Over the Hill

By Dante DeAmicis

 First a word about the “transition lifestyle.” Transportation is a big part of our lifestyle, is it not? Currently, the focus of American mobility is the car. Cars are great. But a truly sustainable lifestyle would push them off front and center. A few should have cars and us occasional users would pay them for going-my-way rides. Renting cars for rare distance, multiple stop junkets should be part of the plan. Bottom line, transition needs to work transportation into lifestyles and away from guilt trip tokenism.

 There’s nothing like killing two birds with one stone. Since I started adding the hills to the flats on regular bike trips. I’ve gotten stronger, healthier, and have lost what little taste I had for junk food. The second bird here is sustainable medical care. There is nothing more sustainable than not breaking something to begin with. Especially when it’s now obvious government and the corporations are only interested in medical triage.

 I live in Clearlake. My regular hills trips, which have gotten easier and easier, are to Kelseyville and Jerusalem Grade road. I usually take the bus one way on the Kelseyville run due to large cargo hauls. Clearlake Oaks is less than 10 miles by back roads but there is a small mountain issue. When my coffeehouse hang out opened a second shop there, over Sulpher Banks I went. My time from Catfish Coffeehouse by Redbud Park to Catfish 2 next to Shannon Ridge Wine Tasting was 52 minutes. I am four months from 60 and have never “worked out” a day in my adult life.

 Once hill riding becomes more like fun and less like special rendering you start seeing possibilities with different eyes. Transportation becomes like life should be – more of a journey than a destination. Sometimes a journey can enrich bystanders. A historical bike trip to Lake County suggested itself to me. Our one promoted cycle event, the Konocti Challenge, is self contained within the County. In planning hill trips one fact stands out – hills show no respect for county boundaries.

 Most attempts to bring a railroad to Lake County never got beyond printing stock certificates. Two efforts from the South got to the surveying stage. I’ve been researching, even finding the proposed Lake County segment on a 1910 map. I still need to clear up which railroad this was as well as spend a day in Napa researching that part of the survey. Of course if we were to create a cycle event shadowing the old aborted railroad project we would be under no obligation to keep the original boring name of the railroad as the name of the bike tour. Langtry Limited or Konocti Kannonball anyone?

 People are shocked, shocked I say, when I tell them I chose a bicycle centered lifestyle, augmented by carpools, transit, rentals, taxis, and good old walking. Surely, I must have gotten a DUI, have a temporary mechanical problem, or are severely impaired physically or mentally. Sportsters are given a pass if they display the full assemblage of neon spandex and accessories. That’s not me. I do mostly working runs. Even the sustainability crowd aren’t convinced, who are nursing a beater until they can buy a hybrid.

Report from Driver 39

By Dante DeAmicis

 This just in from the Lake Transit Economics Department: Lower Wages are good for Lake County. On September 1st we will know how many 11 to 12 dollar an hour drivers have been axed for $10.48 an hour replacement drivers. Inquiring minds want to know, “How is paying lower wages going to help Lake County?” Its simple, by making it harder for people here who have to work for a living we will be encouraging these people to leave and be replaced by bon vivants who have independent means, preferably from Napa. This follows the real estate credo: “The only good buck is a fast buck.” No doubt the Transit Authority knows where their bread is buttered and has signed on to policies that have made Lake County the booming metropolis that it is today.

 There will probably be a net increase in that high-roller EDD money pouring into the County. Since the State is struggling to stay afloat, it makes sense to the goober brain trust to get as many people on unemployment as we can while the money is still there. The strategy of replacing working people with recipients of meager unemployment checks is related to General Cornwallis’ tactic of firing cannon on his own troops during the American Revolution. Not only did it ensure a win, it cut down on food costs.

 Many non bus riders have had a hard time wrapping their mind around transit issues except when someone puts a bus stop sign in front of their house and Jesus tells them to take a hacksaw to it. The problem is that Transit Authority meetings lack the entertainment value of a Clearlake City Council meeting. News coverage about buses is a total snoozer.

 First off, taking a Paratransit guy from Washington and a Teamster guy from the Bay Area does not make them interesting just because you put them in Lake County, churning out official statements. Instead, I recommend that local media ignore the suits and focus on Operations Manager Wanda Gray and senior driver and organizer April Allen. If there’s going to be a fight, we want it to be an all local, high-powered bitch fight. Randy and Ralph look terrible on video.

 Next, since the the TA is where the big money is, the meetings have an obligation to be exciting since money is supposed to be exciting. Oh, Board Member Chuck Leonard does what he can with his rabid anti-unionism and open disgust with poor people in general. But one man can only do so much without a foil. There are two at-large seats on the Board. I certainly wouldn’t advocate replacing Chuck for the frivolous reason that he only represents the upper crust of Lake County’s day-old bakery. No, since its all about entertainment I recommend replacing the other at-large Member with a slogan chanting union goon. Someone like former union organizer Tim Williams might create some sparks with the old union buster.

 Have we forgotten anything? Oh yes, the children. There is an educational opportunity here to include them in the controversy. We just might have the local equivalent of Jeff Foxworthy’s “Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader?” The “Are You Smarter than a Bus Rider” version would feature local elementary school kids pitted against Paratransit business wonks. These are the guys who said 2 out of 39 was “.05%.” Second guess: “Well, not even 1%, no wait, I’d like to buy an exclamation point.”

 I hope the kids don’t humiliate them too badly.