Tonight’s Commute

by Michelle Lasley

Michelle Lasley is a mother, wife in Pacific Northwest learning to balance green dreams with budget realities.

May 4, 2011

Our commute tonight was derailed. Literally. This afternoon a train carrying several 28,000 gallon tankers of ethanol was derailed on highway 30, avoiding explosion, but starting a massive fire. The highway was closed for several miles, which meant Levi and I needed to find an alternate route.

We’ve been driving the Pontiac. Generally, the Pontiac gets better gas mileage than the Bravada (except with how I drive, which is I dunno – normal?!). The Pontiac is available while my husband bikes to work. This should be a win-win for everyone. Except that the Pontiac has a short history of overheating on me.

Okay, says my husband, it was broken parts! We replaced those parts (heater core and radiator hose), so it’s fine, besides the car never gives me a problem.

Well, it has set a bad precedent for me, and has aided in my fear of sitting in traffic. So, I try to avoid it. Often, when I try to avoid traffic, I get home at the same time, maybe a little sooner, but never later. If I take the “fast way” (that is, the Freeway), the time to get to or from work could be as little as 30 minutes or as much as an hour and a half. If I choose a few select routes, the variance is 15 minutes: 45 minutes to an hour, tops. I’ll take the latter odds if it means I keep moving, the car keeps cool, I don’t get bored, I don’t fall asleep, and I keep moving.

Here are a few choice shots from my mobile on the way home (we were stopped thank you). We took a road that maxes at 45 mph, until it dropped us down into Northwest Portland into the Pearl District, tripping over the Broadway Bridge in all its construction glory, to a rather quick jaunt up Greeley given the time of day. Ah, living in a big metropolitan area. (Reminder, I grew up in a  town of 8,000!)

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