Friday, January 30, 2009

On scenery

I'm still learning to drive, although it would perhaps be more accurate to say I'm still not fully licensed to drive, and so I'm still taking lessons. Today's lesson took me out into an area I've not been before, and I'm rather pleased that I was calm and comfortable enough to not only drive easily and safely, but also enjoy the rather starkly beautiful scenery. As previously, we needed to refuel the little Focus, and then we headed off toward Martinez. However, just before crossing route 4, we swung off and out into the rural area.After a bit of driving, we found ourselves out on a small, winding country road that led, eventually, down to Port Costa, a community I'd never heard of. We then swung further West, and after easing down to Eckley Pier, and back up (getting me plenty of chances to figure out speed control on hills), we wound up heading into Crockett. There's a section of that town which gives a feel of what it's like to drive "in the city" (which in this area always means San Francisco) without the necessity of crossing the bay, and so I had to drive up the hill (which felt near-vertical), then make a right turn and continue up... and then come back down. Thankfully, there is a "low" stop on the Focus's gear selector, and so I could get some engine braking. At a guess, I'd say the actual incline was around 30°, but from the driver's seat, it felt far steeper. At one point, I needed to turn on the way down, which is normally (for most student drivers) a chance to ground the nose (which fortunately is plastic, and so doesn't get rusty from the scrapes it acquires), but I kept the nose off the road and managed to keep it together all the way back to the stoplight, and then out of town. We then headed back towards "civilisation", via a road with a 55 limit; I was perfectly happy cruising at that speed.

Most of this route was on roads which wound through the hills, which are largely bare and grassy. There were some wooded valleys, though, and there are places along there which I would love to visit with a camera.

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