It’s still dark outside, 3:30am. I am fairly sure the neighbors are about to hate me. Her cold start procedure bumps the revs up a little bit and is intended to warm the catalytic convertors for emissions, but tonight they are announcing the awakening of 8 cylinders of German fury. She roars to life.
I know my route tonight, but I don’t know why I’ve chosen it. I want to get in to work at a halfway reasonable time, but this is my only real plan for today. No Meeting Thursdays. As I head out of the city and approach Highway 92, I wonder if an early morning Skyline run will suffice, but I know it just won’t do. And so I drive.
I pass the hangars at Moffett Airfield, wondering what Google is up to in there, wondering how people handle traffic on these roads… every… single… day. But right now they’re nearly empty. I realize I’ve spent the last 45 minutes just thinking and listening to the gentle drone of the exhaust. I turn on some Led and listen to the levee break. Something about it makes me feel like I’m Memphis Raines “just blasting to Palm Springs” and I push the right pedal down.
I pull in to the Chevron next to Boiling Crab, suddenly hungry. But she’s the one who needs feeding. I top off the tank because there’s nothing out there where we’re going. I switch the playlist. It’s Lisa Loeb. Throwback day. I toss the empty Red Bull can and we make our way up Mt. Hamilton.
The windows are closed, but I can tell it’s cold. The color of night along the road confirms it for me. I drive. Spiritedly. As the roads turn back and forth I imagine my passengers, nauseated, green, frightened by the lack of rails to catch us from falling to our death, and I remember why I came up here alone. To be one with man and machine.
Coasts are funny. Here on the west coast we often delight in the sunset over the ocean, descending on the horizon to put a period on the end of the day. For me, I have always found special solice in sunrises. I’ve made it to the observatory. Eyes weary from the drive and lack of sleep, I welcome the sight of the dawn. I step out and find a nice viewing perch as the darkness is lit in hues of blues and violets, while pinks give way to violent bursts of orange exploding through the sky.
Our busy little Silicon Valley bodies are about to wake below. I ponder our existence. We rarely take the time to pause and observe. We should. I will, but along the road ahead. The morning sky through the valley reminds me of the Creator. I can’t dwell on it for too long as the roads are technical and require my full attention. And so I drive.
I’ve gone through Del Puerto Canyon now, hours having passed on the road, my rear numb from turning the suspension to full stiff, my arms sore from the constant and precise input on these hairy roads. I can finally see semi’s hauling cargo along I-5. I pull in to the Chevron in Patterson to fill up, hours from home, but half of it interstate through the middle of nowhere. I punch in the drive to Waze and realize I have made a gross miscalculation. Bay Area morning commute traffic. I wasn’t going to make it in on time, but I didn’t care. Today was about the drive and those 8 cylinders and I are going back the way we came.