English Driving Tour

In August of 2000 I rented a little Vauxhall Corsa and did a driving tour of the southern expanse of England. In addition to visiting Carolyn, I drove to Oxford, Dover, Stonehenge, Sommerset, Exmoor, and the Lynmouth Coast. It took me about a day to get used to driving on the left; e.g., the first day I smacked a curb as I wasn’t used to the expanse of “car” to the left of me, and a few hours later made a right turn into the wrong lane. From that point on I kept having to tell myself, “remember, WIDE right turn.” Roundabouts (traffic circles) were also a little tricky; I actually spent 20 minutes just watching how cars negotiated a 3-lane roundabout in Oxford, and came to the conclusion that people just know where other cars are and don’t really have hard-and-fast rules. I actually came to really like roundabouts and their efficient flow of traffic; much less stopping than with traffic lights.

Excerpts from the only email I wrote during this trip in England:

It just so happened that I was passing by an internet cafe in the Soho district of London, and I couldn’t resist that 35 min per £1 rates even though I am supposed to be on vacation away from computers.

So far I’ve had a very relaxing time here, getting lots of rest and relaxation. So far I’ve only visited London and some parts of Oxford, although when I drove up to Oxford I could not find the university, which is why I ended up stopping at a park to eat a sandwich and read a book.

The more interesting things that have occurred so far include trying to understand how the roads here work. I’m finally getting used to this drive-on-the-left-side type of driving.

Atlantic Ocean (August 15, 2000)View of the Atlantic from the Lynmouth coast. (August 15, 2000)Green Bay B&B in Sommerset (August 15, 2000)Church (August 14, 2000)Cows grazing... hopefully not mad ones! (August 15, 2000)Port of Dover. (August 14, 2000)Dunster Castle.Flowers at Dunster Castle. (August 15, 2000)Dunster Castle. (August 15, 2000)Steps to the Dunster Castle. (August 15, 2000)View of the English Channel from Dover. (August 14, 2000)English road. (August 15, 2000)Another pretty English road. (August 15, 2000)English country road. (August 15, 2000)Sheep along A39. (August 15, 2000)Field opposite of Stonehenge.  Kind of looks like CA! (August 15, 2000)To Holland park with Carolyn.Inside Holland park.Kensington Gardens.Lamb. (August 15, 2000)Another lamb. (August 15, 2000)Lynmouth coast. (August 15, 2000)Lynmouth Incline. (August 15, 2000)England 8/00Porlock Hill.  It's steep! (August 15, 2000)25% grade on Porlock Hill! (August 15, 2000)Stonehenge. (August 15, 2000)My trusty little Vauxhall Corsa. (August 15, 2000)Characteristically narrow village road. (August 15, 2000)The white cliffs of Dover. (August 14, 2000)

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