Monday, March 19, 2012
Adventures in Bus-Land
I've been trying to find free (or at least cheap) activities for our family to do on the weekends. This past weekend the kids and I set out to ride the public transportation buses around Bend. We didn't have any particular agenda, just to ride around and explore our town and give the kids a new experience since they've never ridden a bus before.
So, being the good plan-ahead-planner that I am, I researched the city website to learn the bus routes, prices, and schedules. The schedule was in such tiny print I couldn't read it online nor in print--but how hard can it be, right? I knew there were multiple bus stops I'd seen around town, so I figured we'd just hop on and hop off whenever it suited us.
Adventure #1--There weren't any bus stops near our house. Not to worry! We drove to my work office about two miles away, parked the car, then walked about a block to the bus stop.
Adventure #2--Looking at the schedule posted at the bus stop, we were going to have to wait almost 45 minutes for the next bus. We crossed the street to the opposite stop where we'd have to wait a mere 30 minutes. That particular stop was an enclosed shelter-type bus stop, to which all three kids proclaimed "IT STINKS IN HERE!" (Thankfully no one else was at the bus stop!) While we waited we had a little lesson on how to read the bus maps and bus schedules posted at the stop. And we played with rocks. And we threw rocks. And we counted rocks. And we asked how much longer......about every 7 seconds. Finally the bus came! The kids were thrilled and as soon as the bus started moving, their eyes were wide and their smiles were big! And...."we don't even have to wear seat belts!"
Adventure #3--There are some interesting folks who ride public transportation. One gentleman (nurse-mama's assessment quickly decided he had a mild form of mental illness) proceeded to tell the kids all the misadventures he got into when he was their age including "I burned down all of Awbrey Butte....all of it!" when he was 7 years old. And "I took out all the windows in the entire high school" when he was 10 years old. Ummmmm......next stop please!
Adventure #4--There was not an abundance of buses waiting at the transfer station. We had to search to find the bus stop for the route we wanted, only to discover we would have to wait yet again for another 45 minutes. So we hopped on the bus that WAS at the station, and explored a section of town we hadn't seen. But apparently it was only interesting to mom, and I got the "I'm bored" looks multiple times. Back to the station again.....still no other buses.
Adventure #5--The bus we were already on apparently changes routes at the station, so we hopped back on again and headed for a different part of town. This time we did have an agenda and went to Baskin Robbins for ice cream. When we got off, I checked the bus schedule and noted the bus wasn't coming back to that location for another 90 minutes! Ok kids, I guess we're going shopping for a while! While the kids slurped ice cream, I looked over the master schedule the very nice driver gave me (when I was looking bewildered at the bus stop schedule!) and started to realize Adventure #6.....
Adventure #6--Houston, we have a problem. Due to Saturday schedules, we would still be able to get back to the station, but that would be the last bus of the day. Note: our car was parked at the opposite end of town! Bryan wasn't feeling well, so he had stayed home; via text messaging we decided the only option was for him to walk the two miles to my work, pick up the car, and drive to rescue us. Did I mention he was sick? But, it was either that or join the homeless population for the night. So he walked....with a fever....and it started snowing. Oh what a wonderful Daddy we have! (Yes, I will owe him many times!)
We did make it home--thankful that Bryan did stay home from this adventure or we wouldn't have even HAD someone to pick us up! I am still owing him....