I find that maybe I should have been keeping track of a few more things during my “Green Birding Mendo” year. My final total for carbon producing truck miles saved was 2929 miles. I could have easily broken the 3000 mile barrier with just another trip over to Ukiah but my final birds to chase were on the coast. Maybe I should have kept a record of how many bus miles I rode.
Taken from the MTA Facebook page. Unknown photographer.
Maybe I should have recorded how many senior bus passes I used during the year. Maybe I should have recorded the bike miles. Maybe I should have kept track of how much money I saved biking and riding the bus. Well I didn’t, so we will never know those stats.
I do know that I completed two Save Our Shorebirds (SOS) surveys at Virgin Creek Beach and a trip over to Ukiah without using my truck. They were totally bus and bike trips. I’m proud of those trips but wouldn’t want to make a habit of doing them because of the ride up Little River Airport Road which is bad enough but in the winter they would be in the dark.
My main goal was to reduce my birding carbon footprint during the year. I only filled my truck 8 times, an average of once every month and a half. Most of that was used to get to bus stops and the necessities of life.
I made 8 trips over to Ukiah by bus. Normally I wouldn’t do that more than 3 times but a round trip was only $5.00 for this senior birder. My trips to Ukiah included two bike rides to the top of the Mendocino Dam, two to Mendocino College and one, with the help of Chuck Vaughn, to the Hopland University Research and Extension Center.
I especially want to thank Chuck for allowing me to hitch a ride with him several times. Thanks also to David Jenson, Alison Cebula, Adam Hutchins, and Ron LeValley for rides during the year.
I extensively birded in six California State Parks and Stations, three Mendocino Land Trust Projects, and a botanical garden. Throw in a waste treatment plant, a couple of cemeteries, a couple of city parks, an airport, and a lumberyard to get a sense of my efforts. The Haul Road between the Pudding Creek Trestle and Ward Ave. became a major biking artery for my birding. I now know every bump and hole personally and will welcome the planned repairs to the road.
I had two flat tires and about 7 or 8 broken spokes during the year. Thanks goes to Jason at “Catch a Canoe & Bicycles, Too!” for keeping me on the road and helping me relearn, after many years, how to fix a flat.
There was only one time when the bus failed to show up. It had broken down in Albion. A replacement bus was on the way but I couldn’t wait for it. I think that’s a fantastic record for the amount of times I rode the MTA. There were many late buses but they were mostly caused by work being done on the roads and bridges in Mendocino County. There were also delays due to a movie being shot on the coast. These are not normal events. Thanks to Lyle, who works in Willets, for riding the bus so I could use the early bus pickup in Mendocino and add some birding time to my day. Thanks to all the nice and helpful MTA bus drivers and bus riders for making my rides entertaining. It was a learning experience. Thanks to my wife for putting up with all this during the year.
Places I couldn’t get to were the Mendocino National Forest, the South Mendocino Coast (except for the Mendocino Coast Audubon’s hawk watching trip), and north of Ten Mile Bridge (except for the Usal Beach trip). I had planned a trip over to the Willet’s Waste Treatment Plant but they closed it to birders early in the year.
I suffered no falls or illness during my year. I did have one near miss on North State Street on my way to the Mendocino Dam. A car making a left turn across traffic couldn’t see me because the sun was in his eyes. He told me, “don’t cop an attitude. The sun was in my eyes”. I had to smile and went on my way.
There were only a few times that bus schedules got in my way. I got to know now long it took me to get from Ward Ave. to my bus stop near Denny’s or my home to the Mendocino bus stop. A couple of times I had to rush pass people I knew to make it in time.
I was only offered illegal drugs twice by the local homeless and learned a little about the effects of mushrooms.
Only few times, while I was biking the Haul Rd. in 20-30mph headwinds or sub-freezing temperatures, did I ask myself about why I came up with this brilliant idea.