Showing posts with label bus rides. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bus rides. Show all posts

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Greyhound or Fisher Price

Three weeks ago I was at a Roseburg service station waiting for a Greyhound bus.  I had purchased my ticket several hours earlier, but the bus was running late – so I was told by the worker who was frantically trying to wait on everyone.  He had us stand in two lines – those who were purchasing tickets for Greyhound and those who were patrons of the convenient store.

Fortunately for him there was another employee working the pumps.  Whoever had been assigned to be in the store with him had called in sick, had been fired, or quit without notice.  I guess he handled himself rather well.  Poor guy couldn’t wait until ten when he’d finally be able to turn off the lights and call it a night.

        There were probably about 15 people or so waiting for the bus going to Portland.  The man who had sold us our tickets said that the rumor was that the bus driver had had a nervous breakdown and had decided to walk out on whatever passengers happened to be on his bus.  I looked at it as kind of a good thing – after all I wouldn’t want to be stuck on a bus with a driver who was having a nervous breakdown.

        The time stamped on my ticket said June 5th @ 5:58 pm.  I was told the bus would be 4-5 hours late. Fortunately I had brought with me a book that Tony and Rochelle had given me for my birthday just the week before.  I had plenty of time to finish it.  Fortunately for me, I also had light.

        Most of the passengers had moved to one side of the building where they enjoyed their smokes – I don’t know how many or if they were all smoking.  I was waiting on the opposite side and so was a guy named Jake Wood (real name) In between reading, we talked for a bit.  I really enjoyed our conversation.

Jake lived in a different part of Roseburg (or so I had assumed) and had taken a taxi to the station and had purchased a ticket as far as Eugene.  He had planned to see a concert in Eugene with some of his buddies – and as the clock made its way around, Jake would say that there would still be time to see the second act if the bus would come right now.  Soon the concert was over, but he could still hang with his friends.  After 11:00 he decided to call it a night and announced that he decided just to walk home and shook my hand and excused himself.

I had seen other potential passengers come and go throughout the night.  There had been some fair or carnival going on across the street.  But it had even shut down by the time a bus pulled in at 12:20.  It was going to Los Angeles.  I had to wait another 2 hours and 10 minutes before the one to Portland finally showed.  I felt rather blessed that I had noticed it at all.  It had pulled up to the side where the smokers had been waiting.  I guess that’s why they had been waiting there.  Somebody in the group knew that it came on the side.

So I boarded the bus at 2:30 Saturday morning.  According to my ticket I’d be arriving in Salt Lake that same night.  I asked the driver about correcting the dates and times which he assured me I could do once I arrived in Portland.  Nobody else was there to catch the bus.  I wondered how long after Jake left had I been by myself – well, maybe not totally.  There was another man asleep on the benches when I left.  He said he was waiting for the store to open.

The bus was nice.  The seats were comfortable.  Most of the passengers were asleep.  It was about 4:30 when the sun started to peek in the sky.  It was almost 8:00 when we pulled into Portland.
I took my tickets to the counter to have a new agenda issued with the correct dates and times.  I was told I’d have another four hour wait.  At least the Portland station was nice.  It was an actual bus terminal.  I ventured outside and walked around the area – but not too far.  I did want something to eat, but my sense of direction is not that keen.  Plus my backpack felt like it weighed 80 pounds.  I should have not brought the amount of stuff that I did.

I called Beth to tell her I’d be in Portland until noon.  She felt bad that I hadn’t called sooner.  I didn’t know.  Until after I arrived, I had no idea how long I would be.  

I wish the bus I had ridden from Roseburg was the same one that would take me to Salt Lake.  It was actually going from Portland to Denver.  Its outward appearance didn’t seem different from any other bus, but the interior was definitely smaller.  Even a person with anorexia would not be able to walk down the aisle without touching the two aisle seats.  Not a sweet deal for anyone even slightly overweight.  I can guarantee you that.  It was awful.  It was worse than waiting 8 ½ hours at a service station in an unfamiliar city.  
I did not get back to Salt Lake until after 6:30 Sunday morning (keep in mind that Denise had dropped me off at the station on a Friday when there was still enough light in the sky to get her to Newport) and Roland and Jenna met me there and took me home – where I slept for about four hours before getting ready for church (one of the few times when the 1:00 – 4:00 block is not so bad)

I thought it would be my last day at that ward, and got up to express my good-byes.  I thought I’d be going to a family reunion the following week.  But that’s also for another post.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Where’s the BUS?

