I took my first driving lesson yesterday morning.
OK, it wasn’t really a lesson, per se. And I do know how to stay-in-my-lane, stop-at-stop-signs, yield-to-oncoming-traffic drive. But I don’t know how to drive.
Of course, my new car wants to drive with every fiber of its fiberglass body. Luckily, Giri and I have been talking about going driving ever since he got his car. When he graciously invited me on a drive with his G35 club, San Francisco to Santa Cruz, I jumped for my keys.
I met up with the group at Alice’s Restaurant in Woodside. There were 23 Infiniti G35s, two Nissan 350Zs, and my Mustang GT. Many of the people had only talked on the forum, not in real life, so we did a round of introductions and talked about our cars and mods. They also gave me a crash course in driving, which came in handy.
I was the token novice, so when we headed out, I took the rear. We immediately got stuck behind a pickup truck going 30. He didn’t pull over, so the group slowly passed him one at a time. I waited a few miles for my opening, so the group was far ahead of me when I passed him.
It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, since it left me entirely alone for the next 25 miles. Apart from a couple bicycles and the odd northbound car, it was steep, curvy, two-lane bliss.
More importantly, it was a perfect learning experience. I was free to push my car, and myself, without worrying about other drivers. Along the way, I felt things I’d only heard about before: oversteer, understeer, body roll, sway. I doubt I improved much, but I learned a ton, and I had a great time.
Props to Giri, Andy, Shane, and the rest of the G35s for letting a scruffy Mustang hang. Thank you! Now when you and Dan and other friends talk cars, I might even be able to contribute. :P