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A week without a Car: Day 2

By rmyers
Wednesday, December 13th, 2006 at 11:04 am in Randy Myers.

Two hours and 30 minutes!!!! That’s my wickedly long commute this morning that had me traveling by BART and foot.

Mother Nature provided me with some stunning eye candy, from the rich peach color of fallen leaves that littered my path to the lovely but fearsome clouds blanketing Mt. Diablo. But in the long run, this turned out to a crazy-long commute. I’ve fallen way behind at work, and feel like my day is nearly gone.

Randy Myers unpacks after Wednesday morning's commute

To do this route right, I should have left my home no later than 6:30 a.m. Today, I left at 7:30, and entered the office at 10. I don’t smell the best right now.

It was an invigorating walk to the Berkeley BART station (about a mile). I hopped off at the Walnut Creek station and then briskly walked more than 3 miles to the CCT office. Our big-box-looking building is tucked off the evil Ygnacio Valley Road.

My quick-witted friend Sue dubs the terminally clogged Ygnacio Valley stretch Satan Valley Road. If you’ve been on it during commute hours, you’ll agree that’s one fine nickname.

Why it took me forever was my own fault. I mistimed my BART train by about 30 seconds and then had to wait for the next Pittsburg/Bay Point train for about 16 minutes. It’s all about timing, I’m finding out.

I also strayed from the route I came up with last night. I planned to walk all the way up Satan, er, Ygnacio Valley Road to the Shadelands office, but the nasty exhaust fumes made me feel as if I was chain-smoking a pack of Marlboros.

So I detoured to the more pleasing Iron Horse Trail, but that was a boneheaded move. Later I cut through Heather Farm Park. It was a beautiful route.
I eventually hooked up again with Ygnacio Valley Road (it’s really hard to entirely avoid it). I tried to drown out the ugly traffic noise with the assistance of an iPod and Mary J. Blige. Mary J. always makes life better.

Randy Myers unpacks after Wednesday morning's commuteOne of the most challenging aspects of going without a car is lugging my change of clothes and work gear to and from the office. Today, I took a backpack weighed down with a pair of jeans, T-shirt, underwear, lunch, notebook, video camera, rain jacket, notepads, pens, keys, shoes, cell phone, etc. etc. etc. I need to leave a smaller footprint tomorrow in my pack.

In case I need to look more presentable, I keep a button-down shirt hanging in my work space. Haven’t used it yet, and hope I never have to.

I have a little pharmacy going in my top drawer, including Advil for when my cursed sciatica flares up and a bath gel in case I need to dash off to the showers. My podmate — religion writer Rebecca Rosen-Lum — must be appreciative that I keep a spare stick of Tom’s of Maine in my top drawer. It’s been getting quite the workout.

While waiting for the train at Rockridge I ran once again into my new commute pal Robert Kurosawa. He’s been riding his bike to work for a long time, and loves it. I also met a teenager who says he prefers taking public transportation than hitching a ride to his school in Orinda. Cool kid, and he was even doing his homework.

And gratefully, the weather took pity on me today. Let’s hope that doesn’t change tonight on my trek home.

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