Monday, May 25, 2015

Issaquah. Sans Selfies

(Spoiler alert: RantWoman knows that smartphone selfies of all one's travels are just so The Thing. This is a 100% selfie-free blog post. Not even sorry. Use your imagination. Imagine green trees and the darkest purple rhododendron RantWoman has ever seen. And no selfies.)

RantWoman lives basically in the Rainier Valley. Recently RantWoman ran into one of her neighbors in the elevator.

Where  ya' been?

The Issaquah  Fred Meyer.

Why did you go all the way to Issaquah to go to Fred Meyer?

Because it's green and peaceful and I can go there on ACCESS!

Lightbulb went off in RantWoman's head.

Not long before the elevator encounter, RantWoman was at a meeting where Issaquah mayor Fred Butler made a point of coming over to shake RantWoman's hand. This has partly to do with RantWoman letting herself get appointed to the Service Guidelines Task Force, but today RantWoman wants to stick to Issaquah.

After the elevator encounter, a lightbulb went off in RantWoman's head. RantWoman has been to downtown Issaquah only a tine number of times but remembered it as green and peaceful and also walkable, the sort of place that has historically worked well when RantMom and her septuagenarian siblings and their spouses do their periodic reunion thing.

Among other holiday weekend activities, the RantWomen, RantWoman and rantMom meant to think about the next iteration of said reunion. So far the planning has been bumpy. RantWoman and RantMom between us are not doing so well with the Google and various financial and transportation constraints and the leap between paper and the electronic universe. Even if RantWoman could officially see any better than she does, there are just some mapping and visualization things one should not even try on a Smartphone too.

The RantWomen have gotten a reprieve: to RantWoman's profound relief Uncle Retired Bus Driver and Aunt Office Manager have taken the initiative to plan their 50th wedding anniversary celebration, something that would fall within the normal time window when reunions have usually occurred. Suddenly with the reunion postponed RantMom's desire to visit candidate locations in person seems doable! RantMom particularly expressed interest in some kind of holiday excursion and Little Sister's family tends not to be available on weekends.

Plus RantWoman remembers a couple bus options to Issaquah.

ACCESS (paratransit) is  theoretically also an option. Theoretically. Except many around RantWoman fill RantWoman's ears with tales of what a pain ACCESS is. Besides, although RantMom qualifies for ACCESS, RantWoman only qualifies for ACCESS by an accident of domicile and RantWoman wants to illustrate the use case (bear with the computer geek term, please) of people wanting to go someplace together but not necessarily both qualifying for ACCESS. Not to mention greater flexibility and better views from the bus.

RantWoman whipped out her Smartphone. Check the SoundTransit site for schedules. Elegant. The 554 holiday schedule means service both ways every half hour in the middle of the day. RantMom is a farm girl. She is up with the sun and would have been happy to bound on a bus an hour earlier than the RantWomen did. As it was, the RantWoman met earlier than we had agreed, rode the #kcmetrobus 7 downtown and had quality hang out on a bench and chat time until the bus came.

Among the chat topics:" the fare to Issaquah. RantWoman continues to find Sound Transit fares a bafflement, but RantWoman keeps money in her ORCA wallet to cope with the bafflement. RantMom says she carries quarters in case she needs to pay a student fare for Irrepressible nephew. In any case, the RantWomen got on the bus prepared to pay extra but the ORCA reader just beeped us on, no fuss, no muss! Score!

A purple Rhodie, in  case imagination is not enough

Eastbound traffic was very light. The RantWoman considered getting off at the Issaquah Park and Ride but thankfully the driver said the bus stopped in downtown Issaquah. Within half an hour, the RantWomen were stepping off a bus gazing at the most wonderful dark purple rhododendron RantWoman has ever seen and off on an adventure.

The adventure consisted of:

--identify and verify the location of the stop for the trip home.

--Peer down a couple streets and pick a walking direction. RantWoman really cannot see far enough to guess what will be interesting but is willing to walk there and find out. RantMom is more minimalist about walking and chose a route past city hall and several blocks W on Front Street.

--Watch RantMom be multiply charmed by the small town feel. RantWoman found Front St a little noisy even on a supposedly calm holiday. RantWoman was also completely charmed by audible pedestrian signals with VOICES, imperious voices, but still voices and clear street orientations instead of the chirps, tweets, and please excuse RantWoman, gunfire noises on some of the audbile signals closer to home.

--Contemplate the issue of places to stay and options for actually going to Fred Meyer. Contemplate, but not today.

--Attend to bus bladder and lunch. RantMom had in mind sitting down. We both like Mexican and had a wonderful meal with great service at Las Margaritas. If it were later in the day, RantWoman might also have had a margarita. Oh well.

--Find the fish hatchery! Thank you bus announcement. The rantWomen did not actually set out to find the fish hatchery but found our way there just by taking our last meander down a street.

--Listen to Issaquah Creek. Stroll around. We could have lived without the lawn mower, but the place smelled reliably fishy and there were plenty of places for green and quit.

By this time, RantMom was ready to go home and the ride back to Seattle was as calm and efficient as the ride out! And if we decide we need to go to Issaquah to Fred meyer we can plan another day!

Lexicography moment: the term "choice rider" refers to people who choose to ride the bus when they have the option of driving or choose to own fewer cars than there are drivers in the household. RantWoman has boundless respect for transit planners and transit managers who use the services they manage and would definitely consider such people choice riders.

RantWoman would also argue that perhaps the term "choice rider" could be used for people who qualify for paratransit but choose the regular bus for at least some of their trips.

Further concept RantWoman is massaging: RantWoman thinks the rantWomen might not be the only people who would go occasionally out of central Seattle on excursions to the 'burbs. RantWoman wonders about options for group travel to accommodate this among people who do not own cars.

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