Pine Nuts: World’s slowest driver revealed |

Pine Nuts: World’s slowest driver revealed

McAvoy Layne
Pine Nuts

Yes, the world’s slowest driver has been unmasked, and it is I. Truth be told, I’m holding out for the first self-driving car. You might be shouting right now to anyone in earshot, “Hey let’s start a crowd fund for this guy, and get him off the road!”

I remember coming out one day to a note on my windshield, “Hey, Mark Twain, can you pick it up a little on Mt. Rose Highway, some of us have to get to work!” And it was signed, “Horace Greeley.”

For those innocents not familiar with Horace Greeley, he was a popular politician and newspaper publisher in the 1860s, who took a ride in Hank Monk’s stagecoach from Carson City to Hangtown. Horace shouted for Hank to hurry it up, as he had a lecture engagement in Placerville. Hank cracked his whip and sent Horace rocketing around the inside that coach to where the buttons all popped off his vest. Horace shouted, “Mr. Monk, I’m not in so much of a hurry anymore.”

That anecdote was told and retold so many times in the 1860s that it became the flattest and most detested chestnut in the West; people attempting to retell it were threatened with their lives.

As it happened, that 21st century personal note on my windshield from Horace Greeley made me smile, and I did pick it up a little on Mount Rose Highway for a while, but not at night. At night I am still the world’s slowest driver, slow, safe, and happy as a rickshaw driver; sometimes fellow travelers flash their lights and signal to me that I’m No. 1 in their books.

One night up on Spooner I was driving so slow I hit a deer and didn’t knock him down. He just looked at me as if to say: “Go around!”

Someone handed me a high compliment the other night in a first-class groggery here in the village of Incline, “Hey Mac, if you had been in that Great Automobile Race Across America back in 1908 you’d just be pulling into Kansas City about now.” Well, I can live on a compliment like that for a week — without food.

I suppose I got my slow start back in 1953 when I entered a slow bike contest at the county fair. While others were flying past me or falling over, I kept my regular pace until somebody tapped me on the shoulder, handed me a bag of kettle corn, and told me they were closing up for the night. My parents, meanwhile, watching with keen interest at the start of that slow bike race, had fallen asleep in the car.

I wrote a letter to Elon Musk recently asking when I might be able to purchase a Tesla self-driving car to ride across America, and I’m patiently awaiting a reply. Until that happens, they tell me the bugs that hit my windshield will live to see another day.

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