Tuesday, 16 August 2016

The Long, Long Trail

I had an adventure yesterday, some of it planned, some of it unplanned, all of it interesting. I took my power wheelchair to trivia last night, a voyage across the city using the chair and local transit. I did this for two reasons. First, I needed to get outside. Going to trivia in my truck is not getting outside, per se. I go to the garage. I get in the truck and drive to trivia. I park next to the pub. I go in. Not a lot of nature time. Second, I know that soon enough the PWC will be my main transport; I am not sure how long I can go on driving, both in terms of cost and in terms of ability. So I am practicing, practicing longer trips, diverse transport, different routes for getting around.

The plan was for me to leave home at 6:00 PM, allowing 90 minutes for the trip in total. The first leg was to power over to the Brentwood C-Train station, about a 20 minute run. Then I was going to catch the C-Train down to City Hall, also about a 20 minute trip. Finally I was going to roll along the Riverside Trail to the Swan's Pub in Inglewood, a last leg of 20 minutes. Planned run time was 60 minutes; I allowed another 30 minutes for "just in case". I needed it.

I started out in great form, on time and on target. However I needed to stop at Safeway to pick up a prescription that was supposed to be ready, emphasis on supposed. I crossed the street, went into the store straight to the pharmacy and discovered it wasn't ready yet. It would be another 10 minutes. No problem, I had time. I waited and got my drugs.

Then I headed for Brentwood. No trouble here. The weather was good, the sidewalks were mostly clear. I arrived in 20 minutes, just as planned. I took the outside elevator up to the station and crossed the tracks on the elevated walkway. I went into the station and powered right up to the inside elevator. Which was closed for repairs. No notice. No alternative method. I drives me nuts that able bodied people get two staircases, both with up and down pathways, while handicapped people get one elevator, which, when not working, screws us completely.

I left the Brentwood station and headed for the Banff Trail Station, completely forgetting that the University station was closer. I was angry, tweeting my frustration to Calgary Transit. I was moving, wanting to get where I was going. I had tactics, but not strategy. Although I think I might have saved about 10 minutes by going to University instead of Banff Trail. Oh well. I made it to the station and got aboard.

The trip downtown was uneventful, although I began to look at the time required to roll along the Riverside versus what it might take to get the bus a few blocks away. It was faster to take the bus, so I did. Also uneventful. And I had fun at Trivia, our team once again coming in second. We have been in second place for several weeks in a row. This is getting expensive, this not winning.

On the way home I did the Riverside and caught the C-Train without incident. Instead of getting off at Brentwood, I got off at Dalhousie. Once again, University would have been quicker, but I wasn't thinking that well. From the Dalhousie C-Train station it's about 20 minutes through the very pleasant Varsity neighbourhood to my apartment. It's an older area, with wonderful homes and terrible sidewalks, many of which don't have ramps. I stayed on the road, avoiding getting stuck, which actually happened once, causing me to go a block and a half out of my way just to get off the sidewalk. Hence my road decision.

I got home eventually, only about an hour after leaving Swan's. So my trip plan was on target. I used up all my "what if" time, and I still had a great time with friends at trivia. I'll probably do it again, but this time I will tweet Calgary Transit to see which elevators are not working. It's important.

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