Sunday, April 29, 2007


Thomas Guide Explosion

Driving west on the 10 yesterday afternoon, I noticed somewhere between Vermont and La Brea that someone had lost their Thomas Guide on the freeway and it had exploded. The pages were being flipped and spun down the median in all their multi-color glory. How did this happen?

Traffic was moving along well so I couldn't picture someone stuck in traffic, fuming, looking for a way out of the mess, not being able to find one then flinging their Thomas Guide out the window in a rush hour rage.

I remember when I got my first Thomas Guide. It was a few years after college and I could finally afford to get one. Oh I felt rich and I also felt like a true Angelino (though I would move away in a huff a few years later, hating LA -- but as with most things, it was all in my mind...). At the now defunct California Map and Travel Center on PIco (RIP) they were selling laminated and bound Thomas Guides. Of course it weighed a ton and would be harder to manipulate while driving and searching (not that anyone would ever do that) but oh, to have a Thomas Guide who's most used pages wouldn't crumble in your hands. You know, on those days when you are trying to get to the Arclight from the westside on a Sunday but you've neglected to remember that it is the LA Triathalon and there is NO WAY you are going north on any street.

Don't know why that Thomas Guide was sacrificed to the freeway gods yesterday, but let's hope it was for a good reason.

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Wonderful post. It brings back the memories for me too. I remember being six maybe seven years old and so bored out of my gourd that I took to cluelessly thumbing through the Thomas Guide that was on the dining room table. When my mom chanced by she asked me if I wanted to know how to use it. I asked her what it was and she told me inside was the entire city we lived in (as if I knew what that meant). So I said yes mainly to humor her and we looked up the street we lived on and I was hooked. Before I could read worth a dang I could operate a Thomas Guide.

I've never been without one since... even in this age of instant online maps I always update to a new TG edition every few years.
The Thomas Guide is a right of passage. And I agree -- no matter the online tool available ( The TG is always with me. Dog is my co-pilot and Thomas is my Guide.
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