Ready, Set, Go!

Friday was the last day in our apartment – everything out, nothing left with us except the little we will carry for the next 4+ months. A few things went into storage, but for the most part Lindsey and I cleaned house. The last 6 months living in that apartment were a pain in the ass anyway. First the bed bugs and the run-around from our landlord, then the roaches, all the construction noise, and we never did get that washer and drier we were promised…boy it felt good to leave!

Day 1: After staying with a friend in Seattle on Friday night, and barely squeezing in a last-minute trip to REI on Saturday morning, we met our friends at the ferry to Bremerton. Five people rode with us about 18 miles to Belfair State Park for a night of camping.  Another two friends and their dog met us there and we ate drank, toasted, and celebrated our friendships. The evening was all fun and it felt so great to get everyone together one last time.

 

Lunch stop at El Balcon, in Bremerton, WA – so good!

 

Day 2: This morning we woke and dilly-dallied while everyone slowly broke down camp and eventually said our final goodbyes. There were some tears and sad faces, but I don’t think it will really hit me for a few days. But I know it’s not goodbye – even though I don’t know where we will be going after our travels end I know we will be back to visit. These are some of my favorite people – I’m going to miss you!

 

Our friends came out for a night of camping to send us off!

After going our separate ways, Lindsey and I headed south towards Shelton, WA where we are staying with Donna, a Warm Showers host. Along the way we swam at Twanoh and ate a lunch of local produce and ice crea at Hunter Farms outside Union. The salad with smoked slamon was exactly what we needed after eating mostly junk and beer for the last 24 hours. Originally, we were going to spend the night with all our friends at Twanoh, which would have put us further from Seattle and about 45 miles to the next destination, Schafer State Park. But having stayed at Belfair (Twanoh was full) it would have been 60+ miles to Schafer. We reached out to Donna on Saturday and within just a few hours she confirmed we could spend Sunday night at her home.

Right now Lindsey and Donna are talking while I write this up. Donna made homemade bread and provided fresh greens, tomatoes, and peppers from her garden which Lindsey and I used to cook dinner. We swapped stories about travel, family, and all types of stuff – it is amazing how easy it is to find common ground and bond with complete strangers! I’m looking forward to meeting new folks and remind myself not just how beautiful this country is, but how great the people are and how lucky I am to live to have this opportunity!

Happy Riding!

 

 

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Proposition 1 Fails, Metro Riders Lose

Yesterday Seattle’s Proposition 1 failed to receive a majority of votes, meaning King County Metro will face severe cutbacks (the count is not yet final but a reversal is unlikely). Many routes will be eliminated or consolidated, and overall service levels will be reduced when buses are already overcrowded. As a whole, this cut means fewer options, less accessibility, and longer travel times. According to figures from Commute Seattle’s 2012 Center City Commuter Mode Split Survey Results 2012 bus travel accounted for over 35% of work commutes to Center City Seattle (loosely contained by I-90, Broadway, the Sound, and stretching into Uptown & Capitol Hill). This 17% cut is bad for business.

Opponents of Proposition 1 shot down the ballot with short-sighted and single-minded intent that will ultimately bring negative consequences to all Seattleites, regardless of their perspectives on Metro.For transit riders, cuts mean fewer buses, longer waits, and more uncomfortable rides as resources are stretched to new limits. For drivers, fewer buses will likely mean more cars as a segment of transit riders substitute private vehicles for  now unavailable or untimely transit trips. The already bad and at times terrible congestion will only increase.

Of course, the populations that will suffer most are the low-income, disabled, and elderly populations in which many rely on buses for transportation to work, medical facilities, and other essential services. Yes, the proposed car tab and sales tax increase were regressive – but reducing or even eliminating mobility for at-risk populations is even worse. For those who cite inefficiency, poor service, rising costs, and drivers’ wages – yes, these are legitimate discussions to be had. But to vote for massive cuts – that is a privilege not everyone can enjoy.

The cuts will begin to go into effect shortly and are expected to last at least until the fall. Until the state legislature fulfills its responsibility to fund transportation (2015, maybe) there is little Metro can do to sustain its current service levels. Meanwhile, Friends of Transit has proposed a small property tax increase to be placed on the November ballot. Even if such a measure were to pass, as I hope it will, it is going to be a long summer.

Video: bus riders express concern

West Seattle Blog: Proposition 1 first results

Kirotv: new initiative announced

MyNorthwest.com update (April 24, 6:30am)

Seattle Transit Blog

Commute Seattle 2012 report