Footloose and Metro Free

I have been living car free since 2004, when I joined the Peace Corps. I sold my car and all of my things, packed my bags, and went on a grand adventure. Well, the car part is true enough.

When I moved to the nation’s capital in 2007, I decided that I would remain car free. Since then, I have I almost exclusively relied on Metro and Metro Bus to get me to where I need to go. I also have a Zipcar membership, a really awesome boyfriend with a car, my two feet, and now a Capital Bikeshare membership to help get me through the city. 

I have been frustrated with Metro since I moved down to DC. It is expensive, the trains randomly break down, the trains are crowded and get off loaded, they lack AC in the summer, the escalators at the stations are usually broken, and the weekends are a nightmare with single tracking, closed stations, and poor communication. The bus system is slightly better because the buses are more-or-less on time, there are usually seats and the AC almost always works. However, the buses are subject to DC traffic jams, and like Metro, weekends are hell. Buses run every 30 minutes if they are even running.  

Last Thursday was the last straw. A Metro ride that should have taken me 15 minutes lasted almost an hour and a half. I waited 20 minutes for a train, the train stopped at Dupont Circle for 20 minutes because of single tracking, then all Metro communications went down for 30 minutes, another 10 minute wait for single tracking and finally the 15 minute trip to my stop. Why didn’t I walk? Because it was after midnight, and a lone female walking 1.5 miles would make me the perfect target for armed robberies that are taking place in my neighborhood. Sadly, waiting was safer – I had to endure. 

But it doesn’t mean I will be Metro’s victim. I decided to be Metro free for the entire weekend. Fortunately, Friday I was off from work which made the entire idea more plausible. I hung around my neighborhood and did not venture too far on Friday. On Saturday, my boyfriend walked 1.5 miles to dinner and back, whereas we would normally have taken the bus.

Today was the real test. I met some friends in Clarendon (almost 7 miles away), and I walked/biked home. Granted, the trip took 2.5 hours, but I got my exercise in, I got to chat with a good friend, and I got to practice my biking skills. 2.5 hours well worth it. 😀

Verdict – I liked being Metro free. Stay tuned for more Metro free weekends! 

How do you get around your town?



Weekend of Firsts

I had a very busy weekend, and one filled with many firsts for me. Most are great, some are not so great. Here is a rundown of my first-filled adventure:

1. First time I had a cat diagnosed with renal failure

This is the saddest of my firsts. Two weeks ago I adopted a senior cat, Bootsie, from the DC Humane Society. Bootsie, a 12-year old declawed Tabby, had trouble walking and was originally thought to be a diabetic. I knew she was the cat for me when I met her – she was so sweet and cuddly. Who else would adopt such a cutie older cat?! After her check-up with the vet, it was determined she was in the early stages of having renal (kidney) failure. I have never had a cat with this disease before, and after a quick search online, it seems like it will be a battle. Bootsie seems just like her newly adopted mom – a fighter. Bootsie and her "doggie stairs" because she cannot jump on the bed

Bootsie and her “doggie stairs.” I had to get them for her because she cannot jump onto the bed.

2. First Clothing Swap

I was able to talk my friend Megan into going to a swap event in DC. We each had to pay $10 and bring 5 or more articles of clothing. I brought 10! You drop off the clothing, and then an hour (and a drink later) you get to go through the store and pick up whatever you want! It is like a clothing exchange – and it was fun. I made out with a Calvin Klein pea coat, two skirts, a glittery blazer, a top and a funky scarf. Not too bad. Unfortunately, one of the skirts doesn’t fit – but that is OK – more to swap next time!

3. First time helping to coordinate a Scavenger Hunt

The Penn State alumni chapter in DC hosted a fundraiser for RAINN. I was on the planning committee, and it was a blast. We had 10 teams travel across DC finding items, answering clues, and taking pictures of the most random stuff. I was in charge of evaluating the pictures – and they were priceless. People next to license plates, standing with Occupy DC protesters, in bars and hotels, near monuments – awesome. I had a blast helping out and hope to be a part of it again next year! I do not know how much we made for RAINN, but it was a serious chunk of change – which also made me happy! WE ARE…

4. First roundtrip Capital Bikeshare commute

I hate DC’s metro. I hate it so much that I am trying alternatives to get around DC. I decided to get a capital bikeshare membership ($75/year) and try my hand at biking around DC.

The pros: (1) There are over 1,000 bikes that I can pick up and drop off. (2) DC is becoming a bike friendly city. (3) I can get where I need to go faster, and not waste money on metro.

The cons: (1) I am terrified of sharing the road with cars. (2) DC is very hilly and the bikeshare bikes are very heavy. (3) Did I mention that I was terrified to bike on the same road as DC drivers??

First commute was a success. I will talk more about this transport in the future. 😀

Apart from my sad news with Bootsie, the weekend was a success.

Did you have any firsts this weekend?