I Know Where I’m Going (I Think)

My wife and I recently went on vacation in the Seattle area to visit my wife’s family. Our plan was to meet up at my sister-in-law’s house and then go sea-kayaking in the San Juan Islands (great area, by the way, I highly recommend a visit). As I was driving along looking for her 742 house number, I passed the 900 block, then the 800 block, and then 1172 showed up. I said to myself: “OK…I’m an addressing guy, I can figure this out.”

So, I turned around and retraced my drive, and yes, indeed, the address changed from 812 to 1172 on the way to 742 (which I didn’t know yet). The roads were fairly crooked, so I just figured that I lost my road. Finally, I figured out what had happened. The addresses on the corner lot had an address for the intersecting street, but the entire house and driveway faced onto the street that I was on.

During all this time, I kept on thinking of what could happen to an emergency vehicle. Unless they were familiar with that road (or already had designed a workaround in the dispatch center), they would have very likely spent that same amount of time that I spent finding the address that was beyond 1172 (about 10 minutes). It was a reminder to me of why I do what I do—that bad addressing can crop up just about anywhere. (The good news is that I did still make my ferry in time.)

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