I must be getting soft! I haven’t driven Libby very much for the past month or so, mainly using the Prius or Scion, which are small light relatively modern vehicles. However, for the past three days, I’ve been using Libby continuously in conjunction with an Open Day at Graham. And after three days of pretty intense use, mainly on short haul collection trips, my arms are killing me. You see, I’ve been spoiled. The Scion and Prius are small light cars with automatic transmission and power steering. Basically, not a great deal of effort is involved in driving them. Libby on the other hand is heavy, has no power steering and is manual shift. Who needs a rowing machine or any other keep fit device? Drive a Land Rover on a regular basis and you’ll have muscles like Hercules! Mind you, it was quite nice to be able to use Libby for her originally designed purpose (i.e. as a farm truck) and use her for farm chores such as moving hay bales and transporting goats to the display pens (!). Yes, I had goats in the back of the Land Rover. No I didn’t get any pictures.
Another aspect of driving a Land Rover here in the US, where they are relatively rare, is you make lots of instant friends. Especially if it is RHD with UK Number plates on it. Taking stuff to the dump on Friday morning, I got buttonholed by a transplant from the Isle of Man, who wanted to look it over. He even offered to buy me lunch (couldn’t accept as I had to get back to the barn). Same thing when stopping at the hardware store – 15 minute conversation with a driving instructor who wanted to know about how difficult I found it driving a RHD vehicle in the US (not very difficult IMHO). Even waiting to turn left at Timmonium Rd, a huge pickup truck pulled up along side me and the driver proceeded to start a conversation whilst we were both waiting for the lights to turn green. I tell you, I don’t think I’ve ever been so popular! Diane just can’t understand how an elderly heavy, noisy, smelly, slow vehicle gets loads of people drooling and talking. I’m not even going to try and explain it to her!