Our new background picture – us happily motoring down the Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park.
[Or for those of you who aren't British - I pass my driving test and am unleashed on an unsuspecting American driving public]Baby Driver - Simon & Garfunkel at their road trippiest
They say that amongst the most stressful things to go through in life are (i) leaving / changing job; (ii) moving house; and (iii) getting divorced. Well, I am of course a fantastic over-achiever – whilst (i) and (ii) were firmly in reach (see the stress-wrinkles!!), (iii) seemed sadly unlikely given my single status. Hence I decided to throw one more challenge into the mix: how’s about learning to drive? Too easy?? How’s about learning to drive IN MANHATTAN. With a total of 3 WEEKS to get your test.
In all seriousness, this was something I’d always promised James I’d do before we set off together on our RTW trip, incorporating as it does a 2,500+ mile drive across America. Lesson one – starting (in rush hour) on 52nd street before turning down Park Avenue – had me questioning the depth of our relationship: was I really willing to go through this? Really?? Many phone calls / active counselling sessions with my poor unsung parents later, I was calmer. The lessons continued, my prowess (confidence? lack of fear??) grew, and within a few weeks, I was the proud owner of a NY state driving licence (which, for those interested, in its temporary form looks JUST like a receipt. Haven’t accidentally thrown it away…yet).
This was a week before our road trip. Yep, that’s right, a road trip involving all SORTS of challenges rarely seen in a Manhattan driving lesson: motorways, bendy roads, supermarket car parks, calm and non-aggressive drivers (how does it work when no-one cuts you up whilst swearing at you in something very foreign and very fluent?). The challenges are endless. This post, then, is the first of a confessional series. First off the go:
Driving on an interstate [check out the SERIOUS expression]. Turns out I’m a SPEED DEMON. Who knew?!!
Skyline Drive. We’ll post a map of this. Suffice to say: BENDY. Think Alpine roads, then supersize (this is America after all). This puppy has a “runaway truck ramp” – 100m of gently upward sloping gravel bed – coming off it in event of truck-speed-bendiness emergencies! Day one: no-one died. Day two: starting to get the hang of it. I think. Also, no-one died. Bring on day 3!!
Driving…I guess it ain’t ALL bad.