- WHO: You that’s who.
- WHAT: A $25 American Express Gift Card valid through 12/2013
- WHEN: Monday May 2, 2011 before 10 p.m. Pacific Standard Time
- WHERE: In the comment section of this blog post
- WHY: Because the Gift Card has been languishing away unused for a couple years. Someone can make use of it.
- HOW: Tell me your most memorable vehicle story.
RULES: In the comment section of this blog post, NOT THE ABOUT ME comment section, tell me your story about driving or being a passenger. Car, truck, motorcycle, dump truck, semi truck, whatever vehicle you either drove or were a passenger in.
It can be about the first time you got behind the wheel and drove scaring the fool out of everyone around you. Maybe how you got lost by taking the wrong exit off an interstate. Or perhaps you have driven (or rode in) a vehicle that makes strange noises and you were never quite sure if you would safely be transported to your destination.
Everyone has a vehicle story. I’ve got a few so I’ll get this started.
1970, Driver Training Class at Greeley Central High School. Way back then, in the Stone Age, schools had classes to teach students how to drive a car after they passed the written test and had a valid Driver’s Permit in their hands. The students had to be 15 years old and within three months of their 16th birthday to be eligible for the Driver Training Class.
I don’t remember the instructor’s name but he had to have been the most bravest person alive at that time. Being in a car with three teenage kids, each one taking their turn at the steering wheel and driving around the town of Greeley, Colorado.
The class started off with the obligatory slide show of the working parts of a car engine. Pistons. How they worked pumping up and down sucking in gasoline which was then ignited, then pushing up to expel the exhausted gas. Or something like that. Hey, I’m a girl and I was more interested in actually driving than the mechanical stuff. Besides, my foster father was a mechanic and if there was a problem with a vehicle he fixed it. Not me.
Then came the slide shows of wrecks with the admonishments of “This is what happens when….” . Although the photos were quite fantastic in their twisted metal depictions of motorized death I hid my eyes behind my laced fingers for most of it because I didn’t want to see blood or body parts. Peeking through the slits of my fingers over my eyes in an attempt to not see any of the gore. After all, these photos were taken long after the poor crash victims had been taken to the hospital and the wrecked car was transported to a different area to be photographed later.
Driver training was held at the other High School in our town, Greeley West High School. We were all transported over by school bus to the area where we would learn how to start the cars, use the brake and gas pedals, shift the automatic transmission, and steer around the course safely out of the range of the general driving public. You want to talk about “Menace To Society”, we were all that and more. We had to pull into a driveway then back out, turn corners without going over the imaginary sidewalk. There were tire carcasses placed at all areas where turns were to be made and intersections.
The am/fm radios in the cars were tuned to a station that only the teachers could broadcast their instructions through as they stood in the tower overlooking the driving course. These teachers assumed, incorrectly, that I knew what make and model all of the different cars were that I was either in or trying to keep from hitting. The instructors would say things like, “Buick Impala, you just ran over your brother”, or “Ford Thunderbird, you just crashed into the neighbors house”.
One girl, and I don’t remember her name, was the wild one in our bunch of students. She tuned the radio to the best radio station ever, 95 FM KIMN, that played all the rock music that every teen listened to. She was one of the drivers on the course running over her entire family and was unable to listen to the instructors. She was in her own little world, driving her very own car (loaned by the school of course) and listening to her tunes. The rest of us got to hear “Ford Thunderbird, pull that car over to the dismount area and get off the course”. Followed by “Buick Impala, get Ford Thunderbird’s attention and make her tune the radio back to the correct station”.
When the time came for me to actually drive on the streets of town I was put in a car that had a standard transmission. We didn’t have any of those on the training course!!!! I was just fine as long as I didn’t have to stop for a traffic light or at an intersection that had a Stop Sign. Everyone else in the car with me ended up with whiplash and possible brain damage by the time my driving day was done.
Stopped at a light, waiting for the signal to turn green, my instructor would tell me to ease out on the clutch until I could feel the car begin to move forward then push the clutch back in. That was good, it worked and no one was harmed. When the light did turn green I let the clutch out way too far and the car lurched forward and immediately died. Starting the car again, then easing out the clutch, feeling the car start to move forward, I’d let out the clutch too far and it would lurch and die again. This went on for four cycles of the traffic signal until I finally got it right and was out of the intersection and driving once again.
Shifting the transmission was another hurdle. I would grind the gears as I tried to advance them which caused all kinds of hopping and lurching action with the car. How that instructor stayed so calm and collected in the passenger seat is totally beyond me.
SO…Tell me your driving story. It doesn’t have to be as long as mine and it doesn’t have to be about your first driving experience. Your story just has to be about driving.
Good luck everyone. I look forward to reading your entries.
Remember. All entries must be posted in the comments section of this post. They must be posted before 10 p.m. PST on Monday May 2, 2011.