So the way my city and neighboring cities are positioned geographically is surrounded by mountains to the north, south and west ends, there also happens to be mountains on the east end of the city but they aren’t enclosed such as the ones in the other directions. Deeming the east side to be the one and only way to leave the city grounds without traversing mountain ranges. We are “trapped in a dust bowl” as my friends & I usually declare.
The one thing blocking me and every other commuter from Progressing deeper into Southern California is you guessed it, a mountain. I cross this mountain quite often, rather it be for work, clips, photography, or just for lively shenanigans with the buds, I’m pretty familiar with it and it’s long stretch of roads spanning Los Angeles and beyond.
Without getting to geographical (If I already didn’t) the interstate road I usually take when heading down south is positioned on the right side of the mountain. You can also go straight through it and take in the canyon-side beauty, a trail I’m not too acquainted with, but that changes today, or in a few hours actually.
I have made the conscious decision to take the road less traveled today, (mainly to avoid traffic on the active interstate) and take the twisty trails that are the canyons on my way back home. Now now I already know what you’re thinking, “what’s so special about driving through the canyons??” Well nothing really, besides the views. The rarity of me driving the two-way canyon roadway stems from the very fact that I am somewhat nervous about that type of route.
I have been a licensed driver for just a little above two years now, I my self wouldn’t consider that being a “new driver” but in the eyes of those that have been driving for over 20+ years now I can see why some would still call me a newbie. Although the amount of time one has been driving doesn’t determine how skilled they are I would say. Not to toot my own flute here but I would consider myself quite an exceptional driver, though I’m pretty sure everyone and their cat all consider their selves good drivers even the ones who refuse to use blinkers on the highway so that doesn’t say much. Ohhh the highway, what a time to be alive.
Anyway, back to the canyon talk. I’ve driven said road a handful of times in the near past, the only thing that’s been putting me off from returning to it is my transmission. The few times I have traveled the canyons was all done in the cars of friends, (gotta love trust am I right) the problem arises though when you take into consideration what kind of car a person drives. In my so-far life I have owned one automatic vehicle and the rest (“rest” being two other cars) have been manual. My first ever car was automatic, I got used to that and became bored awfully quick, so I decided my next test would be the stick shift.
Now two years later and two manual Hondas later (yes I’ve had the same car more than once) and I have yet to drive the canyons in the stick shift because of fear. Not like an, I’m scared for my life type of fear but more like an imaginary fear, I say imaginary because I know it’s all in my head. I’m no manual enthusiast race-car driver but I’ve become more than comfortable in my stick shift car on all kinds of roads except the loopy canyons, and I think it’s about time I changed that. Not only to progress driving experience but also to save time, this route cuts off a whole 30 minutes, and if you didn’t know already we value time more than almost anything around here, so be it.
Rushi from the future here to report the first canyon run in the stick. It went a lot smoother than I initially thought it would, honestly I was prepared to toast my clutch up, over-rev, under-rev, and back up traffic, but none of the above happened, well….most of it didn’t. I took some of the twisty turns just a tad bit too slow and the truck that was behind me for the first 20 mins or so of the canyon ride finally got fed up and passed me, but hey give me one more week of these canyon runs and I’ll be like that truck, taking these 30mph turns at 50 no problem, watch me. Only thing I’d say I have to work on is knowing which gear I need to be in prior to a turn, I found myself hugging the brakes for the majority of a turnout, which isn’t bad practice by any means but that’s simply just not the way I want to drive through the valley.
On that note though I think I’ll cut it here, there’s still a little more I need to accomplish in order for me to feel comfortable driving this road every day but at the moment I seem to be getting the hang of it and I look forward to venturing through the ravine every morning, so that says something.
Until next time.