Showing posts with label transportation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label transportation. Show all posts

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Reminiscing a Very Past Memory (maybe three)

          I don’t know how old my grandma was when she decided to get her driver’s license.  She had been born and raised in Utah, but was then living in San Francisco.  I don’t know if she had ever driven at the time she had resided in Utah and maybe didn’t feel the need in San Francisco as she could rely on public transportation.

          Grandpa Ralph was a retired bus driver and did know his way around. I am pretty sure that he had a car, and after he passed way, perhaps Grandma Mary had been missing that luxury of just driving somewhere and not having to wait for the bus or the streetcar or the BART or whatever. 

          I was too young to actually get all the logistics involved.  I just remember my own mom having mentioned it. I know that Grandma had purchased her own car but doubt that she had it for more than two years.  San Francisco has a lot of hills and narrow spaces. Why anybody would ever want to drive (or learn to drive) in San Francisco is beyond me.

          I vaguely remember teeny space off to the side that led the way to underground parking.  I probably would have missed it altogether except for I remember daddy driving through whenever we would visit – which wasn’t often, really.  My grandma seemed okay with the driving part, but was more than reluctant to try to park it.  I remember her telling my mom that she would stop it in the street and wave someone down and offer to pay the individual five dollars to park the car for her.  That always fascinated me as she lived in a very high crime neighborhood.  Yet every person that got behind the wheel would actually park it for her and no one just took it from her.

          My Uncle John had worked for the police force and lived in Martinez.  I remember taking the BART from the mission district to a location that was near to where he could pick me up and drive back to Martinez.  It was interesting to me that grandma had taken me to a BART location in San Francisco where the transportation was located underground which reminded me of a subway system.  And yet when I got to Lafayette (I think that was the name of the station where I got off for Uncle John) it was above ground like a monorail.

          I had gone to Martinez to go to church with John and his family and when he returned me to the station, his police radar had kicked in and as he told me where to get off, he warned me to stay underground.  The mission district was full of crime and he said under no circumstance was I to walk up to the street but that I had to wait for grandma to come and get me.

          I remember telling mom and she kind of made a face and laughed and said, “I’m sure he’s asking you to wait for this little old lady to come and protect you.”

          Grandma was a very friendly and optimistic person.  She didn’t seem to be bothered by much.  I remember my mom telling me that grandma’s residence had been broken into a least a couple of times – but it was while she was out.  I don’t know that she was ever physically attacked.  On the other hand, mom did have a good friend who had been attacked at Golden Gate Park.  I cannot find the original source, but there is mention of it here.

            I don't know what it is that triggered my memory of my grandma.  It still fascinates me when I think about it.

Monday, June 29, 2015

The best day, worst day and longest day scenario

         My brother-in-law’s sister had returned home from a lesson on perspective (I think) and posted a thought about her best and worst Christmas – both which had taken place in 2005. It was a great thought, and I asked permission to share it on my blog.  She said that her understanding was that it was up for Church publication and it would be best if I did not share.  I figured when it was published in Ensign magazine, I could refer to the link.  But I don’t see any evidence of publication thus far.

         I saved a copy to my own personal files, but seem to have misplaced the ubs or it somehow got deleted or something.  I’ll find it eventually.  Meanwhile I have my own thoughts about one of the longest days of my life (starting out with a trip to the Medford Temple and ending with waiting for Greyhound)

         June 5, 2015.  What a day.  Denise and I had actually left the motel room early because she had wanted to go through the Medford Temple.  It was her main insentive for having had driven the much shorter but scarier route.  She had gone online to learn how late the temple would be open on Thursday night.  She failed to look at the hours of operation on Friday.  It was closed.  The gates were locked.  We had driven all that way and couldn’t get inside.  The temple in Medford doesn’t open until 3:00 p.m.  That seemed like the latest time that Denise would have had to leave Roseburg and be on her way to Newport. We had missed going inside.

         I had had a rental car lined up, but had cancelled believing Roland’s understanding of having someone physically take me to the address.  My main reason for being in Oregon was to secure a rental that was waiting for us outside Roseburg.  I had called the property management several times to let them know I was coming.  I was hoping that Denise would be able to drop me off at the rental and I would be able to get a ride back to Century 21 to sign the papers. 

