Even though we left Denver a few days ago, yesterday felt like the beginning of our trip as we drove West on I-80 out of Salt Lake. We were heading across Nevada, and it was going to be a long day of driving. It would also be the first time I ever drove the van. Nic’s been trying to get me to drive it ever since we got it, but I always said, “I’ll learn to drive it in Nevada.” I thought this was a good idea because a) I knew there wouldn’t be a lot of traffic in Nevada, so I figured it would be somewhat safe, and b) our trip seemed so far off, it felt like I wouldn’t really ever have to learn how to drive it.
I typically enjoy driving, but driving the van freaked me out. I don’t have much experience driving larger vehicles, and I haven’t driven a stick shift since my little Geo Metro 8 years ago. The van, with its large size, slow speeds, limited views, and non-power steering, just seemed so intimidating. Finally, around Elko, Nic decided it was time (he’d already driven over 700 miles in two days by himself). We pulled over on an off ramp in the middle of nowhere and I took the wheel.
As I pulled back onto the freeway, I was happy to find that it wasn’t so bad. Shifting was pretty easy, and I didn’t even kill it. I started picking up speed and feeling confident in my van driving skills. That all changed about three miles down the road when we hit road construction. My newly acquired skills were quickly put to the test as we drove through a one lane orange cone luge up a mountain pass and through a tunnel. Luckily, we made it through, and I had over 150 miles of wide open Nevada freeway to get more comfortable behind the wheel.
Although it’s not the most comfortable vehicle to drive for long periods of time, it was actually pretty fun. It was also a good reminder for me that sometimes things may seem scary or intimidating, but that’s only because I haven’t experienced them yet. If I’m willing to go out on a limb and try new things, I may discover they’re not so scary after all.