Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cutting Back on Driving.

For the first time in years, it seems I will pass the date on the oil change sticker in the corner of my windshield before I pass the miles number. Driving less than 1000 miles per month is quite an accomplishment when you live in Northern Michigan, but I've done it, at least this once. I don't feel deprived, or cabin feverish. I certainly don't miss filling up the gas tank once or twice a week.

I did it by being more deliberate about driving. I used to drive to school to drop off a lunch or Anna's clarinet when she forgot it. When I started saying, "No, remember global warming?" she stopped forgetting the clarinet.

Then I stopped driving to Traverse City. I used to drive to TC once or twice a week, for groceries or other errands. We started relying more on local produce and our own garden. I would still be tempted to hit Meijer's for the produce section, at least in the winter, if I wasn't so disgusted by the company's attempt to manufacture a grassroots movement to recall The Acme town board after they didn't like the results of a zoning board decision. I'd rather shop at Hansen's in Suttons Bay.

I've been car pooling to work two days a week. One other day, I give a coworker a ride home. I've always tried to combine multiple errands when I drive to TC, but I'm surprised how much driving I can save by combining trips to closer destinations, like Leland (5 miles away) or Suttons Bay (6 miles). We still can't find time to walk to Lake Leelanau (1 mile) as often as I'd like, but in summer Anna is always up for a bike ride.

For the most part, I've cut out the driving that I wasn't enjoying anyway. Anna has become adept at using Mapquest to plan out rides to her friend's houses. "I'll ride to Suttons Bay with Liz and then ride home with your Mom when she comes home from work!" was a plan she made last summer.

Lasr school year we drove Liz to and from Chicago a few times, also to the train station in Kalamazoo. This year she is acclimated to university life and doesn't seem to need to come home so much, although she'd like to.

Richard fishes closer to home, now, but we still splurged and took some road trips down to Benzie County this summer to see if the blueberries were ripe yet. I knew they weren't, they don't ripen until after the star thistle blossoms, but I indulged my husband and went on a 60 road trip.

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