         They didn’t get any of my messages.  We weren’t communicating at all.  I would still have to have a rental car.  What was I thinking?  I called a car rental in Medford, but they did not have anything.  They referred me to their location in Roseburg.  I thought I was all set until they called me back asking for either a major (non-debit) card and/or an Oregon driver’s license – neither of which I had.  So they had to cancel my reservation.  So I called the agency I had initially booked with.  They couldn’t find a car for me until 7:30 that night.  Property management would have been closed by then.  And it didn’t give me enough hours of sunlight that it was worth renting a car for. I can’t drive in the dark.  I decided that I would just take a bus home (originally I had wanted the plane – but the bus was a third of the cost – plus I didn’t have a way to the airport)

         Payments had to be in form of Money Order or a Courtsey check from the bank.  Oh, great.  I have two checks from a credit union that have branches in Utah and Nevada – not in Oregon.  I was frantic.  I did have a bank account number that Corey had given me.  There was a branch not far from Century 21 that I went to – but I had to open my own account and ask Corey to work with me from Las Vegas.

         The procedure seemed long.  I had a deadline for getting back to Century 21 and barely made it.  The girl who assisted acted like she had been put out.  Really?  What about me?  I had traveled three days to get there.  And then they wouldn’t accept my check.  I had to open an account.  It had been very painful.  And the day was not close to over.  Little did I know that I wouldn’t be leaving Roseburg until 2:30 the following morning!

         The location of the bus pick/up had changed.  We drove around the same street three times before Denise pulled over and I went into a sevice station to ask.  Denise hated the GPS and Siri and will probably never use again.

         She pulled up to a service station and had me go inside to make certain I’d really be able to purchase a bus ticket.  If you read my earlier post, you may recall that the bus was scheduled to come at 5:58 – but I had been told that it would be running late.  I did not share that information with Denise or Roland however as I did not want them to worry. 

         As the sun was setting, I started crying, knowing (or thinking) that Denise was still on the road and has bad night vision like I do.  I spent the last 6 hours of the fifth at the service station waiting for the bus.
         As long and horrible as I believed the day had been, there was so much that I needed to feel grateful for:

A kind sister (who was planting flowers near the gate) opened the gate to let us inside and Denise took several pictures and the sister took pictures of Denise and I sitting in front of the temple. 

Denise stayed with me.  She sacrificed several hours of being on the road.  She drove me to Roseburg to get the key and then to back to Mayberry to look at the house – which really is a nice house by the way.

Denise drove me to the bank. She waited for me for over an hour (that is what it felt like anyway) and Corey waited in line in Las Vegas to assist me with my problem.  And it worked.  We had cut it very close bringing me back to Century 21 to sign papers. 

Denise waited for me.  I had called a cab so that she could be one her way. But she chose to stay with me and take me to the bus stop.  She did not get back on the road until after 5:00.  Heavenly Father blessed me big time through both Denise and Corey.

Though the bus had been late, I did not have to wait for it alone.  Jake kept me company for the first five hours – one hour after the station was closed. I also had the protection of Heavenly Father and a good book to read.

After an 8 ½ hour wait, I hadn’t missed the bus due to falling asleep or waiting on the wrong side of the building.  I was safe.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Watching Trains and Taking Pictures

            Jenna had taken an art class last week. We’ve been taking TRAX of course.  It’s funny about that form of transportation.  Streetcars could be seen in downtown Salt Lake back in the late 30s.  I don’t know when the city decided to rip all the rail lines out.  So many changes have taken place through the years.

For over half a century the streetcars and rails had been done away with in downtown Salt Lake. The garage that had been used to house the trolleys has since been turned into a shopping center.

Meanwhile the rails have been re-dotting the Salt Lake map for the last two decades. Some existed from when the Union Pacific was built (I think) but most have been added by Utah Transit Authority.

The Union Pacific Building gradually changed from cargo trains to Amtrax.  (I remember having gone to it a few times to meet my grandma) The building  is now the entrance to Gateway Mall.  

For the most part we had come home as soon as class was over, but on Thursday we had gone out to see my sister and her kids.  Roland works late on Thursdays and so I am never in a hurry to go home. 

Jenna and I had been reading a book and had neared the end.  I asked her if we could finish up at the library and turn the book in.  On our way to the train Jenna felt the need to play in the water and I felt the need to take pictures. 

Jenna took this picture of me in front of two dead trains.  That really is the end of the line – though the tracks are a couple of yards from where the train station is located.  Trains don’t generally go that far.  In fact, I hadn’t ever seen trains behind the sign until the past year or so.

            Trains had pulled into the station announcing, “End of the Line – as far as we go” and then would remain stopped for 15 minutes – which was kind of nice.  But now the train stays four minutes max before it pulls out again – which I think would make it more convenient for UTA – but as a passenger I think I preferred the 15 minute stopover.  But I do think it is less costly for UTA to just leave and not stop for 15 minutes.  But that is just a guess on my part.

