Hear Me Out: MapQuest

MapQuest (2019)


This is the title of the TV show. The entire premise of the show is to put teenagers and college kids inside of a 1995 Honda Civic and drop them off in the middle of a city they’ve never been to before. They will be given a MapQuest printout to see if they can follow the directions to the finish line before the time expires.

The rules are simple:

  • They are not allowed to use any electronic device to help get directions to the final destination. This includes laptops, OnStar Navigation, smartphones, Apple Maps, etc.

  • They are required to stop at random checkpoints which are conveniently located at gas stations. They will go inside and talk to the gas station clerk to receive further instructions to make it back on the right path. “Take a left past the water tower. If you see the big red barn you’ve gone too far. Then take the next four lefts, followed by two rights, then go straight through the five consecutive roundabouts.

  • They will be docked points for missing multiple turns in a row.

  • Contestants are allowed to phone a friend but they have to use a public pay phone. They have to beg strangers for quarters and initiate human interaction.

  • They must drive a stick shift the entire time (lol…good luck).

  • Aqua - Barbie Girl will be playing loudly over the car speakers on a loop—just to mess with their willpower.

I would watch the shit out of that show. Hit me up Netflix. Let’s do the damn thing.

For those saying this is just The Amazing Race—shove off. I’ve never seen that show.

How did I come up with this brilliant idea you ask? Well, yesterday morning I watched someone print out directions from MapQuest, while texting someone on their iPhone.

I know. Insane. I almost reported them to HR.

My mother did the same thing en route to my wedding in California. She printed out MapQuest directions and she also had an iPhone. When I asked her why she printed it out, she said she just gets nervous and likes to study the printout ahead of time. Well, of course, she missed multiple turns and showed up late because her piece of paper magically didn’t re-route her.

If you are interested in reading a little bit more history on MapQuest, they have been around—under different company names and divisions—since 1967 making printed road maps and putting them in gas stations. It wasn’t until 1996 when they launched the MapQuest website.

On February 25, 1999, MapQuest went public, trading on Nasdaq. In December 1999, it was announced that America Online (AOL) would acquire MapQuest for $1.1 billion. The deal closed in 2000. The website is still around today—somehow. I guess you can’t take the boomer out of the boomer. I tried using it last night and my laptop froze up.

MapQuest will always hold a special place in my heart—right next to AskJeeves.

I miss the ‘90s.