the bus

I’m a big fan of appropriate transportation. I guess it started in Vancouver where the combination of traffic, sketchy left-hand turns, lack of parking, and involved graduated drivers license procedures combined with frequent busses, urban density and bike/pedestrian paths made it easy for me to put off getting a drivers license. In Eugene, the bus system wasn’t much to speak of, but that town is a bikers paradise. The biking is so easy, safe and convenient, a huge percentage of Eugene’s population use bikes as their primary source of transportation. I loved seeing whole families on bikes, or whole families on one bike! It wasn’t uncommon to see a tandem bike with a pedal trailer so the older kid could add some human power, and behind that a trailer for the little one(s) and groceries. Even pizza and packages came delivered on specialized courier bikes in Eugene. Ah Eugene, how I love you…
Here in Joshua Tree, we are not urban, we are rural. There is one bus route that serves our area. It goes east/west along the main hwy from Yucca Valley to 29 Palms. It goes once an hour for most of the day, except during the evening rush hour, when it doesn’t run at all. Seriously. The bus (route 1) stops at walmart, the courthouse, the hospital, the college, and the marine base. All you could ever need, right?
I love the bus. Really, I do. I get up early, ride my bike down to the highway along beautiful desert vistas, then listen to my music and stare out the window while the bus-driver concerns himself on getting me safely to school. In the evening after a long day that ends with algebra, I appreciate not being the one trying to see through a dirty windshield with the setting sun shining directly into my eyes.
Something that I love about Vancouver (and New York, DC, Berlin, London & Paris when I visited) is that you see all kinds of people on the bus/subway/whatever. Rich people, poor people, business people, students, old people, kids, people going to work, and people who’d been drinking all night. You hear people speaking in all languages, and everybody is just going about their life, getting where they need to go. Together. I love that.
Here on route 1 though, there’s pretty much one kind of person… “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses… The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me [and I’ll drive them to the court house for their child support hearing]”
I get sad. Today when the bus stopped at the hospital, a young mom and her newborn baby got on. She must have just had the baby and there was nobody who could drive her and her new child home from the hospital. Sometimes people who look pretty old or sick will get on the bus by themselves, still wearing their hospital bracelet. I know that kind of thing happens everywhere, but it makes me sad anyway.
My community college has had a 60% increase of enrollment this term, and our little route 1 bus has been over capacity hurtling along the highway every morning. Everyone says ‘they’ need to add some busses, and it really is ridiculous that there is no bus during rush hour, when people need it most. but to be honest, I’m not very hopeful. Not until some people with money start complaining.
Reading that last paragraph, I don’t like how it sounds. I feel like I should take this on rather than complaining. So the question is, what can I do to make the Morongo Basin transit system better?
Wouldn’t it be great if people here used the bus because it was easy, convenient and saved them money? Wouldn’t it be great if the bus ran every 15 minutes and connected to routes up to the park and along the main north/south streets? Wouldn’t it be great if people did their grocery shopping and commuted to work on the bus? That would be great! I should call my good friend the governater. I bet he could help. Maybe if I speak German he will be so charmed he has no choice but to secure the funds for a hugely expanded bus system. Then they’ll add a high-speed rail that goes straight from my house to the college in 3 minutes. Yes!

monday photo journal

inspired by nathen’s post, i took photo’s of pretty much everything i did today.
good morning bed head
5:50am. nice bed head

blurry sunrise

pilates video
now do some pilates in the dark, very quietly so as not to wake damian.

breakfast of champions
rice cereal, spinach, cilantro, flax oil, pumpkin seeds, toasted sesame oil and poached eggs. green tea. mmmm

water garden

get on bike
quiet road
7:45 i have the road to myself.
the fun hill
the fun hill

be good, little bike
be good, little bike, i’ll miss you!

backlit bus stop
fellow bus riders
bus riders

8:30 get to school, go to math class,

come home, do homework (english)

i forgot to take a picture of lunch. it was delicious- brown rice, salmon, broccoli

i didn’t take a picture in class because i was shy

homework checklist
color coded homework chart

tortilla soup
tortilla soup with turkey-cilantro meatballs

more homework (speech)

watch daily show with damian

bed. yay.

summer is here

the sunflowers are blooming, i’m eating garden fresh tomatoes and i wake up overheated and dehydrated at 6:30am. i guess that means summer is here. the squash is coming in and it looks like we’ll get a good crop of almonds and pomegranates. the apricot and plum trees gave us our first crop and it’s none too shabby. the grape vines also appear to be planning to bless us with their first fruit this year. the temperature is warm (106 today) but i really can’t complain given the weather that has been going around other parts of the world the past few weeks. floods, hurricanes, heck, it was 110 in virginia last week. plus they have the humidity to deal with. it’s nice and dry here. my northern friends tell me they fear spring forgot them. to that i say come on down for a sunny visit to dry out those chilled bones!

i’ve been getting a kick out of seeing some more bikes on the road and more folks on the bus. i’m assuming this is due to the inflating price of gas and not some sudden national awakening to a desire to care for the planet. either way i think it’s kinda cool. i heard on the radio hummers aren’t selling so gm is gonna quit making them. that’d be cool too.

no more flats

i just bought myself $90 worth of bicycle tires. that’s twice as much as i paid for my bike! but get this, i’ll never have a flat tire again! we have these evil plants out here called goat heads” or appropriately “puncture vine”
darlene says they used to flatten car tires in the old days. they are mean little things that hang out on the roads waiting for innocent bike commuters like me to come by so they can go for a joy ride at the expense of yet another inner tube.
for somebody who cares about biking and also cares about being on time and not being stranded in the middle of the desert every third ride, the situation was not acceptable.
the answer, i hope, came to me from this air-free tire site. yup, air-free. with any luck, i have faith that these tires will restore my faith and commitment to the most efficient form of transportation known to human kind
puncture vine
“puncture vine”

more on transportation

I don’t know about you all, but I’m rather freaked out about this global warming thing. I’m trying to find wonderful alternatives to driving that make everybody want to do the same. In Eugene, it was easy. Driving in Eugene is much less pleasant than biking, so every one who was able would use their bike much more than their car, just because all the bike paths and bike lanes got you where you were going faster, and feeling better. In Vancouver I found it much more appealing to walk and take the bus than face the insane traffic and pay $5 a gallon for gas. So do a lot of people.
So that’s great.
But I live in Joshua Tree. There is one bus line and the biking isn’t very appealing to most sane people. The bus goes 4 times a day. It’s not exactly streamline. So I’m thinking of starting a personal publicity campaign for
It’s a great site and if local folks used it, we could all save tons of money and greenhouse emissions. And that would make us feel good. We like feeling good.
I propose then, that if you are reading this and live in the High Desert, next time you want to go to the low desert or LA, you post something on and see if somebody wants to take you, or come along and split the gas. If that feels like too much, you could just check in with your friends to see if they might want to come along to get their errands done at the same time. See? Saving the world can be easy and fun and save you money.
Yeah, check it out.