Another time we were in the far NE part of WA and met three locals who were walking along and we told them we were heading from Tiger over to Colville. They told us that we would have to climb Tiger Hill and that it was probably close to impossible to do that on a bike and it would take hours. I got up that hill in just over a half hour.
Another time we stopped in a bike shop in Oxnard CA to ask how to get south along the Pacific Coast because construction had affected the normal route. The guy working there just said something like "How would I know that?" We later found the necessary trail over a dry creek bed about a half mile away. Jeez!
Locals often know little to nothing about local geography and especially about topography. If you always driver everywhere maybe you lose all ability to notice ups and downs! I've seen that over and over when asking about upcoming routes in the west.