            I have seen up to three cars on a blue line train (the first UTA train line that was created) but it has always been just two on the green line.  I have never seen three nor have I seen just only one – until shortly after the above picture was taken.

            Jenna was playing in the fountains and drenching herself while I watched the train cars pulling in and out of the station. I noticed a single car on the opposite side of where we usually catch it.  I thought since there was only one car that it would be pulled into the spot behind where I stood (where the dead trains were parked).

            A two car train pulled in – or perhaps there were three. I hadn’t counted.  I had told Jenna that the train was coming. Just then Roland called and offered to come get us – which thrilled Jenna to no end as it gave her more time to play in the water.  She should have been a mermaid.  
Because Roland said that he would come and meet us, we had no reason to walk to the train. I was surprised to see the longer of the two trains (the one we would have walked toward) pull around and head to where the dead trains were.  I heard a voice announce that the green line train would be departing and watched passengers board the single car before it departed out onto the street. 

            “How weird,” I thought. I’ve never seen a single car with passengers.  But than again, I don’t generally ride nor watch the trains that late.

            The two or three car train that had gone toward the dead trains was heading back to the station – this time with five cars attached.  I’ve never seen five cars attached to a UTA train – ever.  I tried to get a picture, but could not manage all five cars in just one frame.  

            Jenna had moved herself from the fountain stairs to the mechanical river – which was actually closer to the library where Roland said he would meet us.  The final dead car pulled out around about 8:00 or so.  We should have been home already.  I have never hung around Fairbourne that late and don’t know if it’s a regular routine or if I was seeing something out of the ordinary.  I know the trains run later than 8:00.  Perhaps as it was getting later, only single cars were needed and that the rest had been returned to the train yard or the garage.

            Perhaps on Monday we will collect Jenna’s cousins and take them to Fairbourne to play in the fountain for a while.  I will have to tell Kayla to put their swim wear on beneath their clothes so that they are somewhat dry for the return home.  That is generally when Gary goes to sleep.  And sometimes Anna, too.

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.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Rambling Thoughts

            Last week I purchased bus passes for Jenna and me as Minerva (our neighbor who has been taking Jenna to school) said that her son wanted to start riding the bus again.  I am okay either way.  Morning commute’s not so bad – at least going to school.  Road painting caused delays on the return.

            I was returning from the library the other day when a man at the bus stop insisted on talking to me.  I was far more interested in the book I was holding than in anything that he was saying and actually annoyed with his ignorance that I was trying to read.  He said he was looking for a job. Taking baths in the Jordan Canal is getting too cold.  He used to live in those apartments over there.  He still knows people. 

            He hadn’t shaved because he doesn’t have a razor.  He didn’t look homeless, but he didn’t seem dressed for hire. .I don’t know what kind of work he was looking for.  He was wearing camouflage coveralls.  They looked as if though they had been recently removed from a sales rack. 

            He soon tired of waiting for the bus, just as I tired of what I thought might be endless talk on his part.  Another guy got off the train and asked how soon the bus would come.  I told him that it shouldn’t be long any how UTA had just changed most all of the buss schedules (I mean, after all,  it has been a grand total of four months since the last change) to accommodate for meeting TRAX on schedule – yeah, like that’s really going to happen.  Perhaps if they schedule buses to run every ten minutes they will have a fighting chance.  But some of the routes are schedule to run only every thirty.  The train can always run on time, but I don’t think UTA has taken in consideration of UDOT traffic on the road. 

            When I mentioned the construction, the guy gets a less-than-thrilled look on his face and says, “Oh, yeah, I forgot about that.”

            How could you forget?  The orange barrels and polycones are a sign that spring has officially started – though there is usually 3-7 days of cold wet weather which takes place right after the cones are in place.

            The other night the wind was blowing hard.  I usually don’t hear it from my bedroom – but it was loud enough outside my bedroom door that I wondered what it was. 

After I got up, I could hear the wind blowing outside.  I saw flashes of lightening – what I thought was lightening anyway.  Turns out that it was really sparks from the power lines.  Our backyard neighbor mentioned it in Church.  He said the wind was blowing so hard that our tree was knocking into the power lines.  Fortunately it did not knock them down.  Today I called Rocky Mountain Power to make them aware. And hopefully they will be able to cut it down to where it’s either tamed or null (though I think I’d actually prefer the latter)

            Since we have moved to West Valley, I can only remember the power going out just once – well, just one time in our neighborhood.  I’ve been affected by West Valley Power outages when I was driving.  I’m evidently on a different transformer than the surrounding areas which have been affected.

