Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Walk-About-Town Adventure #1

It was a nice cool June morning and the children were eager to begin our first adventure into town! To clarify, it's our first walk around town. We have lived here for two years and we walk around town frequently. They are excited it's a going to be a regular occurrence. And they excited about the wagon. I usually make them walk because we don't usually go that far. :) We had 15 minutes to make it to the post office before they closed for lunch. We made it in ten minutes and then had to wait to FOREVER for traffic. Once we made it to the tile floors the wheels on the wagon revolted and a kind woman helped me drag it inside. *sigh* I knew I had a delivery to pick up and I thought I wouldn't make it in time. One of the many blessings about small town is that the post master knows everyone. He saw me coming (and probably heard the commotion in his lobby) and had my mail at the counter. What a sweet man. He even came out to hold the doors and help us back out. Did I mention that I love our town?? (The kids took this picture of me in front of the post office.)

Jack in front of the post office...

and Carlie, too....
Since we were no longer in a hurry (and I was sweating like crazy) we proceeded at a more moderate pace after leaving the post office. We stopped by the local diner - Ms Smitty's - to grab a menu to peruse later. They have a great little ice cream parlor attached to the diner and I promised Carlie and Jack ice cream on one of our future walks. Finally we made it to the library. The kiddos feel at home there and can border on being rude/rambunctious. :) I'm good friends with the head librarian and the assistant there, probably because I end up walking over a few days a week. I have had a library card since I was a preschooler and have an insatiable appetite for fiction. The free dvd rental is a strong draw since we only have limited basic cable.
We parked our wagon in the bike rack. :)We had a few other stops after the library and finally made our way home. Carlie and Jack took pity on me and hopped to pull the wagon up our big hill and to the house. On a normal day, it would take about 20 minutes to run these errand (depending on how long we spend at the library). It took us an hour and 25 minutes. Carlie made up fun songs about our 'adventure'. Jack stopped to listen to a cricket near the library stairs. We talked to a few more folks in town than normal. I never would have stopped at the diner for a menu, although we kept saying we should check them out. Nobody argued or complained, I did not have to take the kids in and out of the car 15 times. Honestly, this was so much more fun.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Walk-About-Town .... Car-Free Adventure INTRO

Our goal/challenge for the summer is to walk nearly everywhere in town for our weekly errands instead of driving. Giving us the benefit saving gas and money, reducing carbon emissions, spending more time out of the house and in town, and maybe even losing a few pounds while I'm at it! :) We don't have any hard and fast rules for this, I hope my resolve holds firm because just the thought of dragging a wagon loaded with 70 pounds of wiggling kid-ness when it's 90 degrees with 95% humidity makes my asthma start acting up. (or is that a panic attack???)

The post office is farthest away (1/2 a mile) and our most frequent trip. We'll probably head there every other day, unless we're expecting something good. We spend a lot of time at our local library and that almost directly across the street from our house. We walk there year-round anyway. Our town is itty-bitty, most people in the county do not realize we are a town at all. Some think we are a village or just a busy stretch of road. :) But we have our own post office, school, library, grocery store, local diner and ice cream shop, pizza place, McDonald's, hardware, pharmacy, and more! All within a 1/2 mile stretch. The downside is that is not at walkable. We only have sidewalks through the 'downtown' part of town which is about half of our walk. There are no sidewalks in front of our house, the grocery store, or library. There are foot/bike trails beginning to wear in over time. We have a good number of people (kids, teens, and adults) who walk and bike in town instead of drive. It can be difficult, and sometimes impossible, to walk in the winter months due to the lack of sidewalks. (And in Michigan, winter can last a good 6 months.)

Okay, I know I started rambling a bit there, so bear with me please! I'm almost done. :) We do not have any mass transit systems nearby, so it's walk, drive, or stay home. My husband will continue to drive the 30+ miles to work each day. It's not fun. And he works from home, it's just it addition to his regular hours. If telecommuting was an option, that would be great. We'll drive to church on Sundays, because the 20 mile drive it just too far to walk. There are closer churches, but we've been there for nearly 10 years and they are our family. Our family is worth it. We try to combine other trips into that one, it just make sense. Once every few weeks we'll drive the 12 miles to the Flint Market to the bulk of our shopping. Beginning July 29th (and on Thursdays thereafter for the remainder of the summer) I'll be working at a farmers market selling my soaps and things and then we'll do our shopping there.

Like I said earlier, no hard and fast rules. We're just being conscious of our driving habits. We'll try to stick to it and not make excuses.