Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 29 - No Cars

Jason's tips for public transportation number 3:

Check the volume on your headphones. Every so often, hold your headphones 12 inches from your nose, if you can hear music, they are too loud. You only get one set of ears. Take it from me when your hearing starts to fail, it sucks.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 23 - No Cars

My office sits at the corner of the Old Town/Chinatown MAX stop. It almost feels like I am cheating to have such easy access to frequent trains. It has also blinded me to the bus stop just one block away.

See, I usually catch an Eastbound train and ride it to 82nd where I transfer to a bus for the rest of the trip. If I work past 7, the busses are less frequent and I end up waiting in the rain for a bus.

It turns out that the bus I'm waiting for at 82nd also stops right outside my office. So for the last two nights, I've eschewed the siren song of the train and just ridden the bus.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 22 - No Cars

Transcript from an IM conversation we had yesterday:

9:28 AM Christa: this morning when I got to my bus stop at RQ, I was checking my transit tracker and i realized - I smell poop! I thought, "Great, I stepped in poop." I check my shoes - no poop. What the heck?! I still smell it...then I looked in to the corner of the bus shelter. Yep, poop. And I don't think it was left by a dog. I can still smell it. Ugh.
9:29 AM me: ewww.
Christa: Big time ewww.
9:30 AM after you left on the blue, I walked to the east end of the platform and sat in one of the shelters. After a minute my nose got my attention: I smell pee. Looking around, did I sit in pee?
9:31 AM I was thinking my morning was more odoriferous than yours, but I guess I was wrong.
Christa: oh man. At least you didn't sit in pee.
9:32 AM no kidding.
9:35 AM Christa: When you gotta go, you gotta go. I guess. This morning I figured someone clearly had a bathroom emergency. I suppose squatting in the bushes in the median wasn't a good option.
too exposed.
9:40 AM me:
and waiting till you get off the bus is *always* a good option.
Christa: most definately
me: even if it means you only make it to the bus stop shelter.
9:44 AM Christa: Tri-Met's "stay alert" safety message has a much broader meaning to me after this morning.
me: words of wisdom.
9:45 AM Christa: right up there with "never turn your back to the ocean"
me: and safety never takes a vacation

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 21 - No Cars

Today's condensation word is: sprinkle. It's heavier than a mist, but not really rain. It feels like your kid brother is flicking the water from his freshly washed hands in your face. It doesn't really fall from the sky and its not quite enough to motivate an umbrella. But, it does make me feel like chasing someone down to give them a noogie.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 18 - No Cars

I ride mainly during commuter hours, so I don't usually see anything of note. But, every now and then...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Day 17 - No Cars

Might see the sun today.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 16 - No Cars

Jason's tips for successful public transportation:

3. A smartphone. I know there was a time before smartphones when people looked at bus schedules and checked their watches to know when the bus would arrive. But, for my money, transit directions and arrival predictions are killer apps for your phone.

For trip planning nothing beats pure Google Maps. You already love it for driving directions. Now flip the switch to transit and you've got the power of the Goog planning your arrivals, departures, and transfers. Google knows the bus schedules and does an excellent job of planning trips. It does not, however, integrate with Tri-Met's real-time tracking.

For that you need an Android app called AnyStop (I don't know what you need on any other phone OS). I've tried every app in the Android market claiming to do real-time Tri-Met predictions, and AnyStop is the best. I've found it to be extremely accurate. It has map integration which, while a little clunky, does a decent job of finding stops that are your key to getting predictions. It claims to let you look up predictions based on bus lines instead of stops, but that feature has always given me an error. (I know it sounds like I'm not impressed with AnyStop, but it is by far the best app out there.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 15 - No Cars

Jason's tips for riding public transportation:

2. Keep a stocking cap in your coat pocket.  All this waiting sometimes happens in the cold.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 14 - No Cars

I think its because I've spent so much time trapped in my car that I really don't mind waiting for the MAX. I've had commutes that would regularly take upwards of 60 minutes. Hour after hour they taught me that all you can do is go with the flow.

I can remember my early days when I would zip through traffic, looking for seams in the endless line of autos. Trying, usually fruitlessly, to find some way to manufacture time. Over the years I guess I mellowed.  I even found peace in the time-locked miles of my day. By admitting that the drive was inevitable and that no other tasks could be accomplished, I learned to consider that time as moments of rest. It was out of my control and I could choose to appreciate the time with no pressures to complete any tasks or show any progress--guilt free.

I've carried that over to the bus stop, a pressure-free break in my day.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Day 11 - No Cars

It feels like spring. I wonder if I would have missed this in my car.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 10 - No Cars

Jason's tips for successful public transportation :

1. Patience. Maybe its because the woman next to me is sighing loudly and constantly checking her watch, but it seems to me that patience is a key to navigating the public transit system. I'll be honest with you, sometimes buses and trains are late, or delayed, or simply missing. No amount of toe-tapping will change that. If waiting's not your thing, you might be better off in a car.

