Monday, June 30, 2008

Of hawks and priuses

I've been commuting to Sacramento at least a couple of days a week for 20 years, but will kick that bad habit soon. As my commuting days wind down, I've been thinking about the Amador-Sacramento drive.

I've recently noticed a decided increase in the number of Toyota Priuses (Prii?) on the road. There are many more in Amador than just a few months ago. Blue, dark red, white, gray, green, silver, black -- I think I've seen them all now. It's an interesting trend, considering that just a year ago they were still relatively rare.

I've also been thinking about the things I will miss about commuting. I will not miss much about driving to and from work in the dark.

But I will miss watching the spring bloom move from the valley to the foothills. I'll miss the wildlife, too -- not the crazy drivers who've run me off the road several times, but the herons, egrets and occasional belted kingfisher. And I'll miss the hawks that perch on Highway 16's power poles in the early morning hours.

Two weeks ago, I started intermittent commute counts of Priuses and hawks. On the first day, the Priuses scored 4, the hawks 6. Monday saw an 8-8 roundtrip tie, including Priuses spotted in a lunchtime outing in town.

Seeing eight Priuses in a single day is a sign of the times. Seeing eight hawks on any day is a gift.


Randy Bayne said...


I am one of your fellow commuters to Sacramento, and I too drive a Prius.

I'm often asked if I hate the long commute. My honest reply is absolutely not. It is a lovely drive, especially in the Spring, and a great way to prepare for the workday ahead and to unwind after a long day at work.

Perhaps you will recognize some of your hawk friends in these pictures, many of which were taken on the drive.

Katherine said...

Great photos, Randy! Thanks.

I'm not in a Prius, myself. Look for the red Honda CRX (gets 36+ mpg) -- at least for three days this month and a few next.

I don't like the commute at all in the dark or the rain. But in spring, it's great. I've seen the most remarkable rainbows while driving home and many incredible sunsets. And there's nothing like seeing the late afternoon sun gleaming on the Sierra above the green foothills.

But I've also been run off the road three times by people passing dangerously. The last time I thought I was going to flip my car -- which is saying something, because it's extremely stable. So there is down side to the 16 commute, and it's going to get worse if the casino goes into Plymouth.