Sunday, February 21, 2010

Adventures in Driving

I know it has been quite a while since my last post. In addition to attempting to recover from a car accident my computer crashed two weeks ago. Whew, it has been one crazy season at our house. But I stole my hubby's work laptop,(shhh, don't tell) so I am back in touch. At least I will be for the next two hours.

I was one of the lucky ones. At least I was on the day of my 16th birthday. The glorious day began with my Mother pulling me out of school to take my drivers test, and I actully passed. We drove home to find a hot pink and turquoise vintage VW Bug in the driveway, complete with the oversized bow on top. This one of a kind creation was a labor of love from my Father, and I loved every inch of it, from it's Baja gas pedal, to the marble gear shift. That car was the bomb! No really, it was, less than a week after I got it the engine caught on fire. That was okay, because as my Father was replacing the melted portions of the engine he was able to fix the small short that caused the horn to honk every time I turned right. Despite these small quirks I loved that car, it gave me the greatest gift a teenager could hope for, freedom!

After four years of joy, my husband and I sold the Bug within months of our marriage.Maybe pink wasn't his color, maybe he simply got tired of having to rescue me from the side of the freeway.

Ahhhh, freeways, those fabulous monstrosities of steel and  concrete that make the world go round. While stuck in rush hour traffic, I never thought I would miss freeways. But after 8 years I do. I miss watching the people in car next to me, make phone calls, put on make-up and yes, even reading the newspaper. And these were the drivers. But while this may seem trickey and even dangerous you must keep in mind that these cars rarely broke the 15 mph mark. I never gave much thought to the fact that my 35 mile drive home often took well over an hour.

Now, I spend hours and hours in the car, but for a much different reason. I spend hours to get to the nearest mall or Target. I drive over two hours to stock up at Costco, or for that matter to have soup, salad and beadsticks at Olive Garden. I think I enjoy my drives much more now, even without the people watching, there is just so much to see. The snow covered mountians that I must cross to leave my hometown are full of deer, elk and bald eagles, and all three regularly make appeances. Instead of breaking for an accident I find myself slowing down to let a flock of wild turkeys cross the road. And traffic jams are the result of grain trucks moving slowly during harvest.

I drive slower and far more cautiously than I every imagined possible. When I make the four hour trip to Portland I have to change my mindset. I have to remind myself that a car in the lane next to me is not a hazard and that breaklights ahead are no reason to panic. My sister has always said I drive like a granny, now it is true. But you know what, it really doesn't bother me.

So I have traded my VW Bug for a Chevy pick-up, my lead foot for four wheel drive, and freeways for gravel roads. I will teach my kids more about avoiding deer than changing lanes. I worry more about ice on the road than getting nailed for speeding. And I spend more on my snow tires than I ever would have for a great sound system.But despite all of these differences somethings never change. That blue beast of a pick-up gives me the same pricless gift that cute little bug did all of those years ago, freedom!

Corn, Blackbean and Tomato Salad (can you tell I am counting the hours until summer?)
Mix together in a bowl:
1 can corn, drained
1 can blackbeans ,drained and rinsed
2 chopped tomatos
1 chopped avacado
1 peeled, chopped and seeded cucumber

2 tbls cider vineger
1 tbls olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix together dressing ingredients, toss with salad, chill for one hour before serving.


  1. You DO drive like a granny. But, since you have been in a few more accidents than I, maybe you should stick to the slow lane! And by the way, a photo of those Branscum Bugs is DEFINATELY in order here! Need a pic?

  2. I remember that beautiful bug...and the hours and hours your dad spent on it! A labor of love!

  3. Connie "C"February 22, 2010 at 10:56 PM never cease to amaze me ; ) Judy said she'll be getting in touch with you this week !

  4. This warms my heart :) I haven't seen snow on the road since christmas, and even then it was just an inch or so. It's so funny how our roles have reversed.. we switched homes, and I have to admit I'm almost jealous that you get to live in that beautiful valley while I'm in real traffic in cali. Oh well, soon enough I'll be close enough to visit way more often and enjoy all the quirky little things that make eastern oregon unlike any other place.. love ya!

  5. I love reading your blog! I get a glimpse of a life with Sunshine!!! :)