Monday, June 21 The Summer Solstice – the beginning of the end (of summer and free rides)


The longest day of the year. Although officially the first day of Summer, after today the days become increasingly shorter and we begin (today) to count down to December 21 and the Winter Solstice. I’m in a squeaky clean new VW sedan. Our driver is a 60s something clean cut fellow wearing a great shirt. I love it. Small yellow and white checks, worn with khaki pants. Very summery. From his key chain in the ignition dangles a small tag with what may be his name – David. It flashes on and off like a miniature billboard. Odd.

NPR radio nixes any conversation, however when the local KQED Perspectives portion cuts in, there is a right-on-the-money commentary about the upcoming tolls that makes the listening worthwhile. Check out http://www.kqed.org/epArchive/R201006210735. It’s by Stewart Florsheim, called “The Cost of a Toll”. He worries that the casual carpool might “go the way of drive-in movies”.

Some more worth-reading words on the toll (this from last month) are in The Island, the on-line Alameda news site. Writer Heather Lyn Wood wrote a good piece, “Casual Carpoolers Face Toll Charges in July” (http://www.theislandofalameda.com/2010/05/casual-carpoolers-face-toll-charges-in-july/.) This gives a good overview of carpooling and the current issues. Great bonus are the comments following the article. I especially liked this plea from Stuart Campau, “What can we do to stop this? If anyone has any ideas, contact me”. Ah Stuart, we all have ideas, but we’re not the ones making the rules. But I strongly believe that message boards, and blogs like this are a positive way to communicate with each other, share our ideas, and maybe come up with a way to change those rules.

Traffic is bad and we crawl, even in the carpool lane. Until, suddenly and mysteriously when we approach the bridge and the toll gates, there is hardly any traffic. We arrive in the city at 8 a.m.

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