And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. ~ Kahlil Gibran

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Lately, since my car reached the 250,000 mile mark, I have been thinking about what mode of transportation I would like to get next. Of course the rising gasoline prices play a factor, as well as my desire to reduce my impact on the environment.

First, I have to think about the kind of travelling I do. Most of my travel consists of my commute 16 miles to work. Then there are the trips to our sister-town, where most of the stores are and Big Sprout has her piano lessons. Then 2x a week I drive about 10-12 miles out of town a different way to take Big Sprout to church and church group.

It is very concievable that I could get by with travelling only 175 miles per week. Yikes! That sure sounds like a lot when I write it down like that. I must keep in mind that these figures do not include my monthly dr. apts or any other extras that might come up. So I will go with a round 200 miles per week, and figure that on the weeks that I don't use the extra 25, I can "bank it" for times when I need to do a bit more travelling.

We don't have much for public transit in my area. There is a "bus" service, but it seems to me to be more of a cab service than anything. It is also not really set up for babies or small children. It was mostly set up for the many seniors in my area. It seems to work great for them, but would only be viable for rare use by me.

My first choice would be non-automotive transit, of course, since that would have the lowest impact. Walking is great, and I do it when I can, but it is unrealistic to think I could walk to work or to our sister town 6 miles away on a regular basis. Next on the list is a bicycle. Theoretically I could do this for at least the summer months, but what a lot of work! I really do hate bikes, because of the fanny-pain factor. Still, this one goes on the short list. It would require an investment of a good bike and something for at least Little Sprout to ride in, but it could be something of an option. Animal power, such as a horse or (even better for my climate) dog team, would be fabulous. I live in an apt, though, and they don't allow pets, much less large farm animals. Besides, I know very little about the care of horses or the training of sled dogs. So that one is out.

Next on my list is to purchase a motor scooter. They have some now that are completely street legal and get fabulous mileage. I like this idea a lot, but I would have no way to transport the Sprouts. Nope, I don't think it will work.

So next I have to think about a car. Ick. Still, I live in MN, and the winters here can be brutally cold. I do have to worry about dragging the kids with me everywhere I go, so I guess a car will be the way to go, and I will just have to get creative about how to use it less and less.

Now I just get to research cars, and then find one with acceptable safety, gas mileage, and low enough miles used.

Why couldn't I have just been born about 150 years ago?!


Kati said...

LOL I'm with you.... So much maintenance & fuel prices to worry about with cars, but without adequate public transport (and even the bus system we DO have is really NOT very easily accessed at -40 below Z in the middle of Jan when the nearest bus-stop is already a 10 minute walk) and the weather..... Yeah, a new car will have to do it. I've got a 16 year old (and already totaled but still drivable) Buick 4-door that's been a great car. (I wouldn't even consider trading if I wasn't concerned about it breaking down on me.) Buick mid-size cars DO get decent gas milage (approx. 26 miles to the gallon in mine during summer, 24 in winter, and the new models appear to be about the same) though milage on ALL new vehicals should be increasing at the beginning of the year due to new standards. May I suggest at least looking into a buick, and consider trying to put off the purchase till the new year if possible????

Because no matter what vehical you buy after Jan. 1, 2008, it's supposed to have the fuel milage improved. I think new mid-size passenger vehicals are supposed to have at LEAST (and this is LOW, in my view) 30 miles to the gallon. Those that CURRENTLY get 30 or better, will probably be bumped up to 40 or better.

Also, no matter WHAT you want in a vehical, pick up the car-buyer's edition of the Consumer Reports. They're very reliable in their reviews of the vehicals.

Best of luck making this choice!!! It's certainly not an easy one in this day & age.

barefoot gardener said...

Thanks for the advice and good thoughts. I will definitely keep it in mind.