         Jenna and I would have made the 7:36 bus yesterday morning, if we hadn’t had to reenter the front door to get her hat and pocket my cell phone. I figured it would be less than a fifteen minute wait for the next one.  I was wrong! We stood in the cold for 25 minutes before we saw the 8:51 (finally!) – which passed us.  The 8:06  was right behind and stopped for us – and just about every stop between where we got on and where we needed to be dropped off. 

         I don’t know why the driver waited three to five minutes before turning around at the college.  Both buses were running late.   

         The  8:06 driver was a bit ticked off that he had to stop for everyone that the 7:51 driver had missed.  He seemed to take it out on the token machine as he kicked at it several times.  I don’t know if our little stop at the college was meant for him to throw a tantrum.

         Jenna made it to school on time – but with absolutely no time to spare.  Theoretically we should have been able to catch the next bus that was spaced fifteen minutes (supposedly) behind the one we took.  But I heard the first bell before she had even reached the field.

         As I was walking back to the main road to catch my return, I heard a bus go by and figured I had missed it and so was not worried about crossing the street in a deadly amount of time.  Normally I walk up to the light and back, but I have crossed against the light on occasion.  If the road is clear and I can see the bus will get to the stop before I do.

         As I headed towards the light, I could see a bus approaching, but knew that I wasn’t going to make it.  It was clear on the side going south, but too much traffic going north.  I wasn’t be able to cross.  I figured I’d have to wait at least another fifteen minutes.

         I could see that someone was at the stop waiting and yet the bus just flew by without even slowing.  She was still at the stop waiting when I arrived.  I asked why the bus had passed her.  She said it was out of service.  I looked at my phone clock.  Two more minutes – unless that out of service bus was the one we had really been waiting for.  And then it would be over fifteen minutes.

         The bus was about four minutes late.  I was surprised to see that it was a ski bus.  I’ve ridden on ski buses when I’ve gone out to my sister’s – and the route is not as popular.  But not for this main road!  The only time I’ve seen ski buses used on the main road we take is when drivers are in training and it’s always been an additional bus – never a replacement bus.

         I think the driver was the same as the one who had passed Jenna and me less than an hour before.  Perhaps the out-of-service bus is the one he’d been driving initially.  Maybe there was something wrong with it and the ski bus was the closest available that could be sent to trade.  I don’t know.  It’s only speculation.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Rambling Thoughts, Changes and Observations

Each morning as Jenna and I walk to the bus, we notice the sprinklers watering the lush green grass on the corner   
and I think how nice it would be to have lush green grass.

Never in my life has the yard outside of whatever house I’ve lived in, has there been lush green grass inviting my bare feet to run through it.

For the most part, if ever I have been brave enough to go barefooted, my feet scream at me and remind me that there are dry patches among the green but still non-lush.

I find that when I just wear sandals outside of the last two houses I have lived, the thorns and stickweed chock the life out of whatever we’d like to be growing. 
They scratch at my feet and my legs and imbed themselves
 into the soles of my shoes and often hitch rides into the house.

We did not water this year.  Water pressure is down 
devoting four hours a day to my less than promising lawn was not a priority.  Rather a waste of time
 (and water)

Our yard actually does not much worse than it has the years we have tried to nurture.

I ride the bus.
I notice many buses seem to be coming out of retirement.
They’re not all old relics.  But I was on one the other day that had the vinyl blue seat
The same vinyl seats I remember from the first time I had ever taken the bus.
But that was over 30 years ago.  Surely it’s not that old.

But the seats seemed to be closer to the floor
As my knees seemed more bent and up in my face somehow
And there was no legroom – or perhaps it just seemed that way because the seats are so close to the floor.
Sometimes those relics are used for training purposes. 
I have been a passenger on buses in which the driver is still training.
I wonder how long it takes to train before they get to be out on their own.

UTA offers more than 100 routes.  I don’t know how many buses are needed for each route. 
I would guess more than a thousand buses. 
Some have been in recent crashes.
Some have just given out for whatever reason.
That’s a lot of buses – not to mention the flex buses and ski buses and whatever else.

When we got to the school, Jenna made some comment about what she’s learning
I don’t remember what it was, but I questioned it and compared to my own upbringing.
“It’s a different century mom.”
She’s right.  Both my mom and I had gone to school in the 20th century.
Jenna wasn’t even born until the 21st. 
Not the way she meant it, but it made me think.
We really are going two schools in two different centuries

I’ve brainstormed thoughts for a while now. 
But I either couldn’t sit down to form sentences
Or was just too tired to.
I have lacked motivation.
The weather is changing.
I wear a jacket to the bus stop
and when we walk to the school
But it usually comes off before I cross the street
to catch the return bus home
I prefer the cool weather.
I don’t like it when it’s hot.
I haven’t melted yet.
That’s something.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Riding Utah Transit Authority

From my childhood, I remember seeing and hearing trains.  I remember being excited whenever a train would pass on the road and we would have to stop and wait for it.  My brother, Patrick, and I would often count how many cars were on each train.  My parents didn’t seem to be as excited whenever the arms of the railroad came down. A child’s perspective is so much different than that of an adult.

