Tag Archive | Transportation Alternatives

Bye Bye, Betsey

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I sold my car today. She is still beautiful after all these years. She bears some scars. And the old ticker isn’t as reliable as it used to be, but hopefully she’s got a few good years left in her new home. I kissed her on the steering wheel, told her I loved her and reminded her to be good before we parted for the last time in the Walgreens parking lot this afternoon.

Last night we had our last substantial drive from the auto shop to Hudson’s for one last barbecue sandwich. Then down I-20 from Douglasville to Atlanta listening to Judas Priest and traveling a reasonable rate of speed, as opposed to the 80 to 90 mph that I frequently drive that stretch through West End. (Most fun stretch of driving road in the city!) After we got home, I cleaned out everything that had accumulated inside her. It was like a time capsule.

Betsey and I have traveled a long road together these past ten years. My life has done almost a 360 since I first got her at the now defunct Walker-Harris Chrysler in Covington. I bought her new and in my name in June of 2003 – my first new car purchase. I was still married – the eighth year.

Since then my dad died, I had an affair, I left my husband, I got divorced, I drank too much, I began and ended a five year relationship, I started a new job, I retired from softball, I got sober, I started running, I started back to church, I got depressed and anxious, I got help, I got better, I got hope, I bought a bike.

And oh the things Betsey and I experienced together over the last ten years!

  • We sat under Oxford’s magnificent trees and ate lunch and read books and took naps.
  • We were rear-ended at a light by an illegal immigrant who wound up being deported due to the accident.
  • We went to the doctor for appointments about fertility.
  • We listened to the first reports of a “small plane” flying into the World Trade Center and later Betsey listened as I cried out loud, “WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON???” as we sat in the parking lot of Everybody’s Pizza at Emory and heard a plane had flown into the Pentagon.
  • We drove to every softball field in North Georgia – multiple times.
  • We took everything of mine I could get out of the house and from Stone Mountain to Conyers in five trips the day I left my husband.
  • We somehow never got a DUI.
  • We drove to Athens to see my nephew graduate.
  • We had a guy throw up in the back seat after a crazy-fun night in Macon seeing Blackberry Smoke.
  • I made out in her backseat with a very sweet boy on a cold, rainy foggy afternoon.
  • We have had someone naked in the backseat. (Had, not HAD….)
  • We listened to NPR and Neal Boortz and Z93 and DAVE-FM and 95.5 The Beat and V103.
  • We listened to Visit Venus and Massive Attack and Ben Folds and Andy Irwin and DJ Swingsett and Beanfield and Zero 7.
  • We listened to the Braves and the Falcons and the Hawks and the Bulldogs. (And on good nights, maybe the Reds or the Cardinals or the Zephyrs….)
  • We broke down on Stone Mountain-Lithonia Road, in the parking lot of Pierce Hall, in the parking lot at Pets are People Too, and in my mom’s driveway.
  • We drove to Ellijay for a romantic weekend.
  • We drove 100 mph on I-20.
  • We carried groceries and desserts and dogs and cats and Christmas presents and football equipment and softball gear.
  • We loved and depended on each other.

Betsey and I had some final moments together today. I gassed her up with premium. I took her for a wash and vacuum. We took a last trip to Krispy Kreme and Publix. And finally, we went to the bike store where she very graciously carried my new bike home. (In my mind, this is like asking your wife to go pick up your new girlfriend that you’re about to leave her for.)

At 2:00 this afternoon, she went home with a nice couple who I know will love her. I hope she’s good to them too!

So now the grand experiment really begins. For the next six months I’m going to try living without a car. I’ll walk, use MARTA, bike or use ZipCar. I’m excited to see what lies ahead!

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Got No Car – Transportation Alternatives: Walking

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Today I kicked off what I intend to be a six month experiment in living without a car. I decided the most appropriate way to begin was the simplest and cheapest. I walked the mile and half to work and back.

I like walking. It’s the perfect freedom for an introvert. No traffic. (Except stopping for lights to change so you can cross the street.) You’re free to listen to your music or NPR as you walk, or just listen to your own thoughts.

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I also adore the way walking allows you to see and experience the community in ways you can’t when you’re closed up in a car. You can enjoy public art. You can wonder how somebody lost that much of a weave on the sidewalk. You can read the signs in front of theaters. You can fret about what you just stepped in. You can watch the city progress. And you can engage with people. I think one reason I have the small feel I do for the homeless and poor community is because I spend so much time on foot around the city that I just see a lot more of it than most people do.

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Walking is also great exercise. It felt really nice to get a little fresh air and let my mind wander on the way to work. I was wide awake and feeling good by the time I got to the office. And the hour round trip walk burns 200 calories. That’s a Pop Tart or 2/3 of a Snicker’s bar or a can of Coke.

The 30 minutes it took to get to work was the same as my normal commute on the MARTA train. If I drive from home, which I do rarely if I have to go to the dentist or something, takes 10 minutes.

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The only real drawback to walking is the weather. If it’s too cold or rainy, I’d prefer to ride the train. I suppose the other concern would be how far it’s really practical to walk someplace and at what point do you opt for another form of transportation.

All in all, walking gets 4 out of 5 stars!

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Results of Experiment 1 – Walking

Pros: Free, Healthy, Independent, Community Engagement, Relaxing
Cons: Can be hampered by weather and a challenge due to distance.