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Running on Empty: Sunday edition

Nothing in my spendidly leisurely day yesterday prompted me to run any practical errands. Today, I looked around the kitchen and consulted my stomach, and realized that I needed some food.

So my experiment today was running errands without a car on Sunday afternoon.



By the numbers:
  • Time I decided to run errands: 1:20
  • Time spent looking at the Tri-Met trip planner: 3 minutes
  • Time spent considering getting in my hot black car instead: 10 seconds
  • Time I left the house: 1:28
  • Distance from my house to the New Seasons Market: 2 miles
  • Outdoor temperature: 90F/32C
  • Total distance walked: 5 blocks
  • Number of buses ridden: 4
  • Total time spent waiting for buses: 6 minutes (two of the four buses were positively Stan Shunpike-ish in their prompt appearance)
  • Number of lemonade stands run by little girls shouting, "You can buy ice cold lemonade right here--but you don't have to!" encountered: 1
  • Time I came back through my front door laden with foodstuffs: 2:15
A whopping 55 minutes from conception to completion. All of the bus drivers were nice. The transit-tracker phone system and online trip planner were accurate. All the buses were air conditioned. Loads of people were riding.

So, Tri-Met. \o/

Notes to self:
  • Ninety degree days need more planning. Bringing ice cream home is not an option, and milk and meat could be iffy
  • Ten pounds of flour and the jumbo jar of peanut butter are probably best obtained on a separate trip. Nearly tore the furoshiki--not to mention some arm muscles.
  • Remember your water bottle. Hoo boy.
  • Make a list. Make a list. Make a list. You forgot at least three things.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
vchrusch
Jul. 14th, 2008 12:50 am (UTC)
You can get reusable thermal grocery bags which come in handy with the frozen stuff. I've got one or two lurking in the broom closet and I purchased them from one of the local markets. You could stash one in your furoshiki.

I'm also lucky that where I live that I have the choice of two major grocery chains and a large Asian market all within a 1.2 kilometre walk, but I do make sure not to load up too much or my arms feel like they are going to pop out of their sockets climbing up the front steps. If I need to get the heavy stuff I save it for another day. An average shopping trip is around an hour.

I can also take a bus that stops a half a block from my house transfer to the LRT, take the train to the end of the line, walk across a parking lot and shop at the Superstore which has an amazing selection of goodies. The added bonus is the fact that they have the cheapest prices compared to the competition and I can be back home in less than 2 hours. All for the price of one adult transit fare I might add. Yeah, I can be very frugal at times.
emeraldsedai
Jul. 14th, 2008 01:29 am (UTC)
Hey, thanks for comparing notes! Some of my flist are car-free, but I'm pretty sure you're the only one in North America. Good to have company on the quest.

I envy you your easy access to Asian groceries. I can get a few Japanese items nearby, but for a real pan-Asian selection, it's the toolies--the bad-busline toolies.

So, I ration my use of Chinese sesame paste in exchange for not paying five bucks a gallon for gas. Seems like a good trade to me.
vchrusch
Jul. 14th, 2008 01:57 am (UTC)
It's always great to compare notes.

I blame all the hippies that my young cousin introduced me to when she was keeping an eye on me during the late 60's. I never was one for getting wrapped up in the car culture, but I still do like the motorcycles though. At least they are more fuel efficient.

I also have the luck that 17th Avenue hosts a large diversty of food shops fron all over the world in a 20-25 block area. It picked up the moniker "International Avenue" a few years back and is a BRZ (Business Revitalization Zone). Actually this area used to be a small town called Forest Lawn before it was annexed by the city back in '61. It has a great amount of character.
emeraldsedai
Jul. 14th, 2008 03:02 am (UTC)
Curiously enough, I've just been having a conversation on La Vida Locavore about the problem of food availability in inner cities. It led to a lengthy discussion of urban planning, and how small towns do or don't get annexed into big cities.

Sounds like Calgary got it right in the instance of Forest Lawn and 17th Avenue.
vchrusch
Jul. 14th, 2008 03:55 am (UTC)
Bowness was another town in the late 50's and so was Midnapore in the 90's, but there have been so many screwups along the way though including the closure of the few markets in the downtown core. They're finally getting around to fixing that.
roseambr
Jul. 14th, 2008 04:03 pm (UTC)
I found an insulated bag at Trader Joe's for $1.50. It is perfect for getting dairy foods home on hot days. Your trip sounds very organized, even if you did forget a few items. Yes, I would certainly save the big items for a trip with your Sis where you are sharing a ride. It makes the trip home pretty long when you are lugging a heavy load.

You are making great strides towards releasing the dependance on a car though. My hat is off to you girl!
emeraldsedai
Jul. 14th, 2008 06:00 pm (UTC)
Getting cold food home is only an issue a few times a year, really. I rarely buy frozen food, and I can get dairy at my corner Whole Foods (until I finally source raw milk--still want to do that). So really, it should only be an issue on those rare days when it's really hot AND I'm buying meat.

I'm pretty happy with how it's going so far. And I'm certainly in good company! The sidewalks, bike lanes and buses are alive with activity these days. It's nice.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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