 Mostly what we saw were cargo trains.  There were few encounters with passenger trains.   My grandma who lived in San Francisco would sometimes take the train.  We would go to pick her up downtown at the train station.  

 Patrick and I had also ridden on a train from Utah to Colorado.   We’d gone with my mom and my other grandma. I thought that it was exciting!  Especially going through tunnels.  And there were some LOOONNNGGG tunnels. 

As I got older, I don’t recall having seen or heard trains much anymore – and I don’t think it’s because I tuned them out.  I think, after a while, the trains didn’t run through our county like they used to. Salt Lake saw a lot of dead railroads. At least that’s my opinion.

It appears to me that UTA decided to make good use of the existing rails and add to them and build another form of transportation in addition to the bus.  The Blue Line train was up and running in 1999.  The public was given the opportunity to ride the new form of transportation for free.  Lines were long – but it was somewhat thrilling to be able to ride the train just to see where it went.  But we were allowed to go in only one direction.  Once we reached the end of the line, we either had to get back in line for the return or find another way.

I remember how crowded it was during the Christmas season.  All of the seats were full.  People were standing in the isles and hanging on.  The state street buses became deserted.  I remember my sister, Kayla and I had taken the train downtown, but decided we would bus it back as the train was so crowded.  I counted a total of five passengers the entire way from downtown to our street.  I don’t think it took any longer than the train did as I think the bus had only stopped twice between where Kayla and I had got on to the time we had gotten off.  I almost preferred the bus.


When we walked through the doors of the blue line train (though I don’t remember it being called blue line at the time) we had to walk up some stairs to get to the seats.  Ramps were located at each stop for the passengers in wheelchairs.  They would have to go to the top of the ramp to be let into the bus and avoid the stairs. 

TRAX didn't exist before Corey left for his mission.  I don't know how long it had been up and running before he returned.  I remember we were headed toward Patrick and Sunny's house.  Corey was driving when the arms came down.

"Oh, great!" he commented.
"It's not that bad." I replied. "The train is only two or three cars long.  It's not a big deal." Not like the cargo trains my dad had waited for.

It wasn’t until ten years later that the green line and red line were up and running.

Red Line goes from Daybreak – a point in South Jordan – to the University of Utah (which part was built in 2001 – but just from downtown at that time) and the Green Line (the one I use most) goes from West Valley to the Airport (Salt Lake International) and the Blue line is now extended out to Draper.

I take the train on occasion.  Mostly I’ve gone on the red line or green line, but on occasion have switched to the blue line (that is the one I needed when mom was still living in Midvale; I’ve also used the blue line to get to Sunny’s house and the post office) but have gotten quite spoiled with the other two lines as they don’t require ramps or stairs.  You walk in and sit down.  There is a ramp that folds out for those that need it.  I prefer not having to walk up the stairs to get to my seat.

I was told that on Saturdays the trains with the stairs are not used – that even the blue line passengers have the opportunity of using the trains that don’t require ramps and are all one level. 

I now prefer the train to the bus, but the train still does not go everywhere that the bus does.  But transportation in Utah has definitely improved over what it used to be.  And I am becoming more familiar with making connections and finding my way around.  I’m grateful to the improvements that have been made and continue.

UTA is offering a summer pass for the youth between 5 and 17.  Wish they had one for adults. Jenna has the option of using the front runner from what I understand.  I personally have never used it.  And I don’t know when we’ll get around to it.  I plan to spend the majority of our summer commuting to my sister’s house.  Kayla is expecting her third child in August.  It’s been a hard pregnancy for her and trying to keep her other two (almost four and two) in addition to pregnancy sickness IN SUMMER is a challenge and I would like to help ease some of that if I’m able.

