Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Small roads

I suddenly realized something this past weekend. I've missed out on a great deal of the beauty of California because of my mom's fears. Specifically my mother has a fear of bridges and two lane roads.

When I first started going to Pt. Reyes Station, I mentioned it to my mom. She asked about the roads. I told her the truth. She said, "No."

But I love two lane roads. I love drawbridges. And so it was perfect that Saturday afternoon/evening found me driving through the Delta. (Even if I had "Walking in Memphis" stuck in an endless loop in my mind.) I thought of y'all while I was driving. Like, "I should pull over to take some photos," but the sun was setting and I try not to do those kinds of roads after dark if I've never driven them several times. So I'll be heading back.

I previously said that Sunday was my "me" day but Saturday evening was as well. Getting behind the wheel of my car on open, or fairly open, road is very relaxing. By the time I got home Saturday night I had clocked around 260 miles of driving from the time that I left home for work on Friday morning. Looking at the number, I think that it really isn't that much but then I think about the reality of it all.

Friday morning I drove to work in San Francisco. At the end of the day, I drove home through Friday night commute traffic. It was road rage worthy. After eating dinner, I gathered my stuff and then drove to Sacramento. After doing three and a half hours of work in my dad's office on Saturday, I drove to Tobie's housewarming. And then home.

On the road between Sacramento and Lodi.

Brannan Island Levee Road in the Delta.

It was the drive to Tobie's and then the drive home that took me through the Delta. I haven't spent much time back in that area. Might have something to do with the great number of folks who some may classify as being "rednecks" around those parts. Always made me a bit uneasy.

Berkeley Plantation, Virginia.

James River.

Just like how I will do ten hour drives by myself through the Deep South but I don't stray onto those small roads unless I really know them. Because solo driving in the U.S. means that I look at things not only through the lens of gender but through that of race as well. When I lived in Virginia, my downstairs neighbor, the self-proclaimed "redneck," told me the places that I should avoid. Oh, and I should explain. Her calling herself a "redneck" had nothing to do with her political beliefs. Nah. She just didn't have a college degree, liked country line dancing, and Jack Daniels. It was more an acknowledgment that white folks with more money than what she had looked down their noses at her. A lot of her kind of folks were my friends when I lived in Virginia. Maybe there was a shared experience that the dominant society would never think that you were good enough for them.




I digress. Bottom line is that I need to do here what I did in Virginia. It was much easier there because of the French Bitch, the Peugeot I drove back then. My car had phantom problems in the electrical system. This meant that I called the towing company -- in a town of about 10,000 people -- at least once a month. Since I apparently have a distinctive voice, they got to know me at "hello." Now I don't know how much experience you have with getting a jump start but the deal is that you should ideally drive the car for at least 30 minutes after getting the jump. It gets boring driving the same streets and ideally you should take the car on the highway. So while I was waiting for the tow guy, I would pull out my map and look for unfamiliar lines. I quickly learned that I could drive to Jamestown and back if I was in a rush. Have a little more time? Head to Yorktown. Or just explore the other nearby towns. And then there were the days that I would just head out with my camera riding shotgun.

I have been trying to find balance in my life. Over the past weekend I have noticed quite a number of things that were lacking. Hopping in my car and driving down some unfamiliar road is one of them. So now I'm going to figure out how to include these explorations into my life. Because they are me. And I just need to reclaim the pieces of me that have gotten lost along the way.

Note: Photos added from Google the afternoon of 20 August 2008 at the request of
. One day soon I'll go through my old photos and post some of the stuff that I actually took while I lived in Virginia.

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