But, if you can settle into the rhythm of the system you'll be rewarded. I tell myself, I'm just a small part of this big organism. It has tentacles that reach to every corner of the city. Ferrying people like blood cells in a vast network of veins.

Waiting for a pickup is just a small part of the experience.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Day 9 - No Cars

Christa's tips for riding public transportation:

2. A big weatherproof bag. (Stylin' color, optional.)

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Day 8 - No Cars

Up here in the NW we have a lot of names to describe what happens when water vapor in the sky becomes a liquid. Today it is: mist. As we were walking to the bus stop, water droplets formed on my jacket and face,  but no drips from the sky were falling. The air was just wet. Like 100% humidity. Mist.

Day 7 - No Cars

Riding the bus everywhere feels a bit like choosing the stairs over the escalator. It takes more effort. You get a little sweaty. You can see people on the escalator next to you and pretend that because you chose the stairs you are somehow superior. At the end you all get where you are going and you realize your choice probably didn't make much of a difference in the grand scheme of things. (Well, maybe not the last part.)

Monday, March 07, 2011

Days 5 & 6 - No Cars

Weekdays are the easiest since we were already mostly commuting to work via public transportation. All we had to to was leave 15 minutes earlier in the morning and we were sans car.

The weekends are a different story. We never ride public transportation on the weekend--and we go lots of places. Here is a list of where we went this weekend:

Division Street Movie Theater (Jason)Rode with Josh
Timberline Lodge (Jason)Rode with Darren
Wedding (Christa)77 Bus
Mosaic (Jason)77 Bus
Wells Fargo (Jason)Walked
Hollywood Burger Bar (Jason)Walked
Memorial service at the Lucky Lab (Jason)70 Bus
Memorial service at the correct Lucky Lab in Multnomah Village (Jason)rode with a new friend I made who also went to the wrong Lucky Lab
Return trip home (Jason)44 Bus, MAX
Safeway (Christa)Walked

You may have noticed that "No Cars" means that we don't use our cars. We are more than happy to ride in someone else's car. In fact, after only one week of not using our cars, riding in someone's car seems luxurious. You may have also noticed that we didn't go anywhere together this weekend. Christa has been sick and only went out because she didn't want to miss that wedding and she needed to do some shopping. (I, on the other hand, partied like Charlie Sheen.)

Looking forward to getting back into the week and some shorter trips.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Day 4 - No Cars

Christa's tips for successful public transporting:
1. Rubber Boots.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Day 3 - No Cars

Christa gets the MVP award today. It was her turn at the office to bring snacks and cake for someone's birthday. So, yesterday she took a shuttle from UoP to New Seasons to do her shopping. She ordered a cake from Helen Bernhard Bakery and in order to pick it up before work, caught a Halsey bus 30 minutes before our usual departure. There is a bus stop for the 77 right in front of the bakery, so she exited one bus, picked up the cake, and then rode the next one. She arrived on time to work with a backpack full of snacks and her hands full of cake.

If I'm picking teams to make the most of public transit, I choose Christa.

End of the Trail Oddities, Vol II

I was looking at some old posts tonight and stumbled upon a story from a few years ago where some kids offered me a bottle rocket at the end of the Glade Trail. (Feel free to read it here.) I had forgotten about that strange encounter, but I may be able to top it with what I was offered Sunday.

Darren and I were enjoying some snow up on the Hood and decided to take a trip down the glade. At the end of the trail where it meets the road we found a group of 3 guys which were, to my estimation, in their late 20s. They were trying free their Cherokee from a snowbank. Both front wheels were buried halfway up the snowbank and one of the rears had spun so much it was 6 inches lower than its pair. I didn't feel like being friendly and I figured that whatever trouble they were in was of their own doing, so I started to walk by on the other side of the road. Another snowboarder, whom we had met on the trail, was interested in helping and announced to everyone that what was needed was a shovel and asked if anyone had one.

Well, I just happen to take the back-country pretty seriously, and even if I'm cruising lift-assisted trails at a resort, I carry a pack with snowshoes and a shovel. Unable to ignore a request for a piece of equipment that I rarely use myself, I offered my shovel to the rescue effort. After a few minutes of digging, we put every able body in a pushing location and, without too much grunting, freed the vehicle from the clutches of the snow.

As we were packing up to go, one of the guys from the Cherokee produced a pipe and offered to let us join their "session" as payment for our help. We declined.

Here's a vid of Josh and me on the Glade from back in December:

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Day 2 - No Cars

Our usual commute was to drive to Gateway Transit Center and hop on a MAX train. Now we are catching the Halsey bus that stops 3 blocks from our house and takes us to the 82nd MAX station. We leave the house 15 minutes earlier and we end up one train ahead of where we used to ride.

Eschewing the four mile car section saves about $.90 each way in gas. So, this is not about saving money on the daily commute.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Day 1 - No Cars

We are taking on a new 30 day challenge,  no cars. Today, that means walking to the bus stop in the rain.

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