Transit Report #1: Washington DC

For My Bus & Trolley Buddies

I’ve dropped the ball, its been 8 weeks and I’ve not written up anything on Transit.

Washington DC (June 1-5, 2016)

DCTran1What can I say, the DC Metro. Upon arrival, I parked my bike at my B&B and didn’t touch it until the morning I left. I stayed near the Clarendon Station in VA, and everybody at my house used the Metro. However, the station and line were both undergoing upgrades so availability was iffy, with regular interruptions and closures. They all had Uber accounts, and they insisted I set one up as well (this paid off in Detroit).

Starting the first day, I ran the couple blocks to the station and jumped the metro into town for dinner with friends. Did the same on Friday to visit some museums and see the town.
On every single Metro trip I anxiously jumped off at wrong stations, dozed and missed my station, miscalculated where surface entrances were, and the like. Now, I’m the kind of guy that, in my prime,DCTran4 I would know how many steps and the proper directin it was to the closet Metro access and never miscalculate.

Instead I literally walked blocks (actually miles) of wasted steps because of nerves and miscalculations.
I twice missed my exit and needed to ride onto the next center open station to catch a backtracking train.

DCTran5
My camping compass was no help in the Metro or walking.

Waste of time! I was feeling old and confused, because that NEVER used to happen back in my work days … even after working all day. I could head downtown to a ball game or museum, even in a brand new city (let alone the DC metro, which I could sketch right now on a napkin), and never miss a stop or walk the wrong way to a street station. Rats.

The purpose of my trip was the Reason Rally on the mall on Saturday 6/4, and to my surprise the Clarendon Station was closed that day. {sigh} Thank goodness I saw the warning sign Thursday and Friday.

I used the google maps route planner option to see that multiple buses picked up right in front of the station entrance (of course, collectors & distributors). So Saturday morning, I walked out at 7am and waited at the bus shelter. I planned on catching the bus through Georgetown and down to the mall, but the DCA bus arrived first, taking me to the blue line Pentagon station. Easy Peasy.

Of course I struck up a conversation with the driver. Its a busy route, good labor relations, the DCTran6metros are busy not so much the busses. And the station upgrades are a pain. Then we talked, of all things, family and church and social justice. Then I took his picture. <oh, dave>. My host loaned my a quiver type folding chair. To my surprise, I had lost enough weight that it supported me fine. I slung it over my shoulder, carried it on the bus and around all day along with a half dozen bottles of water.

I had dinner in G-Town after the rally with several friends. They offered to drive me back to my Clarendon B&B (even though they were all staying toward Maryland). I scoffed, are you kidding? I’m Mr Transit, I am one with the bus schedule! A bus runs right down the main street in Georgetown and drops at my (closed) metro station. They were all seriously leery, but left me there. I got a coffee at SBux and before I could finish it I was home bound. Of course, I closed my eyes “just for a second” and woke up only one stop before I needed to exit. Sheesh.

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