When the demands of our hectic everyday lives become too much, a road trip through the Sierras can be just the release needed to unwind and re-center. On a recent trip to Sequoia National Park we came upon some tourists who were looking to do just that.
As the distance between the front of our vehicle and the rear of their’s rapidly shrunk, it soon became apparent that they had lost themselves on the General’s Highway, the main road that travels through the park and on into Kings Canyon. They were two gentlemen driving a yellow convertible Mustang, who were meandering all over the road… I’ve seen picnic baskets with less weaving. So we settled into a nice 30 mph pace on the 45 mph twisty two-lane road without passing lanes and began speculating as to where they were from. The car was obviously a rental, and they had luggage, not camping gear, piled in the rear seat.
We had narrowed the occupants down to Europeans who had previously driven nothing larger than a vintage Fiat 500, and to them the Mustang must have been as bloated and cumbersome as an Excursion is to the typical mid-size sedan owner which explained their inability to keep the vehicle on the non-head-on collision side of the double yellow line. We also surmised that they lived in the city and had never seen a mountain road, because the Mustang could obtain speeds of near 50 mph in wide open straight-a-ways. Unfortunately these are few and far between and our happy-go-lucky tourists were much more likely to be travleing at 15 mph on even the widest of turns.
But there was something else starnge. It seemed to take two of them to manage the gear shift. Each took turns leaning toward the center and reaching across and with each motion, the car would veer even further to the left or the right. Odd. Especially since this was obviously an automatic.
Just as they seemed to finally get the shifting situated, and picked up the pace to a respectable rate, we approached a section of one-lane road that was controlled by a signal which would alternate between east and westbound traffic. While we waited for the eastbound traffic to clear the driver hopped out of the Mustang and began talking very loudly in a foreign language, which I still say was European, as he began to adjust his loose fitting shorts… and wipe his shirt… and then wash his hands… and legs… and… ew. That wasn’t a gear shift the passenger was shifting was it?
Look fellas, the Sierras is a great place to get release, but that’s not what we had in mind. We appreciate the tourism dollars, but save the peep show for the hotel room, and leave the “joy riding” back in your home country.
Suddenly texting while driving doesn’t seem quite so bad. Someone wanna pass him a wet wipe?