Friday, May 6, 2011

(mini) Transportation Vacation

This adventure and blog post was inspired by the amazing Joe McDermott, and his classic song "Transportation Vacation."

Bike Monkey escaped off to Sea World yesterday to celebrate a friend's birthday. Knowing that Charlie Brown would mope around all day and bemoan the unfairness of it all if we just stayed close to home, I decided we would go off on our own exploration. We've talked for awhile about checking out our barely year-old light rail system, and decided yesterday would be a good day to do it.
I wish I could say that we were car free all day, but we weren't. It's a 5 mile drive from my house to the nearest rail station, and the bus system stops about a mile from my house, even though we're in the city limits. (A whole other rant for another day.)

So we drove to the station, and then caught the train and headed north to - the mall. I know it's kind of silly, but as you'll see, there are many attractions besides shopping at the mall. We arranged for one of Charlie Brown's friends to meet us and hang out at the mall, and this increased the fun exponentially.

I loved the train, and with the exception of convenience, couldn't really find fault with it. Charlie Brown had a reduced fare all day pass for $2.75, and that covered both ways on the train and the connecting bus we took to get to the mall. There is free wi-fi on the trains, clean comfortable seats, and even drop down trays to work on if you desire.

We went 20 or so miles in 37 minutes. Truth be told, if there's not much traffic, I can make it there from home in less time than that. And I don't use $8.25 in gas doing it. But it was so much fun, and so much less stressful. (I so wish that public transport in Austin were more developed and extensive, but I'm happy for what we've got. I also recognize that I'm privileged to be able to choose to ride the bus, and not have to rely on it exclusively for my travel needs.)

Once at the train station, we caught the connecting bus without any problem, and were deposited just outside the entrance to the mall parking lot. Much fun was had in the mall, between the bouncy place and the bungee jumping set up.

(yes, they are bouncing as high as the second story. And, they'd just eaten lunch!)

And another form of transportation was involved, if you count the carousel, which I'm inclined to do.
Next time Bike Monkey wants to come. And I think we'll try bringing our bikes along, which will allow us more flexibility once we get to our destination.

p.s. The bus connection drops you right in front of the Barnes & Noble. It was like heaven. Someone else driving and being deposited at a bookstore. That way it didn't even matter when we accidentally missed the first return bus.:)

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