Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Road and Me

I have been thinking a lot about the amount of time I have spent driving in my life. I remember not wanting to get my driver's license when I was younger and the fear of learning to drive. Now you can't keep from the driver's seat.

It all started with drives to the Mendocino Coast in college. These getaways were perfect for my love of the sea and adventure. The roads were windy and heavily forested only to open up to the gorgeous coastline. These days were spent exploring beaches, cliffs and seaside towns. The necessary coffee stops were made and picnics were packed for the beach in coolers.

Then, I transferred to school a couple hours away from home and spent some weekends driving home to see family and friends. These drives could have been done with my eyes shut by the time I graduated. Each drive brought a sense of excitement. My little brother was a toddler when I moved away and it was wonderful to visit and see how much he had "grown up" since my last visit.

After college, my commute to work was over an hour long, until I transferred 2 blocks away from my apartment. However, the need for movement had me put in my transfer all to way down in San Diego. I was already driving down there to visit friends and decided that I wanted to live there. So, my drives home were now 8 hours long. But, the road warrior in me loved it...even though I did get very tired of driving I-5.

Wanderlust grew fast inside me and I left my job after 4 years to travel and explore the Pacific Northwest. This move was from San Diego to Seattle. Once there, we drove all over Washington, Idaho and Montana, discovering the wonderful natural places of the area. The most memorable drive was down the glacier mountain pass in Montana and stopping by a lake for sunset with Huckleberry wine.

My adventures ended when I had to go back to work after about a year and found a job as a courier. This appealed to me because I was able to drive all over wine country stopping at beautiful wineries and vineyards to deliver supplies and pick up samples. Then my current position opened up and I am driving all the time from Monterey to the Mexican Border. Spring was absolutely breathtaking this year in Santa Barbara County with all the flowers in bloom among the vines.

I have seen some of the most beautiful places from the windshield. I am so grateful for the invention of cars. Without them, I am not sure how I would satisfy my need for movement and exploration. I am fortunate to have owned 2 cars that have been wonderful in cooperating with my constant driving. Most important, I am so grateful to live in such a beautiful state. California never ceases to amaze me with its beauty...coastlines, forests, deserts, mountains and even cities.