Pay Attention

Pay-attention1I turned into the street and moved into the right lane.  The light was in my favor and I signaled my intention to turn right.  But, I slammed on my brakes as I made the turn because a bicyclist who ran his red light almost ran into me.  I sat there fuming as he pedaled away totally oblivious to the accident he almost caused.

But there’s more.  A few blocks later, I put on my left turn blinker.  The driver of a car approaching in the opposite direction signaled that he was turning to his left.  Thank goodness I paused a moment before taking the turn.  If I had not, the car left would have crashed into mine because the driver didn’t turn left at all.  He drove straight ahead even as his left turn signal blinked.

If we’re on the road as motorists, pedestrians, or bicyclists, we all have to be careful and watch what we’re doing.  Stop lights are for everybody, those who are driving, walking or bicycling.  Turn signals mean the motorist or bicyclist (who should know hand signals) intends to turn. 

 It’s real simple.  Pay attention. 

The Shore Attitude – Beyond Summer

Beach%20Pic%201The bright sun streaming through your window wakes you up – it’s going to be another hot day on the Jersey Shore. You and your family put on bathing suits, t-shirts and sandals, and walk a couple blocks to that breakfast place for pancakes. Later, you load up the cart for the three block walk to the beach while your eldest rides off on a cruiser bike to meet her friends on the boardwalk. On the walk, you wave hello to your neighbors for the week and stop to chat, while your youngest tugs at your shirt to keep going – the waves are waiting.

Summer vacation is great time to experience the joys of living “car-lite” by walking and biking where you need to go, but why can’t we bring some of that lifestyle and attitude with us when it’s time to return to work and school? Here are some ideas.
Group your walkable errands.

Got places to go near your home or office? Instead of stopping there in your car on your way to/from someplace else, plan ahead and save those errands for an evening or weekend walk. You’ll get things done, and some exercise, too!

Meet the neighbors

While you’re out, take a moment to say hello. Pet the dogs, sniff the flowers, and take a moment to enjoy your neighborhood.

Encourage your children

Show your children how to get around their neighborhood on foot and by bike, then encourage them to make that choice. Don’t just drive them because you can, or because “it’s hottttt,” “it’s colllld,” “it’s raining,” or “I have a backpack.” Make sure they’ve learned and practiced crossing the street and bicycling safely.

Ride slow.

Just because you’re home, doesn’t mean you have to be racing your bike. Where would you ride at a leisurely pace? To the coffee shop? The pool? A friend’s barbecue?

Any clothing is bike clothing.

If you can ride to the beach in a bathing suit and flip-flops, you can ride at home in, well, anything that works for the weather. Wear a helmet, and use lights at night (a front white light and a red rear light).

 

Ferry-ly We Go Along – Changes in Latitudes

When I was a kid, my Dad would take us for a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.  At 5 cents per passenger, it was a true bargain for a family of six.  We’d ride to Manhattan and turn around and come back.  Sometimes, he’d take the car on the ferry and we’d drive in the City.  Great times!

That was the start of my affection for ferries.  Here are a few others I’ve ridden.

Cape May, NJ – Lewes, DE

The Cape May to Lewes Ferry held 2 attractions for a friend and me – water and crab cakes.  The combo fare for ferry and shuttle service got us close to Lewes’ downtown area.  After dinner, we’d stroll to King’s for homemade ice cream before hopping the shuttle for the “cruise” back to NJ.

Oxford, MD – Bellevue, MD

Started in 1683, the Oxford – Bellevue Ferry is more modest than most carrying just 9 cars.  The pleasant 7 minute ride covers about ¾ of a mile as it crosses the TredAvonRiver on the way to St. Michaels, MD, the “town that fooled the British.”   During the War of 1812, knowing the British were poised to attack, the residents hung lanterns high in the trees.  At night, aiming for the lights, the British gunboats overshot and the town was saved.

Port Kent, NY- Burlington, VT

One of the best ways to start Vermont leaf-peeping is aboard the Port Kent-Burlington Ferry, operating since 1826.  With the Adirondacks to the west and the Green Mountains to the east, this is truly the “scenic route” of the Lake Champlain service.

Hyannis, MA – Nantucket, MA Lawrence

In the 1830s, Nantucket was one of the busiest whaling ports in the world.  Today, she still welcomes travelers arriving by sea, including by ferry.  The Steamship Authority runs service to the island regularly from Hyannis.  Passengers who “walk on” can chose the high speed which takes about 60 minutes.  Those with vehicles or a little more time, might prefer a more leisurely 2 ¼ hour cruise.

Levis, Quebec, Canada to Quebec   City, Quebec, Canada

As the Empress dominates Vancouver, so does her sister hotel the Chateau Frontenac loom high above Quebec City. Travelers crossing the St. Lawrence via ferry at Levis enjoy a 10 minute trip and some spectacular views of this 400 year old city.

Seattle, WA – Victoria, BC, Canada

Reigning over Vancouver Island’s Inner Harbor with grace and majesty, the Empress, a magnificent hotel from another age, awes visitors arriving by ferry from Seattle.  Built in 1809, she has welcomed royalty, rogues, and regular people like my Mother, sister, and me.  After visiting the Royal BC Museum, Parliament, and Butchart Gardens, we indulged in that time honored ritual known as Afternoon Tea.

Tea at the Empress

Tea at the Empress

 

Planes, Ships and Automobiles – Changes in Latitude

My family has taken many vacations over the years, most of which involved long car rides to our destination.  Most of our time was spent reading road maps, sitting in traffic, searching for parking and waiting in rental car lines.  However, one year we decided to try something new.  We sailed on a Disney Cruise and left the ship responsible to take us to our destinations.  We would relax aboard the great big ship and be pedestrians for the week (and shed the pounds we would gain from having access to food 24 hours a day).  We were ready for our relaxing non-transportation vacation, or so I thought.

Photo Credit: disneyparks.disney.go.com

Photo Credit: disneyparks.disney.go.com

On the day of the departure, we loaded into our mini van and drove 90 minutes to the airport in Allentown, Pa.  Soon we were airborne as our plane took off for Orlando, Florida.  And no sooner than when we landed, we were driving along in our rented car to Cape Canaveral to board the ship.

For those keeping track – car, plane, car and ship.

Our first stop on our cruise docked us at Key West,  where we walked, walked and walked.  Day two was spent at sea, so our mode of transportation was a comfortable lounge chair aboard the outdoor deck.  On Day three, we arrived at Grand Cayman where we boarded a smaller boat which delivered us to the pier and waiting taxi that was beach bound.

Who is checking?  Car, plane, car, ship, walk, smaller boat, and taxi.

Our next stop in Cozumel involved taking a shuttle bus to a location where we would swim with dolphins.  What a memory!  As our cruise neared its end, we played on the beaches of Castaway Cay and we kayaked.

In one week we – Car, plane, car, ship, walk, smaller boat,  taxi, shuttle bus, swam and kayaked.

Who ever said cruising was relaxing?

But rest assured, we are planning our next transportation mode rich cruise.

Bon Voyage!