.”

Luckily, I was able to get in touch with fellow reporter, Donna Barker, who was able to give me the telephone number to my interviewees. The lesson I learned there: Always take the phone number with you, just in case.

As I called the people one hour past the time I was supposed to be at their house; they were able to direct me on the right path to the correct portion of 2800 North Avenue.

As I pulled into the driveway with my adrenaline still running rapid, and a feeling of embarrassment beginning to set in, I was unsure what to expect coming to an hour late interview.

However, my interviewees laughed with me at the situation and were completely understanding and still more than willing to continue with the story.

We may not have the most organized road system in this county, but thank goodness for our true hometown heroes.

BCR Staff Writer Goldie Curried can be reached at gcurrie@bcrnews.com.

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