December 5, 2003 - In Search of Lompoc
On Thursday the dedicated staff of edhat.com went out looking for Lompoc. Or, at least we pretended to do as such. You see, most of the staff already knew where it was … and many had even been there before! For those of you south-county-ites who don’t get out much, Lompoc is located on Highway 1 just past Jalama Beach. It hails as the home of famous flowers and as the gateway to Vandenberg Air Force Base.
The search for Lompoc was conducted in downtown Santa Barbara. The dedicated staff of edhat.com drove in and out of city parking lots asking the unsuspecting parking attendants about the whereabouts of the northern city.
In an exasperated tone conveying stress and uncertainty about a pending drive to an unknown land, the undercover staffers asked, “Do you know how to get to Lompoc?”
And then, our dedicated field workers waited and listened to the response, pretending to hang on every word that was spoken to them.
It is reassuring that all the people we talked to had at least a vague notion of where Lompoc was, and most of them could have gotten there without a map. They would go north on 101 and “look for a sign” – one from God himself, or maybe Caltrans. Although light on detail, these were, in fact, adequate directions.
But, many folks did not feel comfortable telling a stranger about such a vague strategy.
“I don’t want to give you wrong directions,” one said, “just go to the gas station. They will know.”
“My friend lives out there, but I always get lost,” said another with a grin.
Someone who used to live in Lompoc gave the most accurate directions. She provided two alternative routes with highway numbers and everything. She gave us a choice of the direct route – 101 to 1, or the scenic route 101 to 154 to 246 straight through Buellton.
The directions that were just plain wrong were based upon a misunderstanding of where highway 154 intersects back with the 101. There is no Lompoc turnoff on the 154. We would still be looking for that one.
Most of our subscribers who entered our daily contest were skeptical about South County's navigational abilities. Most said we would generally receive bad directions, but that was not the case. Overall the directions were pretty good, a position asserted by only two contestants. The two were rewarded for their optimism by having their names thrown into a small sized edhat. And for the 2nd time this week, subscriber Water was chosen as the winner. Two movie tickets will be flowing in his direction. Return of the King anyone?