Wednesday, April 5

Vacation_: Driving in St. John

I really liked this Picture because it says it all. Driving in the islands is all done on the left hand side of the road. The credit for this photo goes to Mark Pellitier. There is a link to his website in my links section and you should go check it out. I have his permission to use some of his photos from his St. John trip and over the next couple of months my posts will contain some of his shots as well as some of mine. In any case this post is supposed to be about driving in the Islands. A couple of weeks ago I told Billy that driving was on the left hand side of the road. He said that he would be interested in trying it out on a country road. Well Billy, they are all country roads. Speed limit in Cruz bay is 10 mph and on the island roads 20mph. People, dogs, cats, chickens, goats and cows have right of way. The roads are narrow and the surface can be rough. If you are driving keep the grass on your side. It is easy going up hill because the driver is next to the mountain. Coming down though the driver gets the view into the valley. There are not a lot of flat roads you are either going up or coming down. When you are going into a swichback beep the horn to let the car coming down know you are coming up . I asked Tim for his advise and he offered the following:

"Driving on the left has its challenges and can have a rather "steep" learning curve. Left lane navigation affords the driver the ability to easily determine where the edge of the road (term used lightly) ends and the beginning of the cliff starts. This is done by leaning a head out the driver side window and carefully maneuvering along the edge of the donkey path. For fun add on-coming traffic.

One of the hardest parts of the learning this new driving style is maintaining proper lanes while making turns at intersections. One of the fastest ways to overcome this hurdle is try and convince the local driver of a large, speeding truck that HE is in fact on the wrong side of the road.

The USVI government has done a good job posting signs in high tourist traffic areas: "Keep Left" is as good a reminder as any. Good Luck."

When Ellen & I were there we drove out the North Road. It goes along the beaches and is not particularly hilly as we remember. We stayed off Centerline road because it went down the center of the island. We wanted the water vistas rather than the mountain views. Looking at a topografical map our villa is up the hill, so we will get a lot of practice driving to and from the beaches. The navigators job alongwith keeping the driver going in the right direction is to keep him or her(we are going to need a woman driver to take the girls shopping) on the left side of the road.

Massachusetts drivers are going to feel right at home driving on St. John, there aren't any road signs. The roads have names but no signs to tell you which one you are on. Directions are given by the locals to turn at so & so's house or as another one of Mark's picture shows the.....


Paula Myers said...

Love the "Fork" in the road! Love the Blog.

We will definitely have a wonderful experience!


Mark Pelletier said...

Thanks for the link to our site. Anoth thing about driving on St. John - when we were there the cars were left hand drive as in the US, which made left side driving interesting, particularly since no one seemed to re-adjust the headlight aim ! Of course out (the) town, the roads were pretty much one to one-and-a-half lane anyway.

Anonymous said...

We need more interesting information on the life of Joe. Keep it coming.

Mark Pelletier said...

The pictures are missing because I have moved my website to:

Please adjust accordlingly.