Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dear Alex :: First Day Driving - 6 hours later...

Photos by Ian
 Dear Alex,

The whole day wasn't all horrible and snowy and dark. In fact, most of my day driving was idyllic. This morning, he was swell enough to come over at 9:30 AM, despite being exhausted, and joining me in Tobbit for my first voyage. We would be going from North Seattle to Bowen Island.

The normal route would take only a few hours, but that was via I-5 which I had done plenty of times before. Being a new driver, I wasn't really up for I-5 so I crafted up an alternate route that wove around the countryside.

The sun was on our side and, truly, the entire day went smooth. I'm just throwing that out there now.

The road we ended up taking was Washington state route 9. It runs parallel, sort of, to Interstate 5 but is a whole lot more awesome. I loved it because I was able to relax with few cars ever, ever before or behind me. I liked hairpin turns and narrow bridges.

I feel in love with each little town we would pass through, wishing I had time to linger in each one and meet the people who had chosen to call that place home. I wanted to know want had drawn them there and what kept them from leaving.

Having my brother with me was quite the honour. Ian took off two days from work to accompany me up North and that's something I'm really grateful for. In the eight or nine hours of travel, I was grateful for the conversations we had and the opportunity to get closer to him. I really love that guy -- a lot. He's awesome.

The driving went smoothly and Tobbit handled well like a champ. Shifting has become second nature and I love the process of listening to Tobbit and figuring out what gear will fit him best for which situation.

Once in Canada, we hit Abbotsford which is where the traffic started. There were lots of starts and stops, hills, traffic, lanes, and merging. I learned to feel calm in the right hand lane, just sort of trucking along. My favourite was to get behind huge truck (not right behind - but sort of behind). For the longest time, Ian and I found ourselves behind a Coca-Cola truck. See, the great thing about that is that they don't go to fast and, because of that, I'm not expected to go too fast. People can't expect me to go faster because I truly am not capable of doing such a thing. If I went any faster, I would slam into the truck and that would cause havoc and death. Voila!

On the long stretches of hilly-highway, going upwards, Tobbit didn't exactly cruise up with grace like the new cars, but he did putter up in his own style and I never felt unsafe. I knew I was doing my best and the world was aware and kind. Merging, something I used to fear, became one of my new favorite games. I love letting people merge in front of me! I would now consider it one of my hobbies.

I got to practice my parking in real life situations as well as starting and stopping on a hill. I got to work on slowly easing up to booths (customs -- hoorah? -- was done three times from USA to Canada to USA to Canada...).

I feel like I'm starting to get a handle on this driving-thing. I wouldn't say it's my favourite, but I'm starting to get it. I don't feel nervous any more in just about any situation. There are times when I need silence to think through an intersection, but I feel a lot more confident.

Thanks for teaching me to drive and having me practice getting on and off the freeway the other day, it helped a lot. I appreciate you.

Hope all is well with you and your studies,




  1. Highway 9, man. That's been my life. You probably drove right by my house.

    1. That hadn't even occurred to me. So beautiful. I like that road a lot... top to bottom.


Your words make me grin.

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