Car-lite with friends

A new chapter in our car-lite existence: houseguests! OK OK, I looked into renting a minivan (gulp, three times) because my friend always drives us around when we visit her, but after realizing a week of minivan is about a grand, I decided we’d try to do things car-free. They were set to fly in from Florida the same time as our flight from Chicago so I planned to take the light rail and bus home in a group. But when their flight was delayed a few hours, the minivan started sounding appealing again. I checked on a minivan at the airport, but even a few days was over $500 so we headed for the train.

The mile walk to the light rail was a pain, but I think one can take a Smarte Carte luggage cart. Hopefully I can convince myself it’s worth it to spend the $4 next time. The bus portion of the trip was awful. A Mariners baseball game let out as we were traversing SODO so the bus got packed and traffic came to a crawl. I didn’t want to put my friends through that so once we got home, I called the nearby car rental office and had them drive us over to yet again look into a minivan. It turned out to be a waste of an hour because even though they had six-seating cars on site, non-airport offices don’t carry rental car seats. This was finally enough for me to realize a minivan was not in the cards for me. My friend was a trouper and the traffic was cleared out by the time they arrived. Her six-year old was a trouper, too, and pulled an adult-size rollie bag the whole way.

The visiting kids (six- and four-years old) are used to biking around Weston, Florida with their mom and I considered borrowing bikes for them, but I thought our hills would kick their little butts. So we’ve been mostly taking public tranportation. Yesterday we bused to the Seattle Center and then hopped the monorail and street car (on which I still can’t figure out how to use my ORCA card) to South Lake Union Park. My car got a little action, though, because I sent my friend and her six-year old to Gas Works Park.

Today we bused to Pike Place Market for the morning and then spent the afternoon at Gas Works Park–the kids and me on bike and our friends in my car. This worked well for getting the balance bikes down there. I think my little one is finally getting the hang of it, even trudging up and down some small hills.

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