Suburban Pioneers

The Adventures and Misadventures of Homesteading in 21st-Century America

Sarah: Get on Board! December 10, 2013

Keith is in graduate school.  I’m hoping that these long years and many dollars of investment into an engineering degree will pay off.  As a reward for me putting up with late homework nights and student loans, Keith has promised that, when he’s finished with school, I can do anything I want.  I’m thinking  that lounging with books and wine is the way to go.  Friends tell me that I would be bored within a week.  I think I could do it for at least a year or two.


But I digress.

How I feel about Colorado winters.  Yes, even if I'm indoors.

How I feel about Colorado winters. Yes, even if I’m indoors.


The upside of Keith being in graduate school is that we live in Fort Collins, which is a pretty awesome town in most ways–other than the loud parties outside our bedroom window.  But again, I digress.


Fort Collins is also in Colorado, which is a rather cold, mountainous state, especially if you’re a gal from the South.  I make do, though.  I put on long-johns in November and don’t take them off until April.  I snuggle under blankets.  I make a lot of hot chocolate.  And I blast the heater anytime I drive around town.


Until the heater started pouring smoke two weeks ago.


And then this happened.

Our poor pick-up truck, Steady Freddy, is so cold he's turned blue!

Our poor pick-up truck, Steady Freddy, is so cold he’s turned blue!

You might ask why we haven’t repaired the truck heater.  Graduate school, remember?


Well, all that snow was enough to give me second thoughts, so I looked up a bus timetable.  It turns out that I can get to work in 20 minutes by bus.  When I added up the time I would have spent shoveling snow off the truck, driving s-l-o-w-l-y to work to avoid skidding, parking the truck, and then walking to my building, I really come out about the same.


So I tried it last week.  Aaaaaand I’m sold.  Not only does someone else do the driving while I drink my coffee and try to wake up, the bus has HEAT.  Bonus: I feel like I’m back in Europe where almost everyone commutes by mass transit.

Screen Shot 2013-12-09 at 9.21.32 PM

Bus map, Fort Collins, CO (from the website)


I started wondering why I hadn’t done this months ago!  I think Americans have a bias against public transit.  I know, I know.  I’m lucky to live in a place that is close to a bus route.  And yet…I wonder how often there are actually other options (whether carpool or vanpool or bus or metro or bike), but we get so attached to the convenience of our cars that we forget there’s another way.  I admit it.  It took a massive inconvenience before I looked for something different.


Even if the car fairy comes tonight and leaves us a new vehicle (or a new heater), I think I’ll stay on board with the bus.  After all, where else can you get in great people-watching time at 6:30 a.m.?


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