Britisher Michael Graeme had an Alternate Reality or Lost Locations TWIDDER oddly similar to my personal account. While I lost a creek, bridge and small plaque along a Utah road, Mr. Graeme lost an entire junction. (Original post at http://michaelgraeme.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/the-disappearing-road-and-other-time-slip-stories/.)
I dismissed the incident at the time as a mental aberration, but the more I’ve thought about it, the less sure I am that the rational explanation I’ve clung to isn’t the greater delusion.
It was in the Lake District in 1981. I’d set out to drive from the town of Windermere, to Coniston. The obvious route is to take the Windermere Ferry, then drive to Hawkshead. Just after Hawkshead, the road continues northwards to Ambleside and to get to Coniston, you have to turn left at a fairly obvious junction, where you pick up a road that takes you over the fells and drops you down into Coniston. On this occasion, however, the junction wasn’t there.
I wasn’t that familiar with the layout of the Lakes in those days, having only been driving for a few years and had just begun to explore my local geography. I knew there was supposed to be a junction because the road-map told me so, and I guessed I’d merely driven past it by mistake. Maybe it was a small turning and easily missed? I turned around and came back at it from the opposite direction, being extra vigilant this time. There was still no junction, no signposts for Coniston,… nothing, just an unbroken line of hedgerows with meadows beyond. I turned around and tried again: still nothing!
I lost count of the number of times I drove to and from Hawkshead looking for that road. I remember eventually pulling over into a lay by and trying to shake my head clear of the mixture of frustration and confusion, telling myself to take a deep breath and pull myself together because the road was definitely there – I was just blind to it somehow. But it was no good. That day, the junction did not exist for me.
I did eventually get to Coniston, but only by taking a twenty mile detour.
I’ve since driven the road over to Coniston dozens of times, and whenever I see the junction near Hawkshead I’m convinced I could not have simply overlooked it because it’s such an obvious thing, well flagged by signposts in both directions – and you’d have to be really blind to miss it. What do you do after an incident like that? Well, you blame yourself for being stupid, because what other explanation could there be?