March 24, 2010

The Car Chronicles

So about that being carless when I moved to California thing?

Things started out great.  I had a 12 mile commute to work that took some getting used to, but I really started to enjoy the cool, crisp mornings and the mellow, calming rides home after work.  After a long day, it was so relaxing.  And being a Minnesota girl, this weather was just too good to be true, and I was more than willing to spend my mornings and evenings commuting.  If for some reason I wasn't up for the ride, the bus was always a fairly convenient alternative.  As described in this post, I really was falling in love with the commuting lifestyle, and I became a lot more serious about sticking with it...I even vowed to stop using Pete's truck for things like grocery shopping.  By the end of November, I was enjoying biking so much, that Pete and I spent a week biking 400 miles up mountains, across the desert, around a sea...and back.  It was one of the best experiences of my life and it made me even more passionate about being on my bike.

I'm not entirely sure where my turning point was, it may have started with all of the rain we got, but by January biking started to lose it's fun.  Commuting was no longer enjoyable.  It became a chore.  Something I had to do everyday.  I described the pros and cons of being without a car here.  However, finding and buying a car is a pain, especially when you don't know much about cars and have never done it before, so I pedaled on, looking here and there every once in a while.

Things really got bad about a month ago.  I mean REALLY bad.  Drivers appeared to get ridiculously dumb, careless, and evil.  I had a lot of close-calls, and I started getting severe road rage.  This is not good when you're on a bike.  I wanted to plow people over...who were in cars...going fast.  Get the picture?  It got so bad, that commuting made me want to cry, and I wanted nothing to do with it.  From then on, I would take the bus.  I guess you could say I hit the "wall?"

In the midst of my commuting mid-life crisis, I got an email from an angel named "My Dad" (my mom's gonna love that one).  He asked me if I would like to buy his 2000 Jetta for $2k.  Umm...YES.  That decision took about a minute.  Best day of my life!  Long story short, the Jetta made it from Houston to Huntington Beach via some plane rides and road trips, and my life is already better.

Since I retrieved my car almost 2 weeks ago, I've been able to get out and do so many more things without having to rely on Pete or a bus or my own two legs.  One nice thing is being able to sleep more in the morning because my travel time is about 40 min less, and my nights seem longer for the same reason.  Yay more time to run!  I was also able to go drive to San Diego for a night, a new place to do my 20 mile run and cheer on everyone at the LA marathon!  I also signed up for another race in the Santa Monica Mountains next weekend...BECAUSE I CAN DRIVE THERE...and because it sounds fun :)

All of the biking I did was a great experience, but after 9 months, I learned a completely carless lifestyle is not for me, at least not while I'm living here.  Now that I have been driving for a while, the idea of biking to work again is actually kind of exciting and I plan to start commuting a few days a week soon.  There's definitely a difference between having to bike to work, and wanting to bike to work.  It's nice to finally have that option.

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