I like to go off the main roads and see what's there. Sometimes we do this when we travel. Sometimes I do this when I'm wandering to a local destination. My family makes fun of me calling it the "Shari way." They will say, "There are two ways to get there. The direct route and the Shari way."
Yesterday knowing the "Shari way" kept me out of a traffic nightmare. The girls were in camp at Brookfield Zoo. For reasons I don't remember, a natural gas line exploded under First Avenue, the main street we take to the zoo.
Luckily for me I knew how to get around it via the backroads. While everyone else was sitting in miles and miles of traffic I was able to zip around using side streets and a few hidden routes. I wan't alone for the most part, but the traffic wasn't nearly as bad as it was on the official detour route.
Sometimes just getting off the main road and wandering a bit pays off -- even if you don't use that knowledge for a few years.