Tonight UTA is sponsoring a bike bonanza which Jenna would like to attend.  As of now, I don't know if we'll be going or not.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

First Snow

         The first two days of December were rather bleak and cold – and I seemed to possess a personality to match the bitterness.  For that I am sorry.  I haven’t been feeling well this morning.  In addition I think the weather has been making me feel somewhat arthritic – although the size of my person has not been a tremendous help

      It had started snowing sometime between 1:30 and 3:00 this morning and hasn’t stopped.  I gave Jenna the option of taking an earlier bus in case they were running late.  She opted for the earlier route which was running behind – as the well as the one behind that we normally take.  I know because it passed me as I was waiting for my return.

         Going southbound was not an issue this morning.  Unfortunately northbound seems to be getting slower – thus when they get to the end of the line and make their return, all of the southbound busses will be behind also. 

So while we were able to get Jenna to school on time (actually long before it started) the return home didn’t save much in the way of time before.  I got home only five or ten minutes sooner than usual.  I’m wondering how early I should be leaving the house today so that she doesn’t freak out if I’m not there due to busses running behind. Don’t imagine we will be getting home until after dark.  Oh, joy!  At least the snow does provide some shine to it.

I just heard the weather forecast for falling snow between 3:00 and 5:00 tonight.  Does this reporter not have a window to see it is already taking place?  I wonder if he meant heavier snow.  I really don’t see the purpose for snow in the valley.  I hope the tremendous outpour he was talking about will take place in the mountains and not on the floor.  Snow’s pretty when it’s fresh, but the city can make it ugly rather quickly. Snow’s not welcome! (on our roads and sidewalks I mean)

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

East and West and Harold

Ever since I have given up driving, I haven’t made the time to go out and see Harold – mom’s boyfriend of five months or so – though I have written to him.  I sent the last letter on the first.  He just got it yesterday.

Jenna happened to be off on Friday, and I found a way on public transportation that would get us close to Alta Ridge.  But our pass expired on the 31st and I wouldn’t be able to get a new one until Roland got paid.  Jenna suggested that we go visit him after I picked her up from school on Thursday – but I knew that unless Roland was willing to pick us up from Alta Ridge that we would never make it home before him.  He told us to wait on our visiting Harold.

It was really too bad as the weather was so awesome on the 31st.  It was snowing when we left the house yesterday.  Jenna and I both wore our snow boots, It turns out we really didn’t need them.

By the time I left Jenna at her school it had stopped snowing and the sun was showing its brightness.  I put my sunglasses on and headed towards the bus stop where I got off.  But I continued in the same direction.

I took the bus to the train station and got off at another to board a bus that would take me to the east side.  I grew up on the east side and so recognized all of the locations we passed.  I really do miss that area and the familiarities that I had become accustomed to over the years.

The distance from the bus stop to Alta Ridge is not a bad walk in awesome weather – I bet it’s a bear in foul weather though.  Desa – the assisted living activities director- takes the bus to work on a daily basis.  She knows what routes will get her where and shared information on two different methods.

I was talking to Harold when his mail was delivered.  That’s how I know he received it yesterday.  I think he is going bonkers living there as he is easily annoyed by the elderly–childish behavior and having to repeat things as only a few of them can retain information for more than a minute. Mom would tend to repeat herself, but she took him on journeys through her descriptions – I guess.  He said that she had taken him to the house where she used to live.  I knew that wasn’t right and couldn’t believe he was telling me that.
He said that she had been excited to show him her bedroom as she was really proud of it.  He said he wasn’t impressed and that somebody had really let the place go – especially the yard.  I told him that it was not the same house where I had taken her to for the last time in January – the house I grew up in.  For my niece and her husband had been living there and had actually taken better care of it than she had. 

I told him that I didn’t know what he was talking about.  Maybe he had a dream and hasn’t been able to differentiate between having dreamed it and having it taken place for real.  I know for a fact that it wasn’t real.  Mom had a lousy sense of direction – even before the dementia.  And really, how would they have gotten out anyway?  Or gotten to where the house supposedly was? He didn’t have an explanation for that part.

After my visit, I thought I would give Desa’s alternative route a try, but then realized that I was hungry.  And I had to cross the street by Arby’s if I went back the way I came. And it just so happened to be Roland’s lunch time and he is not that far from Alta Ridge.  So I called him.

He was excited and really wanted to be with me – said he’d come pick me up, but he was on the phone with a student FOREVER.  Seriously. Three buses had come and gone.  I should have just crossed the street after purchasing my sandwich instead of returning for another sandwich and two drinks – one of which I ended up throwing away.  Not to mention that I had waited for over an hour. I really should have known better. I definitely will next time.

