Monday, December 22, 2008

it's not the destination, it's the journey

On Sunday, we visited the newly renovated California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Here's how we got there:
  • Leave house at nine. Walk to the Rockridge BART station. (About 25 minutes, at a kid-friendly pace.)
  • 9:34 train to downtown San Francisco, Powell Street Station. (About 25 minutes travel time.)
  • Before leaving BART station, we get transfer for 25 cents off Muni fare.
  • On Market Street wait for 5 Fulton. (See photo.) Bus stops now feature a ticker tape-like feed from announcing when next bus will arrive. (It has been a long time since I was a regular Muni rider so, for all I know, could be old news. When we were in Sweden two years ago, bus stops there also indicated when the next bus would arrive and we cited that as yet another reason -- along with fantastic urban parks and liberal maternity leave policies -- why Scandinavia is superior to the US.)
  • #5 bus winds its way up through the Tenderloin, past Civic Center, through Hayes Valley, past the USF campus and eventually up Fulton Street which borders Golden Gate Park. We get off at 8th Street. (About 20 minutes)
  • 10 minute walk through the park. Arrive at Cal Academy at around 10:45, a mere one hour, forty-five minutes after departure.
  • Bonus: visitors to the Cal Academy who travel there by public transport get a $3 discount on the price of admission.
Oh, and did I mention it was raining the whole time?

Monday, November 24, 2008

grocery shopping

When people learn that we no longer have a car, the first thing they usually ask is: "how do you go grocery shopping?" Originally, we had thought we would do a more European thing and go shopping on an as-needed basis getting that evening's dinner at the market on the way home from work. Turns out, we still do the shopping weekly. The walk to Whole Foods is an eight easy blocks. I walk there with an empty jog stroller (much to the kids' mortification). The way home is slightly uphill and with the fully-loaded stroller -- having just devoted some 90 minutes of my precious time to a chore that I don't totally love -- I can sometimes be a tad crabby by the time I get back.

So far, we haven't had to do any rainy day shopping.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

City CarShare

When we do need a car, there's always City CarShare. The nearest "pod" is about six blocks from our house. I've used it to go to my monthly book group meeting and the odd soccer game. The Prius is kind of fun to drive.

What wasn't fun was the time we showed up for our reservation and the car was nowhere to be seen. Eventually, we were able to get a taxi (which City CarShare will pay for if we ever get around to submitting the receipt). We arrived at our dinner party about 45 minutes late.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Leah has a soccer game every Saturday and practice on Mondays. Keith bikes with Leah on the trailer bike to most games. One soccer coach we talked to said his best, fittest players were the ones who biked to the games.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


The fact is, we weren't really driving our car that much anyway (hence the low mileage).
  • I walk to work rain or shine.
  • Keith works at home.
  • The kids go to school two blocks away. (see photo)
  • We were tired of getting parking tickets on street sweeping days. ($36 x several times a year - ouch!)
  • We are only a few short blocks away from the Elmwood shopping district which includes a movie theater, post office, library, restaurants and more.
  • We are within walking distance to at least three supermarkets (the true test of this experiment will be how we cope with our weekly food shopping).

Thursday, October 2, 2008


An informal mass emailing to friends, a couple of postings on a local parents listserv, two weeks of Craig's List postings, several interested emails, four test-drives and a market crash of global proportions later and we finally sold the car. Our buyer got a pretty good deal -- way below the $9200 Blue Book value. They must have been thrilled to get a car with such low mileage (25K). We are now officially without a car.