Walk in the Snow

Since I semi-retired last spring I switched from driving to work to taking the bus. Getting to work and home is very convenient; there is an express bus that runs in the mornings and evenings. But our local transit agency, Trimet get real bungled up when snow hits. I don’t blame Trimet; this area just is not equipped to deal with snow. We have plenty of hills that immediately turn icy and we don’t have the snow plows, de-icers and sanders to get all the roads. Things get especially bad on those rare days when snow hits in the middle of the day. Which is what happened last Thursday. When the snow started around noon it was time for folks to head home.

My express bus wouldn’t start running until 3:30 and since it comes from Beaverton over  the notorious Sylvan Hill to get downtown I made alternate plans.  I walked down town and jumped on a MAX (light-rail) train headed to Beaverton. So far so good, I even got a seat. I had a couple of options on where to get off and try to catch a bus close to home. I went out a ways where I could grab a 62 bus which goes within a quarter mile of where I parked my car. My first inkling of trouble was when I ran into my fellow OHSU commuter Alvin; he had taken an earlier train and was still waiting for the bus – he had been waiting about 15 minuets. I pulled out my transit app Arrival Tracker to find where the bus was. The good news: it was just a mile away; the bad news: it took 15 minutes to cross an intersection it was stuck in. I looked at the traffic on Google Maps and saw that Murray was stopped (not stop-and-go; just stopped) for about 4 miles. I was surprised by the attitudes of people waiting for the bus. A couple of guys started cursing Trimet and the driver. I explained what I saw on my iPhone: traffic was completely stopped with the bus in the middle of it. “The driver should just put the pedal to the medal” one guy said.

Alvin took off walking home; I followed suit about 10 minutes later. That meant I had a 4 to 5 mile walk home. I looked at it as an adventure. Ever since I started commuting I planned for the iffy winter commute. I invested in a nice pair of Ecco gore-tex shoes that can almost pass for work shoes. Along with excellent REI wool socks I got for Christmas, my silk long-johns, gloves, cap, and awesome Columbia Sportswear coat I set out for an adventure. It was interesting walking down a busy street that I normally drive on. I could track my progress by the traffic lights: Tualatin Valley Highway, Farmington, Allen Blvd, Denny Rd, Hart Rd, Sexton Mountain Rd, Brockman. The walk took about 1 1/2 hours and was actually quite pleasant other than the two slips I had where I landed on my butt. My first fall was on a small indentation on the sidewalk that filled with water, froze over, then was covered by snow. I put my foot down and BAM, my foot slipped out in front of me and down I went. My other slip was my fault; I stepped into a street where snow had been compressed into ice. When I stepped off a curb I turned to check traffic and BAM. Neither fall was bad; just enough to have me pay attention to where I was walking. I never was passed by the bus I had waited for.

Friday was a day off for me and I didn’t want to do much walking although I did shovel the sidewalk. By Saturday I was getting cabin fever and decided to head out for a walk with my camera.

135th ST; about 1/4 mile away from home.
Hiteon (pronounced Height On) Park
Nursery tree at Hiteon Park
Pitchers and catchers report to Dodger Spring Training today.

A couple of sledders

Home Sweet Home

View from our back door

3 thoughts on “Walk in the Snow

  1. Thanks for sharing the story and pictures Howard. It brought back a lot of memories from my first winter in Portland and the record snowfall then (December 2008). And I have the utmost respect for you walking 4+ miles in the snow!

    Take care,

    Jason Oliver

  2. Hey Jason! Good to hear from you; I'm sure you were missing our snow down there in Sacramento. We got almost as much snow as back in 2008; but it came and went more quickly. How's everything down there?

    Thanks for checking my blog!

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