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August 31, 2009: Comin' Through the Rye

My husband Mark and I left the US for our recent trip to Scotland from Washington Island, Wisconsin, rather than Iowa. For various logistical reasons, the car available to take to the Green Bay airport was my little two-seater.

In planning our trip, Mark set up the air travel; I arranged hotel accommodations and rented a car. We would be making a giant loop through northern Scotland—Glasgow, Edinburgh, Inverness, Isle of Skye, and then back to Glasgow for the flight home.

About to click on a standard transmission (the norm in Europe), mid-size vehicle, I noticed the "luxury" option a few lines down on the Orbitz chart. For not that much more, Hertz would rent us an automatic transmission Mercedez-Benz! Thinking about the hundreds of miles we'd be driving on the right hand side of the road, from the right side seat of the car, I splurged.

As we sped along the M-way from Glasgow to Edinburgh, we developed our new mantra: stay right, look left, stay left, look right. Mark, who drove a right-side-drive standard-shift VW bug in the US his senior year in high school, kept his cool. In the left seat, I navigated us to our Edinburgh hotel, along major thoroughfares that changed street names almost every block.

Over our nine day journey, sorry to say, I declined to learn a new skill. With the ability you'd expect from a former commercial B-757 pilot, Mark negotiated incredibly tight turns in pouring rain enroute Inverness, kept us safely in unbelievably narrow lanes enroute the Isle of Skye, held steady through single-vehicle underpasses on each leg, and did not flinch when meeting Scottish lorries and double-decker tour buses. The Mercedes hummed.

Back in Green Bay, we loaded the luggage into my little red car. Now the designated driver, and using all six forward gears, I brought us home to Winterset. With one suitcase strapped on the arm rest between us, Mark couldn't see much of me. Instead, he gazed out the window at the beautiful shoulders of the standard American highway.

Today's Fortune Cookie Fortune:
You will appreciate the ability of others.

Posted on Monday, August 31, 2009 by Registered CommenterMarianne Fons | CommentsPost a Comment | References3 References

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