Brent and London left this morning at 6AM during a break in thunderstorms, by bike, to catch a charter bus to NYC. 13 hours later, they are checked in to their room and pulling together a great three day agenda to celebrate her 10th birthday. Brent’s there for work, she’s there for play. Many bikey adventures await, and a few amazing urban originals. Want to follow along on their adventure? @BrentPatterson is tweeting pics every so often and @ASimpleSix is RTing. Join us. It’s fun.
The Huntington Tri-State Airport is 13.4 miles from our home using the interstate or 9.9 miles taking the more direct route. The fare for flying from Huntington was the same as flying from Charleston, WV or Columbus, OH and far more convenient, or so I thought. The Tri-State Transit Authority does not have a bus route to the airport. I called the two hotels the airport lists as having shuttle service and they don’t transport people who are not a guest in their hotel. I called Yellow Cab and learned that it was $2.40 to get in and $1.40 per mile, making it approximately $17-$22 to get to the airport. I truly considered biking. I am only taking my backpack, so luggage was not an issue, but I didn’t know what to do with my bike when I got there and the route was not a safe one to bike with my lack of experience and strength. Maybe for another trip?
Brent’s been preparing for my departure as well. He got the oil changed in the van on Monday then loaded up on frozen pizzas and cereal at the grocer’s last night (by bike). I have always maintained he would be my biggest challenge to ditching the vehicles. He’s been a good sport about it so far, but concessions and compromises are made for the sake of sanity and our relationship. We are planning to drive to pick up the children from school, then heading out for an early dinner on the way to the airport, all for the sake of time.
My family will enjoy their time with out me here and I will enjoy making memories with my two sisters, mom and all the other friends and family while in Phoenix. It will be an East meets West reunion for us all. My sister relocated to Arizona more than five years ago and left all her family in the mid-west. Her two best friends are flying in from Boston and Tampa. The groom’s family is all in Phoenix.
This will be my third visit to the dessert, but my first without the children. Does anyone have some suggestions of things I need to do in Arizona, that I can’t do anywhere else? I have been mapping out distances from my sister’s place in Avondale, hoping to bike as much as I can. I packed my helmet and I can either ride my sister’s bike or I found several places that rent them. The bus and light rail system seem to cover the entire city, so I don’t feel I will have to be dependent on everyone for a ride after all.
It’s also probably a good idea to re-mention that I don’t feel cars are the enemy. My original intent with driving less was to save money, and I have done so, quite a lot of money actually. Enough to pay for my trip to Phoenix, but not enough to rent a car when I get there. Between all the vehicles the bride, groom and the groom’s family own , the out of town guests should all be able to get to and fro without major hassles. Biking, walking and using the bus system just gives me a greater sense of independence and more options with my own time.
I hope to keep writing and posting pictures from AZ, but my technology situation (I will have internet access, just unsure about other hardware, card readers and such) is still uncertain at this time. Perhaps you will see something tomorrow, or perhaps when I return next week. In either case, I look forward to reading your suggestions for my time in the dessert.
There are challenges in every city in America and beyond. Sometimes I get very short sighted and focus on my angst with Huntington, WV. The city has a failing infrastructure that is taking a lot of time to fund and repair. One of the unique features in this town are the aqua-ducts or via-ducts. They are roads that were cut to go under the rail road tracks that run on the level ground. When we get a heavy rain, like we did very early this morning, they fill with water so quickly cars can get trapped and the water can’t get drained away (The details are in the link above).
This morning Brent had intended to walk the children directly to school but London wanted to take the bus, so he obliged her. They left at 7:20AM for a bus that was schedule to arrive at 7:50 and didn’t arrive till 8:10. The via-ducts were full of water and the buses had to find other ways around. Brent called me from the school at 8:22 to report they just arrived, London forgot her lunch and our friends would be taking the children to school all next week. I know he was frustrated.
I am frustrated too. The bus was working out OK when it was only a couple minutes late (the very first day), but the inconsistencies and the forces of nature are too hard on the start of the children’s school day. We were not the only ones on that bus trying to get to school this week either. Every day I rode there was another mother and son going to Spring Hill Elementary. I don’t know what time their tardy bell rings, but if it was 8:00AM, they were late most days too. I wonder how many other Huntington families rely on the TTA for school transportation?
There was an opinion piece in our local Herald Dispatch newspaper this summer about how we can all help with the storm water issues. If you live here, I suggest taking some of Bill’s advice (we have). In the mean time, we are going to go forward with our car pooling plan to get the children to school.
|Miles Walked: 16.8||Biked: 25.3||Bused: 8.4||Drove: 3.6||This week|
|16.8||25.3||8.4||3.6||Since August 14, 2011|
There must be something in my nature, or the way I was nurtured, but I don’t like to do the same things twice. Not in exactly the same way. Be it cooking, reading, or traveling, I enjoy a little twist, or the discovery of something new because I did something different. I feel that there are so many things to learn and experience that it’s worth trying as many as I can. This sense of adventure comes and goes, but it’s fully active now. I am feeling energized to make this car-free month one worth writing about.
If you haven’t had enough of our back and forth to school, read on my friends, read on. Otherwise, check out Let’s Go Ride a Bike, where our family and Huntington were mentioned in their Summer Games contest today.