So by the time I was almost home, Roland was STILL on the phone (same student) and I was just shaking my head.  By the time I returned home I had less than an hour before I had to leave to get Jenna – but my socks kept on sliding off my feet and into my boots (My feet are between sock sizes – Jenna’s fit, but they’re tight.  The heels of “ladies” socks are usually always longer than my own.  They never fit right – and so I often have all this extra fabric in my shoes) and so I did want to change into sneakers before I continued on my journey. 

The bus comes every half hour and so I can arrive at Jenna’s school a half hour early or ten minutes late.  Last month I went for the half hour early.  That actually annoyed Jenna who has always preferred dawdling and specifically asked me yesterday morning: “Can you please take the bus that gets you there ten minutes late?”  
Okay then.  No more waiting for her for 30 – 40 minutes in the cold.  I can deal with it.  But Roland actually beat us home today.  Don’t know how well that’s going to work out.  I think I’m just going to have to crock pot dinner each day.

It feels like I’d spent most of the day on the bus or the train or waiting.  It didn’t seem like it had been that long.  Though it might have felt longer had I not been reading.  I may not have been the wisest with my time but overall I thought it was a really nice day.  And though I felt like I had wasted both time and money waiting for Roland and that Roland too, was disappointed about not having made the opportunity to see me, Harold and Desa had both expressed gratitude.  I guess it’s all just what I wish to focus on.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Ahead of Schedule

When I was younger there were two bus routes that I could catch on State Street near my mom's house.  The #7 to Highland or the #5 to Parley's way.  One of them went all the way to the zoo - but I don't know which one.

When I was working downtown, the route names or destinations had changed.  There were four busses that ran along State Street between 6400 and 100 South.  I could catch the 25 Midvale or the 22 West Sandy where I had caught the two mentioned in the first paragraph.  Or I could walk over to the mall to catch the 24 East Sandy or 12 Murray.  It wasn't that big of a deal to walk from 6400 to my mom's house.  And even though 25 and 22 were closer, I preferred the coming home on the 24 only because I didn't have to cross the street to go back home.

Thus far Jenna and I have been fortunate not to have to cross the street when we have ridden to school.  We even have the option of catching a bus near the school without having to cross the street. We do have to cross a busy street near our house however.  Don’t like that much.  And then there is the walking.

It’s too bad that we can’t take Highness with us.  I think he would enjoy the walks – but alas – no dogs allowed.  And there is no way that Highness would ever pass for a service dog.  What a hilarious thought.

So this morning we left the house earlier than on Tuesday (Roland was able to take her yesterday – and occasionally she may get a ride from Biff in the future – depending on how well he takes care of the car, or if it will pass inspection . . .)

I don’t know why three out of four of my kids find it necessary to be to the school 30 to 60 minutes before the first bell rings.  But Jenna really does get upset if she hasn’t been given over twenty minutes to play before line up.  When there are snow days and children are kept inside – guess who will go out to the playground if given a choice?

We stood between buses – and ended up taking the same one we had on Tuesday – so it did not get her to school any earlier.  But I am already at the bus for the return home when the first bell rings.

Right now the walk from the bus stop to the school is comfortable.  The air is not too hot. Not too cold.  Perhaps a little cool in the morning – but I would rather have the coolness (or the cold even) rather than scorching rays of the sun.  Jenna’s probably the opposite.  But for me it is perfect weather right now.

Anyway, the bus did come early.  Two stops later the bus doors opened while the driver and passengers waited.  Jenna asked why this bus wasn’t moving.  “It’s ahead of schedule” which is a rare thing – or at least it was before TRAX. 


 All bus routes have changed – due to construction – do to modernization and growth.  I think that they all go to TRAX at some point along their route.  But I don’t know.  Perhaps I’ll become more familiar with the bus system as I go, but for now I am very limited in my knowledge.

The stop where Jenna and I have been getting off and on near her school is in front of an assisted living facility – the first one I had looked into when my brothers were both in denial that mom would need to be moved so soon.  It was the least expensive of all those we had looked at.  But it did not have memory care.  Mom could have escaped from there quite easily.

I was told that the stop will be eliminated.  Right now the bus actually goes through SLCC   – but after December it will remain on Redwood and no longer through the campus.  Though I have seen students get off and on.  Perhaps it’s just not popular enough?  I don’t know.  

I was going to suggest we try another option when I pick her up this afternoon.  But as we will have to do it three months from now, I suppose there’s no hurry.  We’ll try the alternate soon enough.  In the snow. Hey, but at least we’re both getting much needed exercise. And it seems like more quality time than having her jabber on endlessly while I am trying to concentrate on the road.

Perhaps one day when I am gone, she will look back and remember this time.  And perhaps it will be more meaningful to her than it is right now.