mass transit

The good news is that with yesterday’s work commute my year-to-date mileage tally stands at 164.9, meaning in the first half of February I’ve already vastly improved on all of January’s slow start of 67 miles.

Trouble is I’m still three miles below where I should have been at the end January 31, which means that to get back on track I’ve gotta roll 170 miles these last couple weeks of February — a short month, too.

While that’s totally doable, it’s not like it’s the last month of the year and I have to all-or-nothing crank it out to catch up. So in the interest of common sense, patience and moderation I’m only going to aim to put another 80 miles away by February 28 and then work it out so I’m all balanced or even in the black by March 31.

Bonus props: I said I wasn’t going to put a work-commute-related mile on my truck this week and I didn’t. Besides biking yesterday, I mass-transitted Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and today, keeping practically a gas tank’s worth of 200 miles off my odometer.

Ed Begley Jr. would be proud.

And tomorrow I’ll be downtown at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion where I’ve been selected to participate in  L.A. Storytellers: A Collection Of Downtown Memories, a series of two workshops being put on by the Music Center and the Cornerstone Theatre Group. I have little idea what’s involved other than a lot of creativity in action.

If you want to read a 3,000-word draft written a few years ago (and dug out of the depths of my hard drive) of the downtown memory I’m contributing, I posted it here.

And of course, I’ll be biking down there.

Just a brief vidclip of the moment of truth at the beginning of the Blue Line when it cacophonously emerges from underground to street level near Staples Center.

A few days ago I voxed apoplectic about discovering a single busline — MTA No. 439 — that would get me from Union Station to its destination a couple long blocks away from my present temp gig in El Segundo, a far less disjointed journey than the multi-transferring one that involved the No. 2/4 bus, the Blue Line and the Green Line to get to the same exact point.

Seeing as how I fared so poorly utilizing mass transit last week (driving four days and riding one), I vowed that this week would be an all alt-commute week. None of this drive one day and ride the next crap. Instead, this Monday-to-Friday stretch won’t see me adding a single solitary work-travel mile to my trusty old truck.

So far so good. Sort of. Monday morning I smoothly bus-rail-railed it and 85 minutes and 60 pages of two-time Edgar award-winning T. Jefferson Parker’s totally engrossing “The Fallen” later I strolled into work a cool 15 minutes ahead of schedule.

It was the getting home part 8.5 hours later last night that left a lot to be desired and a lesson learned. Exiting at 5:15 I marched the half mile down Imperial Highway fully intent on rail-rail-busing it back home. But when I arrived at the Aviation Boulevard station I saw the No. 439 bus roll in to its slot and instead I what-the-hell’d it and decided to get a front row seat to witness if that particular line and I had a future together.

The short answer is: not so much…. mainly because it took me 2.5 hours to get to my front door. That’s right, I left the office at 5:15 p.m. and wasn’t standing at the front door of the house until 7:45 p.m. And as much as I’d like to say this was due to really crappy traffic or a breakdown or a sudden onslaught of frogs falling out of the sky, the fact is that give or take 10 minutes, that’s about as fast as that trip’s gonna get.

Even the amount of additional pages of “The Fallen” I put behind me weren’t any consolation.

And the busdriver was surprised I went the duration. As we approached Union Station she piped up and said that a quicker way for me to go would be to take the shuttle into the airport and catch the nonstop LAX Flyaway bus back to Union Station.

“It’s three bucks, but it’s much faster.” I thanked her for the info, declining to go into any detail about how this  was essentially just a scouting expedition.

Exiting at MTA Gateway Plaza I wasn’t done yet, because I still had to make my way up to Cesar E. Chavez and Broadway to catch the No. 2 for the home stretch, but at least coming through Union Station and across Olvera Street I had some interesting stuff to look at (and snap of course).

But man was I beat when I finally de-bused at Parkman and Sunset and made it those last few hundred steps home. Live and learn. Bus and burn.

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