There is a short list of activities that can make one appreciate how dangerous it is to be on the road and how nice it is to have two feet on the ground. High on that list must be riding in the passenger seat of a car driven by someone who has less experience behind a steering wheel than I’ve spent at the office in a day.
My sister obtained her learners permit about a month ago. She’s been taking driving classes and trips out on the road with a certified instructor and with me for several hours since then. Typically, I let her drive around in my dark blue Nissan Sentra for an hour or so. But because she was going back to Nebraska in a week I decided to let her have the wheel for three hours straight on Sunday.
We drove around old town Frederick, crossing two lane roads to continue down alleys, taking intersections, practicing yielding to the right and keeping track of the order in which cars arrived at a four-way-stop.
I’d forgotten how much concentration and energy it took to drive when I started driving. All the time she was driving I was having flashbacks to when I first started driving, and how much energy it took to do simple things.
We avoided major highways and stuck to back roads. For a while we decided to just go where the spirit moved us… that is, until I realized we were one turn short of being COMPLETELY lost.
On our way back we decided to continue on a two lane road because there were not many cars taking that route.
There is a reason only a few cars take that road. It turns out we picked a “two” lane drive that wasn’t painted, was never straight, had plenty pot holes and seemed to be either lined with HUGE boulders or deep ditches that, had she let a wheel cross off the road, would have sent us careening 30 or more feet down to a small creek at the bottom of the wooded hill.
We were doing ok until she hit a stick. It made a loud crack as it hit the side of the car.
Worse yet, someone had caught up with us and was driving (at a safe distance) behind us on our slow ascent to what must have been the top of a small mountain.
We would have pulled off the road if there had been any driveways, except the two that appeared as soon as we cleared a steep and sharp turn lined with dark boulders. When we thought we were about as terrified as we could get Joan saw a small road sign that warned us….”Road Narrows ahead”
“Road narrows.” She said. “How can it narrow any more than this?” It was barely wide enough as it was to let two cars pass each other. We both let out a scream that was mixed with laughter at the absurdity of the situation and kept going. Well we finally made it into a driveway and turned around to go back down.
Tired, a bit frazzled and still shaky we decided it was time to go home.
So we went to Best Buy where I bought “Hot Fuzz”, a great movie that I’d watched at a friend’s party the night before, and we went home to sit on the couch, color in coloring books and watch the movie with our parents.
She flies back to school early Sunday morning.