Friday, February 09, 2007

Driving in the rain

I don't drive much during the course of my everyday life. When the weather's nice, I pedal pretty much everywhere. When Old Man (Woman? Person?) Winter closes in, I walk. The sole exception to this rule is when my wife and I pile the little folks into the wondervan and drive long distances. Then, I turn into a driver. I guess it's all part of my extreme need to have control over my environment. I use vacations as an excuse to get behind the wheel, crank some tunes and see the world.

But even I have my limits. The drive down to Florida is some 2,400 km (1,491.29 miles for the metrically challenged), which over two days means we're spending around 15 hours in the car each day. Even I need a break every once in a while.

So after I tossed the keys toward my wife and took the passenger seat, I found myself strangely looking for something to do (not a whole lot of need to navigate when you're driving the same direction on the same highway you've been on practically since you left home.) I grabbed the camera and went to work. Please come along for the ride (and click all images to enlarge)...


18 wheels of misery
Somewhere on the I-75 in Georgia, December 2006

Trucks freak me out. Part of it has to do with their sheer size. But worse, when the weather closes in, they're often the only ones still exceeding the speed limit. Are they somehow immune to the basic laws of meteorology and physics? Can their drivers magically see through the murk? Will they even notice when they crunch some poor Honda-driving motorist?


Wiped
Same highway, same day

This photo is proof that you can indeed take a weird-looking close-up picture without a tripod at 120 km/h (yes, my wife was speeding. Yes, she'll kill me when she reads this.) I think the gray, the diffused headlights and the chaotic water dancing on the windshield make this a wonderfully moody shot.


Looking forward, sideways and backward...
Yup, still heading southeast on the I-75...

It's amazing what you can see when you take the time to look out your windows and use your mirrors. I was trying to share this wisdom with the drivers around us - mostly through hand signals and smiles - because it was quite apparent that the majority of them seemed to be more concerned with their iPods, their drink holders, and the fighting kids in the back seat. Everything but their driving.

Your turn: What do you do when you're a passenger in a car?

30 comments:

grant said...

I Drive Carmi.
I just can't help myself.

Catherine said...

Oh fiddlesticks. I just left a big long comment and blogger lost it. 2400 km is a longer drive than I care to imagine.
Here from Michele's.

Star said...

When ours girls were young, like your kids we would drive from Philly to Fla. on vacation. We would leave about 8pm and hubby drove til we cleared DC. By then the girls would be asleep and I would take the wheel and drive all night down 95. Just me and the tape player. We would stop for breakfast in Georgia and hubby drove he rest of the way.

Tracy Lynn said...

Dude, trucks freak me out, too. I think it's because they refuse to acknowledge any kind of road hazard except the Law, and they barely slow down for that. Nuts, I tell you.

Sarch said...

Carmi the few hours that I have actually been the passenger have been spent TRYING to relax enough to enjoy a little nap. Unfortunately my wife can NOT stay awake on a long trip and it only takes one trip onto the shoulder to remind me that I have lost my mind and need to get back behind the wheel IMMEDIATELY! :)

Thumper said...

When I'm a passenger I do a lot of "WATCH OUT!" and =GASP!= and "Slow down sloow down slow down..."

I usually do the driving; I'm a horrible, fear-riddled passenger. I can't even sleep on long trips, because if I fall asleep WE WILL CRASH.

Why, no, I'm not a control freak... ;)

Yaeli said...

Great photos as usual Carmi! Maybe I've missed something but why were you heading to Florida?
Michele sent me.

Better Safe Than Sorry said...

i'm rarely a passenger, when i am, it's usually my oldest daughter driving. i worry mostly, whether it's my daughter or husband driving, it's hard being a passenger, i find my judgment is thrown off. i don't know how the driving instructors are able to spend their days on the wrong side of the seat.
and those trucks scare the crap out of me too!!! the worse part of driving on the highway are the trucks, there is no time when they don't seem to be everywhere.

ChaCha said...

Carmi I love your pictures, they make me feel like I am right there going for a drive too. I am a driver, not a passenger. Other people driving makes me nervous and I think if I go to sleep we'll crash because the driver will fall asleep. Thanks for stopping by my blog bug

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Oh My Dear Carmi...GREAT Pictures, as always....I LOVE that one with the windsheild wipers..It is truly Amazing! What Camera do you use...I know you have probably said but I don't remember....Would love to know.

scrappintwinmom said...

When I'm a passenger, I generally play DJ on the radio. Thank goodness DH got us Sirius radios. Problem is, I'm generally rockin' the New wave 80's station, which DH can't stand. And trucks freak me out as well, you're not alone!

Snaggle Tooth said...

Gaze deeply off the side of the road looking for 'gators or ponies... finding lots of cattle.

Brace myself against the other driver's unpredictable sudden moves (I grew up around Boston).

Pretend I'm driving by mimicking braking, steering, n advising the actual driver of what they are doing wrong- (I always drive)!