How They Got There
Brent walked the children and his bike to the bus stop this morning and rode with them to school. This was his first bus ride in Huntington since 2007 or 08. He spent last night looking at videos on how to load his bike onto the bus bike rack. Very techno nerdy, but he felt more confident this morning. It never occurred to me that there would be videos, but there are many many of them, except of course, on our very own TTA site. Once the children were at school, about 8:06AM today, he rode to work down Norway which turned into 20th Street.
|“Chaotic” sidewalk on Wiltshire.|
|Note: Wednesday is garbage pick up day.|
|Hard to find shade with this intense sun.|
How We Got Home
The return from school to home, I walked Avery and Oliver up to school with the single stroller. It was lighter and more compact, but harder to manage over “chaotic” sidewalks. This also meant Avery had to walk the entire trip, which he did without complaining. I took the whole trip at his pace and we stopped often as the sun was intense today. We even wondered down that new asphalt patch we saw this week to see where this new section of the PATH might go. It was a dead end by the way. We got to school just after dismissal time, so the walk took about 50 minutes as this pace, versus the 40 when I push them up in the double stroller at my own.
|We play the punch buggy game on all our walks. It was a top down kind of day, most certainly.|
|Someday I will walk through this arch. It’s so inviting to me.|
|The new section of the PATH.|
|Drats, dead end.|
|Avery insisted on taking a break here.|
|Avery’s not a great driving, but I love his efforts.|
|We spied the #2 as we were walking on Norway to get the children from school .|
|Avery wanted to jog along side the stroller while we were going up hill. Determination.|
|London is so very excited to be playing the clarinet in school band this year.|
|Waiting for the return bus. Note Oliver playing London’s head like a piano.|
I took the single stroller because it folds tight and I decided to bus everyone home today. The #2 would come by school at 3:45ish which gave me time to chat with teachers and provide everyone with an after school snack while still at school. The children were thrilled with my surprise. They really love the bus. We paid our $3 and pretended it was the Night Bus from Harry Potter the whole 2.1 miles to our stop. It didn’t require a lot of imagination, that bus feels fast and stops just as quick.
|More drink breaks and some hat tossing.|
After our bus departure we had a nice shady .8 mile walk home. Stopping for water and hat tosses along the way. I left the house at 2:15 and we arrived home at 4:30. I am glad that I have plenty of time to spend. Grandma enjoyed the peace and quite at home. After we arrived it wasn’t quiet again till 9:30PM.
What the Future Holds
Tomorrow will be our fourth day of school commuting, and we are doing it differently again. I just can’t find the “right” way for us and I am having a good time working it out.
|Miles Walked: 14||Biked: 21.4||Bused: 6.3||Drove: 3.6||This week|
|14||21.4||6.3||3.6||Since August 14, 2011|
Brent went out for ground beef and bacon on Monday night and I needed a few things this morning. Biking to Kroger 2.5 miles away is not a very convenient option for small trips. When running out for a couple items we have a few other choices from our house. We can stop at Clark’s BP gas station a couple of blocks away or Rite Aid several blocks further. There is a mom and pop shop (Ujamma’s?) in the neighborhood behind Cabell Huntington Hospital, I think it’s on Charleston Avenue, or a street south. Then there is Julian’s market on 12th Street and 11th Avenue.
For both of our recent trips we chose Julian’s. It’s 2.2 miles round trip, less than 1/2 the distance of Kroger and still on level streets. Their prices are a bit higher than Kroger, but nothing outrageous. I paid .69/lb for bananas and they were .59/lb at Kroger last week. 2lbs of popcorn kernels were $1.99 and everything they sell is homemade or name-brand.
I did want to get bread today, but nothing whole wheat was under $2/loaf so I passed and will make my own later today with this recipe that just posted on another favorite blog site, 100 Days of Real Food. I also needed soy milk and it was near $3 for a liter, another pass today. The larger Kroger trip will be later this week. We make it stretch around here until we just can’t scrape together the basic nutrition requirements.
|Helmets and groceries, Oliver and list. Julian’s used to be Mansour’s.|
|Front door parking for every one at Julian’s. Yet, no bike rack.|
Oliver, Avery and I took off at 10 till 9AM. We stopped for our eggs (4 dozen) first then to get a few provisions. Today’s purchases and weights:
2.97lbs sweet potatoes
2lbs butter (actually margarine b/c butter was $4.89/lb and the margarine was .89, I still feel guilty over the compromise, but my budget won this fight)
2liters (4lbs) of diet Coke
2lbs of popcorn
About 20lbs in total, plus Oliver and Avery, the tools and diaper bag and waters. I think we maxed out the trailer’s weight limit of 100lbs today. We were home by 10AM.
Time to Slow Down
Part of the slow journey today was my own physical condition. My throat has been very sore for a couple days and my legs ache. I can work through the muscle aches and pains, but then coming up the first of two hills home the pressure in my chest got to me. I have a history of my heart changing pace and rattling around in my chest like it’s trying to jump out, even though my breathing is steady. The Drs say it’s a change in pressure. Well, it started up at an intersection and didn’t let up till I got home. The intensity of the pounding was making me light headed, so I stopped the bike, drank a lot of water, tried all the breathing tricks I know to get it to stop. Because it wasn’t changing I decided to walk the bike home for the last couple blocks. When I reached down to unbuckle Avery in the trailer it quit. Just as quick as it started, it was over. I have been home taking it easy since.
Did you catch a couple of things on this post? First there were miles listed in the “drove” section of the header. Then there was the diet Coke. We don’t drink diet Coke, but you may not have known that. My grandmother took the Greyhound down from Columbus last night to visit with us and friends for a couple of weeks. Her bus came in at 10:45PM and we didn’t dare let my 76 year old granny walk home or get on a bike. The local buses don’t run that late, so Brent turned over the engine on the van, aka HighSpeed, and puttered down to pick her up.
Grandma been taking the Greyhound bus down here since we moved in. She likes the independence of getting where she wants to go without overly burdening anyone to take her. She enjoys sitting back and taking in the characters she sees on the bus. Now that I think about it, she’s a car-lite woman. Her neighbor does her grocery shopping and she gets rides with family for doctor’s appointments and errands. Way to go Grandma!