Miles and miles and miles and

Let me start by saying I wrote my college essay on not wanting/liking to drive.

Last Thursday morning I filled up my gas tank and when I returned home at night, my car had racked in 294.5 miles for the day.

As tiring as it was driving all around the Peninsula, I was OK with it. In fact, once I reached a point where my pre-set radio stations were producing more static than music leading me to turn off the radio and drive in silence, I was OK with that as well. Where was I? I was driving through the northwest region of the Olympic National Forest to get to my destination — a prison — for a news feature I was working on. For someone who always drives with the music turned up, or a podcast playing, the silence was strange, but a good strange.

I was driving for miles and miles in silence and enjoying it! Kristin nine years ago had no interest to drive at all. My lack of interest stemmed from just being scared to be behind a steering wheel. I also just liked the convenience of having others my parents drive me everywhere I needed to go. I refused to take driver’s ed but my mom called one of the school administrators and took me out of study hall and placed me in driver’s ed.

I didn’t like driving then. I still don’t like it — but I have gotten used to it. A few months after receiving my license after turning 16, my mom and I were driving from the airport back home. I was the driver — she forced me to be. She said driving the “long” distance on the freeway would be good practice for me. (I had been avoiding most freeway driving because I didn’t like merging and changing lanes as other aggressive drivers would zip past). The drive from the airport to our house is only about 20 miles. However, half way into it I complained that my right leg was cramping up.

“I can’t take it! I’m going to pull over!” I told my mom.

She said I could not pull over. It’s dangerous! You’re fine!

I was mad.

Last Thursday I was quite the opposite. I probably could have driven for longer. Maybe it had to do with seeing Lake Crescent with its blue-green water sparkling — yes, sparkling — in the sun. Maybe it had to do with it being my first “long drive” — more than 200 miles can be considered long, yes? — alone and thus I had a sense of accomplishment. Maybe it had to do with being OK being alone and driving in the silence. Maybe it had to do with the feeling that I could go anywhere or do anything.

I didn’t even get lost. And I don’t have a smartphone or GPS.

Nor did my right leg cramp.

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2 thoughts on “Miles and miles and miles and

  1. I LOVE this post! To me, driving is freedom … to go anywhere, get away from it all … I could spend hours behind the wheel. Yet I know people who are a bit apprehensive behind the wheel too. This gives great inspiration and courage to those folks. Wish I could see a picture of the sparking Lake!

  2. Thanks for your comment, Stephanie! I know, I tried taking photos while driving, which didn’t turn out so well — and I won’t continue doing since I guess it’s, er, unsafe.

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