The other day, instead of turning left on Silverado Trail from Pope Street, I decided to drive Old Howell Mountain Road home.
It had been a long time since I’d taken that route. It’s a long, narrow, and windy road that takes you straight “through” the mountain rather than straight up it. When I get to the end of the road, I go straight and there’s the road I live on.
I took my time, careful to stay at a comfortable speed for me, my Beetle smoothly taking each curve with ease. My wordless, instrumental music from WoW played over my speakers as I drove, loud yet calming. The view is beautiful: a whole community of people, animals, houses, all hidden away on this little road.
The way narrows more as you drive, but I hardly saw another car from the other direction, and I was free to go as fast or slow as I pleased. It was a welcome change to the usual frustration of slow drivers on Deer Park Road, people who either drive so close to your bumper you are afraid they will rear end you, or the people who drive so slowly and brake on straight runs that make you want to pull your hair out. There was no waiting at the stop sign if I’d taken Sanitarium Road as a shortcut, no having to worry about passing lanes. It was just me and my Beetle and my music, cruising peacefully on the road home.
Sometime when I am ready to leave by 7:00 a.m. rather than 7:15 a.m., I may take that way down as well. The quiet of the morning, the light fog, the utter quiet except for the sound of my tires on asphalt, would be a great way to start my day. No waiting for the school bus on Deer Park. No worrying about people who pull out of the hospital exit before you can and then slow down to below the speed limit.
Just me, my car, and the silence.