When we lived in Kearns, it seemed we were without power almost as often as we had power – slight exaggeration perhaps.  But I remember not having power many a time.  I remember meeting in the cultural hall of the church because somebody thought it would let in the strongest amount of light.  Only one meeting was held.

            I have many thoughts in my head that remain unsorted.  Posts won’t write themselves and often I am too lazy to do it.  Or my thoughts just don’t seem to flow together and flow smoothly.  Take this post for instance.  Not flowing.  Jumbled.  Boring.  You don’t have to read it.  So why are you?

            After I walked Jenna to school I went to a few stores in search of Vick’s VapoSyrup because my throat has been dry the last couple of days, and VapSsyrup works.  I don’t recall where I even got it last time.  Three stores and none of them had even an empty space for it.  I need something that will work for me.  I need to feel better and stop being tired and get back on track.

Friday, April 4, 2014

A Very Small Amount of Water Transportation

If I had to gander a guess, I would say there are more forms of transportation in the water than on the land.  But I’m just guessing.

There are tugboats, canoes, kayaks, yachts, ships, motorboats, sail boats, house boats, ferry boats, water taxies, steam boats, rafts, jet skis, paddle boats, surf boards and submarines to name a few. 

Most of the water transportation that I’ve been on have been rides at amusement parks – rides that may very well work without the water, so I don’t guess they count – though the Water Skeeters at Lagoon and the Canoe Ride at Disneyland did require physical work unlike the tugboat kiddie ride or Tom Sawyers raft.

So, outside of the amusement park I have ridden a ferry – well a few of them rather.  But the ferry in British Columbia was quite different from the said ferry that takes passengers on a guided tour.  We (or dad, rather) actually drove our car onto the ferry in British Columbia and disembarked at another destination.

The thing I remember the most is being in a lock chamber – that is when water levels were raised or lowered to accommodate boat to fit with the water level on the other side.  That was interesting.

I have also been on a cruise ship.  It was when I was single and had money.  For the most part I was okay with it.  I recall only one night being sea sick.  I went with my mom and her mom on a princess liner cruise to Alaska.

Two of the side trips we took were going down Mendenhall River on a raft and enjoying the Misty Fjords in a float plane.  It was actually my birthday when we visited Misty Fjords. That was cool.  I don’t know many people who have been on a float plane during his or her lifetime.  Mom and I actually stepped out from the float plane after we had landed on the water, but grandma remained seated inside.

I’ve also been river rafting with the young men and young women down the Snake River. We had three rafts – one of mostly leaders, one of young men and one with young women.  Or perhaps there were only two rafts and one that had only one guide whose raft carried the food and supplies. We’d alternate after we would stop to camp.  On the last day one of our young women was shivering so hard that the boat would move without our having to paddle.

I had always thought that the sailboat looked like such a relaxing form of transportation.  It wasn’t! The hardest work I have ever encountered on water transportation was not due to a paddle, oar, or pedal.  I thought the water transportation demanding the most physical work was with the sail.  Perhaps the elements were off that day.  I don’t remember.  I have only gone sailing that one time and I remember being exhausted and not relaxed at all.

The young men and young woman had decided that they would like to spend a day on the lake – either water skiing or just riding in the boat.  We had almost the same amount of leaders as we did youth as those who drove the boats had brought their partners.  There ended up being two motor boats and a sail boat.  More than half the youth had gone with the motor boats and most of the young women were left with the sailboat – which held only three.  And since the only experienced sailor was Alan, he was always one of three, and thus the rest of us could go only two at a time – which made the experience filled with long waiting.

The girls felt gypped as the water activity ended before they were given the opportunity to ride in the motorized boats or water ski.  And so a make –up activity was allowed for those who hadn’t had the opportunity to ski and we took another week to venture out on the boat with just those young women who had missed out.

I don’t know how long we were out.  I think each of us had a turn to water ski or to be pulled in the tube.  I vaguely remember riding in the tube.  The boat moved only a little bit and then it stopped. I don’t know why we were stranded or how I got back into the boat. Either the driver miscalculated how much gas was in the boat or else a part came off or got wrecked or something.  We couldn’t move.

The highlight of the trip for the young women was not water skiing or being in the tube.  The highlight (for most of them) happened after we got stranded and a boat full of boy scouts offered to pull us into shore.  You would think that all of the boy scouts were heart throb celebrities from the reaction the girls had on their faces.  How exciting and memorable that make-up trip became for them.