Emerald Pina- Chapter 9, Transit

My name is Emerald Pina, and I’m a freshmen. I am half Chinese, and half Puerto Rican.  I do not speak a foreign language, and travel very little. I have been to Cancun, Mexico and the states: California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. This will be my second year in Texas. I was born in Los, Gatos, California, and have lived their all my life. My dream destination is to travel to Europe and visit France, Italy, and Spain. In the near future, I intend on travelling more, becoming less “geographically illiterate” and seeing the other side of the world. I want to familiarize myself with the different cultures and different ways of life.

Chapter 9, Transit, of the book Mapheads, the chapter is about the road and its admirers, roadgeeks.  Roadgeeks is a term that represents people that are obsessed with the road, which is the case for Mark Bozanich and John Spafford. Ken Jennings takes a drive with these roadgeeks and learns many things. One, roadgeeks first begin as a maphead; they start off with a road atlas, studying it carefully. On the trip, Jennings also realizes that photography plays a big role in the traveling of roadgeeks. Before the Internet, many roadgeeks felt alone in their love of roads and road maps. Now, the Internet is a place where they take picture of their adventures of the road and share them online. In the book, Jennings also learns the necessity of having roadgeeks in our society. For one, they appreciate the things that we take for granted, the U.S. Interstate Highway, which is one of the most amazing and well-though engineering ever imagined. The birth of the highway begins in 1919, when Dwight D. Eisenhower realized how terrible and long the travel is outside the city. Then in 1956, he signed the Interstate Highway System into, becoming the greatest peacetime public works project in history. Jennings, on page 169, makes a point by stating, “Roads are like maps in that we think about them only when they don’t do their job and we wind up lost or stuck or sidelined. If not for roadgeeks, who would appreciate the lowly highway.” Roadgeeks also show their importance to society because they are the only ones that notice the confusing signs and incorrectly numbered shields. People don’t realize how many roadgeeks make our day-to-day travel on the highway easier. Roadgeeks can also fall into the same category as archaeologist. They notice the ruins and ghosts of building and bridges.

Unlike many other countries, America does not enjoy and take pride in the joy of mapmaking. Britain; however, as it states in the book on page 174, “… takes pride in creating scaled-down version of the countryside in exhaustive detail…” Road atlases from America and Britain or Europe, only differ in its heritage. Road atlases and cartography from Britain and Europe dates back to century’s way back when. On the other hand, “America adopted road atlases after adopting the automobile, “ states Jennings on page 175. It wasn’t until the invention of the American highway system that made road atlases a big hit. As a fact in the book, it says on page 176, “Eight million of these gas-station maps were printed between 1913 and 1986…” This new invention became the biggest promotion giveaway of the twentieth century. The road atlas then brought forth the well-known and torturous family road trip. However, with Jim Sinclair’s annual St. Valentine’s Day Massacre, road trips can be experienced straight from your home. With a Rand McNally road atlas and a contest booklet, participants have to make their way from the start to finish line, or halfway line for first-time players. Along the way, manned checkpoints will be put in place, which are question asking what city or landmark you see next or which highway do you take. The number of questions you get wrong determines your score. The lowest score is the winner. Unfortunately, as the years go by, players are dying or becoming too ill to play. The decline of participants is an example of the lack of enjoyment of map reading in today’s generation. In the end of chapter 9, Jennings enters the contest where he gets first place with a score of sixteen, only going to the halfway line, however. Ken Jennings finally comes to the conclusion in the end of chapter 9, stating on page 185, “Roadgeek photography and the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre are just ways to get as close as possible to the atlas… We want to enter them.”

I can connect to Chapter 9, Transit, mainly when the book talks about the St. Valentines Day Massacre contest. The contest seems like a fun, hard and challenging puzzle. I love a good challenge and working with puzzles. Also, I never realized the impact many roadgeeks had on our society. They help us make our day easier and create less stress on our lives by fixing signs that could have potentially cause lots of traffic. Lastly, Chapter 9 gave me a new appreciation for the U. S. Interstate Highway system. It made me feel appreciative of the hard work and money that went into making everyday travel easier. I learned a lot how people with different and abnormal interest affect our lives, and the inventions we take for granted.

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2 thoughts on “Emerald Pina- Chapter 9, Transit

  1. Hi Emerald I really liked your blog. I like how you did a good job a explaining the St. Valentine’s day massacre. It sounds like a really hard game to stay committed to! Im am also really surprised at how long the game takes to win! Good work!


  2. I really liked your blog. Before reading the book and your blog I did not realize the effect that roadgeeks have on our daily lives. Now I know that without them we would be facing lots more problems on the road. I think it is very cool that you want to travel more as well. Do you have any specific reason you want to go to Italy?


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