The Land Rover Writer

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Commuting in the Land Rover

This past week has found me at the top of an extension ladder inside a post and bean house, scrubbing walls prior to whitewashing them. Last done 20 + years ago when the house was built, it's great to have the work but as my 20-something co-worker said, "it's hell on earth to clean this stuff."

We've been in the midst of a cold dry spell on the island; there's nothing fun to drive over so the Land Rover has been reduced to a commuter vehicle for the week. The roads are alternatively clean and ice-coated, with a most treacherous point at the end of the 8 mile commute.

The house in question resides at the bottom of a hillock, overlooking the Thorofare, a channel between the islands of Vinalhaven and North Haven. It's on a barely plowed lane and as you descend down the hillock, the lane turns to sheer ice. Oh yes, you must also turn sharp right into a small parking spot so you don't crash into any car parked at the bottom of the hill. 

So I clamp down on a yellow topped lever to engage four wheel drive, put the car in first gear, and let the engine speed slow the car and keep it under control. 

Every couple of days a woman arrives in a Jeep Wagoneer to clean the house and assist its elderly owner. When she steps out of her car her eyes look wide with fear as she describes the drive in the most frightening terms. She "hates" coming down the drive and seems convinced her automatic transmission car will slide straight into the ocean. 

In the Land Rover, the drive is a yawn.