Life in the Slow Lane

The gas guage in my car still works, which is a bit of a surprise considering that both the speedometer and odometer have died, and they are all part of the same mechanism. I am already gauging gas consumption by mileage, and have been adopting a policy of keeping the tank topped off in case the gauge fails, too.

Oddly, having neither a speedometer or an odometer makes no real difference. I can keep track of mileage via sign or Google, and I have a good ear for how fast I am driving by engine sounds. Since my ancient VW hasn’t the power of more modern vehicles, I can’t keep up with interstate travel anyway. I drive in the slow lane and take things as they come. I was a bit worried about driving on two lane highways without being able to track my speed, but it was the same as always — I drove at whatever speed felt safest, especially around curves, so I was still slower than most drivers. If there were too many impatient drivers behind me, I pulled off to let them pass, and then continued my life in the slow lane.

Yesterday was a fabulous day. The car drove like a dream — well, maybe not. Let’s say it drove like a well-tuned and cared for Beetle, which of course it is.

But then, I wasn’t really driving — according to my car instruments, I went zero miles at zero miles per hour. Since I somehow ended up in Oregon last night, I can only assume that while I sat back, taking it easy, going 0mph, the world kept spinning beneath my wheels. The earth must have done a lot stuttering or backtracking during all those hours, because I ended up crossing the Sacramento River at least five times.

But that’s not the only river I crossed or the only body of water. I also saw lagoons, creeks, lakes, ponds, and an ocean. Wildflowers decorated the side of the road: sunrise-colored poppies, cheerful daisies, languid wisteria, chartreuse fields, spots of pink and purple and fuchsia blossoms. I went from desert heat to coastal chill, moving through agricultural areas, towns, cities, forests, mountains.

It’s hard to pick out the best thing I saw as the world passed by outside my window, but at the very top of the list was the small herd of elk crossing at an elk crossing sign.

Ah, life is good in the slow lane.

***

(Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Madame ZeeZee’s Nightmare, Unfinished, Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

13 Responses to “Life in the Slow Lane”

  1. Wanda Hughes Says:

    Great picture of those big butted critters. I love to see them. And glad to see you too, Princess Patricia!

  2. Charlotte M. Liebel Says:

    Welcome to the world of cars that leave us in the dark without mileage and miles per hour gauges. Pretty-much all cars have a box of fuses under the hood. Although I know this, I couldn’t id the fuses when I looked! The later car models are harder to identify. And, believe it or not, the newer car models are confusing to newer mechanics. Get an ‘old-timer’ to look under the hood! I had an older model VW Station Wagon and learned to replace hoses under the car. But my newer Honda had the dead fuses.
    QUESTION: How are you posting? ~~ Happy trails to you… da da – da da – da da ~~ Charlotte Liebel aka @Sharliebel

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Charlotte, I am posting by email, a cool feature of WordPress. The problem with my speedometer isn’t electric, at least the mechanic didn’t think so. Supposedly, it’s the kind of lubricant they used back then that gets hard. If he can’t fix it, I hope he can get a new one or a good used one.

      (Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

  3. Katherine Marie Says:

    Beautiful picture…so happy you are on the road again and enjoying the trip. You always were one to go your own speed anyway! ((HUGS))

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      It’s good to be on the road again! 

      (Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

  4. Kathy Says:

    Welcome to Oregon! I’m getting homesick for the West again! I would imagine that other drivers might be a bit more patient with your slowness by the sheer cuteness of the bug. I noticed people were quite conciliatory when I drive my LeBaron Woody convertible. I even had matching luggage. Enjoy the cool woodsy air this morning as you set off on the next leg.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Oddly, this is probably the first time I took a trip where absolutely no-one has any interest in my car. It’s like I’m invisible. 

      (Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

  5. Judy Galyon Says:

    I’m glad that you saw such beauty on your trek in the slow lane. Do you think you’ll make it to your sister’s before having to get repairs??? Safe travels my friend.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      I don’t expect to have any problems. But then, I never do.

      (Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.”)

  6. Cecilia Rosado Says:

    Glad You Are Enjoying Yourself!

  7. Constance Says:

    Nice photo of the elk. So neat to see the animals in the wild. I took a photo of a large moose in Wyoming (Got out of the car and followed him down the road to get a better picture.) and Buffalo in Nebraska along the road. Enjoy!
    I like the slow lane too. Been there years ago in my 1959 VW.
    Wish that I could get in the slow lane now for living.


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