14 July 2008

the Oregon Zoo adventure

Oregon Zoo
Originally uploaded by Ben McLeod
So Liam and I headed to the Oregon Zoo at Washington Park last week. When faced with the choice of walking or riding my bike, I always go with my bike. We rode our bike to the Max stop; the very first one on the blue line. I did this because I knew that getting on the train with Liam, my bike and his trail-a-bike was going to be hectic. And I knew it would be 10-times worse on the return trip. I knew this, and yet I continued with my plan.

We hopped on an empty train in Hillsboro several minutes before it left. We had time to hang both bikes on the racks and take a seat. The train filled up as it made its way through Beaverton, and was pretty packed as we headed into the tunnel.

I told Liam that as soon as the train stopped, he was to hop off the train and stand near the wall - I was going to grab both bikes and follow. The train stopped - and he refused to get off without me. I grabbed his trail-a-bike and ran off the train and told him to follow me. I sprinted to the wall and practically tossed his bike against it.

"Stand here!" I shouted, and ran back to the train, which now had several more people in the doorway. My bike was on the opposite side of the train, so I busted through the wall of people with lame shouts of "pardon me" and "excuse me." I grabbed my bike, hooking it on some guy's backpack and dragging him and the Breezer toward the now-chiming-and-flashing door.

I saw Liam standing at the wall watching me wrestle through the crowd as the doors closed on the back wheel of my bike. I yanked it free and ran across the platform for him.

I knew getting home was going to suck. I then said many, many bad kind of words to that little obsessive bicyclist-dude that lives in my brain. He laughed.

We enjoyed our day at the zoo, but I was watching the clock. I wanted to be down in the tunnel by 3:00 pm so we could miss the rush. Of course, we weren't down there until 3:30, and a blue line train was just coming into the station as we came onto the platform.

It was packed, and I hadn't even taken the bikes apart yet. We watched the train pull away. I took the bikes apart and we waited for the next train. It was a red line train to Beaverton Transit Center. It wasn't very crowded, but I figured that since it wasn't going all the way to Hillsboro, we'd let it pass.

Ten-or-so minutes later, a blue line to Hillsboro pulls in, and it is freaking packed. There must have been three bikers standing with their bikes next to each hanging bike (uhh, TriMet, get the drift, install more bike hooks. please?). We had no choice but to to pass, or hop on and be total assholes, but I'll save that lesson for another day...

A few minutes after that, another red line to Beaverton Transit Center came in. It was pretty empty, so we hopped on. I figured I would see how things look at the Beaverton TC.

We arrived at the station and watched several packed blue line trains move through. I also watched the clock move past 5 pm. I realized that it wasn't going to get any better where we were for several more hours.

I put the bikes back together and said to Liam, "we've got them, we might as well use them!" We rode though Beaverton, staying mainly on the sidewalk that runs along the TV Highway toward Hillsboro.

At SW 153rd, we hopped on a paved path that brought us to the entrance of the Tualatin Hills Nature Park where we road a paved path to the Merlo Rd/SW 158th Ave MAX Station. I popped the bikes apart and a minute-or-so later an almost-empty blue line train pulled in.

We hopped in, I hung the bikes up, and Liam fell asleep on my lap.

1 comment:

Matt Beckwith said...

Great blog! I discovered your pics on Flickr and then found your blog... very cool!