Mr. Althouse said...

I'm constantly going for the imaginary Brake!

Mike

srp said...

I took that 16 hour in one day drive from Virginia Beach to Illinois and back over a weekend and did it twice last year. As both of my parents are pretty elderly and their reflexes are not good and their driving makes me more nervous than a cat on a hot tin roof.... I did all the driving. Two places I really hated driving were around Chattanooga, Tennessee... and on I-40 through the Cumberland Gap in winter with ice on the road... During this last one, the truckers were actually a big help. The road was so slick it was hard for cars and other trucks to get up the steep grades. So trucks tried to get side by side at the top of one downgrade and stop all traffic behind them. They waited until the road was clear to the top of the next grade, then ran one by one down gathering the speed they would need to get to the next top. That was scary.

You mentioned Honda... Honda Odyssey... the best van in the universe?

Nikki-ann said...

If I'm a passenger on long distances then you can almost guarantee that I'll fall asleep at some point!

carli said...

Thanks to nearly annual road trips from Jersey to Ft. Lauderdale, I learned at a young age that being asleep during long car rides than being awake.

But like you, I don't spend too much time in a car. And when I do, it's a cab, and I'm usually praying that the driver, who's on the phone, or logging the ride, or eating breakfast, doesn't crash.

Pat said...

My last try at a comment. Here from Michele.

Veda said...

I get to feeling the same way actually - looking for something to do. :) Mostly, I love finding a field with a sole tree in the middle somewhere, standing as if a beacon to someone (a child's treasue perhaps). I think because there was a tree at the end of our block when I was a kid. Maybe I'll post about that tree...

Great post Carmi. Too many don't ride passenger enough. oh, and I'm here this time via Michele's.

Anna said...

My favorite image is "WIPED"....nice.

It has been hard for me to learn here in the UK. I am constantly going to the wrong side of the car...reaching for the seatbelt (on the wrong side) and I have lost my depth perception completely.

All that being said, I love driving...

Susie J said...

With 4 boys to take care of -- I completely take advantage of the car ride, and claim it as the one time I get to sit down and do whatever I want. I read, and read and read sometimes I give myself a manicure. (I put a book on tape in the CD player for the kids -- our favorites so far is the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and Trumpet of the Swan --read by E.B. White). If the scenery is nice (rolling hills, farm land and trees), then I stare out the window and collect material for my next dream.

Bob-kat said...

I love the wiper shot! I do pretty much the same as you if I'm a passenger, I take in things around me and if I have a camera nearby then...I have been known to hang out of windows!

Michele sent me.

shopper said...

I'm usually always the driver, but when I'm the rider I always do the same thing. I clean out my purse first and then catch up on reading magazines. Magazines are easy reads and disruptions are ok. Then when I reach my destination, I just leave them there for someone else to enjoy. ;)

Debbie said...

I hate BIG trucks especially in the rain. I have a small car and I hate passing them or what really freaks me out is when they are flying down the highway and passing me - trucks should not go that fast.

G. Nat Salpigga said...

I'm generally the driver. I hope you had a nice trip through my neck of the woods (Atlanta, GA). Great pictures as always, my favorite is the truck. Michele sent me.

David said...

i love shooting from the car
and sometimes i take the camera along....
HFM

friendsareagift said...

Hello, I just stopped by to view your site and say God Bless You.

Here are my sites.

http://www.freewebs.com/friendsareagift

http://www.freewebs.com/friendsareagift2

Janejill said...

my last trip as a passenger was as pillion on an old motor-bike in india; there were no wing-mirrors so Jack could not tell without turning right round what was looking behind; the roads were full of potholes, chickens, cows , Indian "Ferrari" (or Tuk-tuks) trucks and huge buses; we had to develop a "pinching on right shoulder" sign to indicate trouble behind; one pinch meant "go faster, bus within 5 feet"" two pinches meant "DO NOT overtake- two buses and a truck are beside us" .... we stopped whenever we saw an elephant (truly!)

Becky68 said...

I pretty much always drive, my oldest still doesn't even have her learners permit. I actually had to have her boyfriend take me for a drive in my car to make sure he knows how to drive a straight drive transmission earlier today so I can feel safe about loaning him my car! I sat on my hands & tried not to stomp the imaginary brake in the passenger side floor!
Here from Micheles.

SzélsőFa said...

I don't drive for I have no driver's lineces. When I'm a traveller I mostly look out, enjoy the scenery. Travelling in a car is EXTREMELY rare for me. Yeah, I am that strange.

Blond Girl said...

Seems like I sleep.

I usually do most of the driving, though. I enjoy it more than Champs and he's always driving for work, so I get to do the behind the wheel for family adventures. If I'm in the passenger seat, though, I am often making lists of some sort.

Oh, and if you want to hear about an adventure I had driving last Tuesday, you can read my "What you asked for vs. what you get" entry. I tell you, winter driving can be scary, even for those of us who were raised on it. You're right about those semi's....