The Green Adventure

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Have Baby Jogger... Will Travel

Summary of today's carless adventure:
Where: southern burbs of Ann Arbor, MI
Passengers/ Vehicle: Me and Little A (2 year old daughter)/ Red baby jogger
Distance: about 5 miles round trip (35 mins out, 50 mins back with 2 stops)
Fuel: (reusable) bottle of water, 1 Lara bar for mom and a bag of cheddar rice cakes for Little A
Time: 2.5 hours total
Carbon Emissions: None, well except for my heavy breathing!

Inspired by a friend of a friend who's family is going to *completely* give up their car keys for the months of August (both parents work and they have 3 kids!.) I have decided to figure out how easy it is to travel around Ann Arbor without a car with one toddler and very few time deadlines.
Today we went to the public library, a common source of amusement for Little A on a day too hot to go to the park. In 90+ degree temperatures, we left the house around 10am and walked the 2ish miles to the local library (35minutes). The trip out was uneventful except that I took out about 20 lbs of books last trip not knowing that I'd be hauling them back in my hiking day pack! And, about 3/4 of the way there we ran out of sidewalk so we had to do a little off roading. Thank goodness for a strong baby jogger and a kid with lots of hash runs under her belt! On the upside, we discovered that between our house and the library are 3 parks (one part of a Joe's crab shack... "no, not today Little A."), 1 gas station, 2 Starbucks, 1 grocery store, 1 Target, 1 assisted living home, 1 daycare center, and at least 4 restaurants. In other words, even if we can only travel 2.5 miles from home there is a lot that we can do!

When we arrived, I was only given a few dirty looks for my appearance (dripping with sweat and smelling like a combination of BO and sunscreen... "get over it people, just pretend we're at the beach!") It was blissfully cool in the air conditioned library, and Little A had a blast playing with a 5 year old girl that thankfully shared her computer and proceeded to teach Little A to build a *fancy* block tower, a house out of giant plastic interlocking squares, and chased her all over the play area. Finally, a kid who's a faster runner than my daughter. When will they make power generating exercise equipment for kids? You could've air conditioned the whole library from the harnessed child-energy in the room!

An hour and a half later, with my child sufficiently worn out, we geared up for the journey home. Little A was starving, and I was not adequately prepared. Rookie mistake! So, I gave her the water bottle and a tube of lip gloss and walked/ ran to the grocery store that's on the way home. (Thankfully, I'm in pretty good shape, so we made it in 10 mins.) We stopped off for some "cheesy rice cakes" which occupied Little A the rest of the way back. Plus, we found the added bonus of a running sprinkler system on the neighboring apartment complex grounds. I unbuckled Little A and we both ran through the sprinklers until our clothes were soaked! She happily stripped when we arrived home and ate her lunch. I read her the 3 ("only 3 today... we're going to have to schlepp these books back in a few weeks!") library books, and she crashed! A successful naptime= a successful day in this mom's book.

How are your carless adventures coming? Today is day 2 of the fuel challenge! How will you be able to get around your city or town when gas is $10, $20, or $50 a gallon? Can you walk to your local parks, libraries, grocery stores, etc.? Can you bring your kids with you?
Let me hear about your carless adventures!

Coming soon... Can Little A and I get across 94 without a car? How user-friendly is the Ann Arbor bus system?

3 Comments:

  • Ok, carless in August in Seattle is a little different than carless in Ann Arbor...the heat! You are crazy! But the woman who is carless in Seattle has 3 kids so that evens out the handicap of the weather I think!

    I am filling up my tank for the first time today, so we'll see how quickly it goes. I'll log the gas...oy.

    By Blogger floosen, at 3:04 PM  

  • We live way out in the country ... so walking around here is not an option ~~ but love the idea and I think we'll drive across the major highway, park somewhere and walk all over town ~~ save money for gas that way! And it's HOT today ~~ so we're staying home and keeping cool.

    P.S. My goal this summer was to leave the AC off and see if we're saving energy that way ~~ but this dang heat wave made that impossible. But as soon as it cools off, the AC is off.

    By Blogger Frazzled, at 3:23 PM  

  • My wife and I live in Houston Texas now. Before we moved wifey asked me how the public transportation system was. After 16 days, 12 hours, 47 minutes and a few seconds (give or take a day) of hysterical, urinate on myself and everyone around, laughter, I had to look up the word public transport. I had never thought of the concept. We Texans love our cars more than ANYTHING, ask my wife. Wife never drove before we moved to where I went to highschool. No, I am not married to a little girl, she is 30, perverts! Wife is from Europe. When we got there and I taught her to drive (she uses turn signals!!!), she still wanted to check out the public transport thingy, I guess it is part of her subconsious or something, she learned Houston is not a carless friendly place. Then there is the heat mixed with the staggering amount of concrete....

    Before you jump to conclusions:
    A: I am not against public transport, I use it when she is with me as a safari guide.

    B: We met when we were living in Greece, no mail (or would that be femail?) order bride here.

    C: I still love my car and airconditioner

    By Blogger All Head, No Shaft, at 2:50 PM  

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