At last, in my little foray into the foothills, I found the roads I drove as a kid, headed to greener pastures for our cattle. Back in the dark ages, trucks were not what they are now. Shifting gears was the name of the game, a not so easy pursuit with the old transmissions. You had to double shift just to get into neutral in our truck! Shifting down was another story altogether, praying all the time that you didn't kill the engine on an uphill stretch, loaded with thousands of pounds of beef.
I actually became pretty good at it, only because of one tiny hint my dad gave me. Listen to the engine. That advice served me well, especially with caterpillars. If you listen, you can HEAR when you are about to get stuck. I went on to drive nothing but stick shifts for the next 30 years.