Friday, July 27, 2012

Car-free: the first week

First week: done!

So far it hasn't been that hard. My Zipcar application was finally approved (yay!), so if there is something that simply needs a car, I have one.

Last Saturday we returned the borrowed SUV to McKay's uncle. I drove it down to their place while McKay drove the Zipcar down so we could have a way home. We discovered that Zipcars are in high demand on the weekends and the closest one available was a mile away. We prepared and brought a stroller with us to carry the carseats for the walk home from the Zipcar.

We also used a Zipcar on Sunday to get to church. The cars are vacuumed and washed and shiny. And unlike every other car we've owned: they have fancy dashboards. That talk to you and things. Our first car together was a '91 and the most recent was a '98, so these fancy shmancy computer-y cars are new to us. But fun. We actually have the option of trying lots of different kinds of cars through Zipcar: Priuses (how do you pluralize that?), Civics, Focuses (Foci?), etc. So that's kind of fun.

McKay was home sick Tuesday through Thursday and utterly useless as he slept all day every day. I thought, "Oh maybe he can watch the kids while I take the bike trailer shopping so I don't have to carry kids AND groceries back," but nope.

On Tuesday we took the bus to a park. I can bike to most of the parks in Berkeley, but there are a few that are out of reach or up in the hills where I don't want to pull 65+ pounds of children with a fixie. We rode 5 different buses in that round trip: 3 on the way to the park and 2 on the way home. The buses were mostly on-time. One was about 5 minutes late, but it was lunch hour in Berkeley: traffic is just going to be bad. Another was late, but we took the first one that came by since both lines were going in the same direction and would get us home either way. But we did have fun at the park. Isaac was in the mei tai on the way home because we had to walk a half a mile to get to the bus stop and he fell asleep for the whole ride back. It was a little sad since we was really excited about going on the bus. "BUS!!!"

I also rode my bike to two other parks this week, but that's not any different from what I was doing before the car-free experiment: if a park is close, I ride my bike.

I rode my bike to the grocery store, like I said above. There is a Grocery Outlet, which will sometimes have organic snacks and such for really cheap. I go there first and then to another store to pick up what wasn't at Grocery Outlet. Grocery Outlet is very hit-and-miss. Luckily, I was able to find everything we needed there, so that was great. Riding home, I estimate I pulled 100+ pounds of people and groceries for 2 miles on the way home. But on the other hand, I didn't spend as much at the store because I knew I'd have to trek it home with my own legs. Also, on the way home, we passed the missionaries on their bikes. They said, "Hi," but didn't recognize me or anything. Berkeley is a different ward.

Tomorrow McKay and I are going out on a date in San Francisco, so we're taking the bus to the BART. McKay's never been on the BART before, so it'll be an adventure for him. And we have a Zipcar already reserved for church on Sunday.

McKay and I agreed that we'd do this for a month and then reassess. Our arbitrary "month" will be over on August 19, since that'll be 4 full weeks are being car-free. I'm really excited for this!

ETA: I did need to get a ride to my visiting teaching group, but luckily there are a couple of people in my group who live close by. I feel bad about getting rides: I'm taking on this car-free thing for myself and then turning around and expecting other people to pick up the slack. On the other hand, it did allow me to talk to this person and get to know her better and it didn't bother her at all- she actually felt bad for driving to my house, we are so close.

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