• Dr. Stuart P. Stofferahn

Day #9: Groundhog Day, the movie.

Updated: May 14, 2019

Day #9

You remember the movie “Ground Hog Day?” Yeah – kind of like that today. Day number three of cold, wet, rainy.

Bus driver Troy, my morning route, and me (cold, tired, and about ten years older than when I started this

“Wake up campers, because it’s COLD outside!” (smash the alarm clock).

Started my day with a cup of coffee with a friend, Steve. Darned if I forgot to get a selfie with him. Steve was my base commander while I was in the Air Guard, and over the course of a couple years, we have come to enjoy a cup of coffee every now and again. I force myself to call him “Steve” instead of “Sir”, although it is still “Sir” when I am with him. Old habits. Kind of like a teacher of professor. Can’t kick the “Mrs.”, “Mr.”, or “Dr.”.

Part of the planning process of getting to the bus stop involves estimating how long it will take to get there with a bike. Additionally, it means trusting the app in its estimate of when the bus will arrive. BUSLNK has been extremely reliable so far, but I can’t seem to get over my jitteriness of leaving the house WAY too early. I don’t like being so far away from the bus stop. 1.7 miles from one (route 41), 2.1 miles from the other (route 27). For either, I can make the trip in 10-12 minutes fairly easily by bike, but I always seem to leave too early. Then, I am left sitting in the cold.

Very few bus stops have any shelters. I suppose that would be my biggest complaint, if I had one. That, and the fact that some bus stops are difficult to get to – you must navigate through parking lots or service roads to get to them – or sometimes across very busy major intersections (which means a lot of stimulation). Sometimes, they aren’t even next to sidewalks, so you have to walk over many feet of grass or dirt to get to them. Fine, I suppose if it is dry, but not so much if it is wet and muddy. For our students, it means finding ways to overcome challenges.

After my cup of coffee with my friend, I received a phone call from channel 8 news. They heard about what we were doing, and they wanted to come along for a ride and an interview. The reporter had never ridden on the bus, so it was a new experience for him. The news story is here:

Channel 8, Gold's Building, Heather picking me up at 9:30 PM

So, there are some . . . things . . . you must remember/learn as you are traveling on the bus system – especially when your trips are measured in hours. For example, don’t pass up a bathroom prior to boarding. The roads are bumpy, and I’m old. Then there’s the “farmer blow” – we’ve already talked about it, but unless you want snotsicles or dripsicles, bring Kleenexes. Or better yet, learn the farmer blow. Reality.

I came home in between channel 8 news and class (Thursday night is our class night), and I had quite a fun time listening to a very excited rider talk about her upcoming Kenny Chesney concert. She was counting down the days - apparently eight days away. She will be attending with nine of her group home friends. Her excitement was contagious. Made me forget the cold, dreary day.

I am learning that coming home and then going back out again is not fun. The bike ride involves steep hills both ways, and it essentially feels like 12-minute wind-sprints each way. Coming home in between appointments means another round trip on the bike. Again, a few blocks away from the bus stop – no big deal. But with this distance, it presents a hard daily challenge to overcome.

I guess the benefit is that I will have thighs of steel by June 1.

Lessons Learned:

1. TRUST the BUSLNK app. Seriously – TRUST IT.

2. You always need a restroom when one isn’t around. Use it before boarding.

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