Friday, November 27, 2009

The Night the World Walked Home

Ok so this is a gaming block but tonight was just too weird for it not be told somewhere.

Here is the breakdown of events:
16:30. Cold, Snowy. Windy. Buses backed up downtown. Wanting to catch the bus that will drop me off right at my door I began walking along the route looking for the 109.

16:45. I have walked about 4 or 5 blocks. The buses are not moving and I am getting cold so I hop on the first bus that will drop me off near my house. The 116. I brush the snow off myself and pop open my book.

17:30. The bus finally leaves the downtown core area going north on center street. Keep in mind I usually get home between 17:15 and 17:25. I am not too worried as this has happened before when they were doing some bridge work. Back then once we had left the core it was smooth sailing.

18:00. We have gotten as far as 16th avenue. For those of you that don't know Calgary, this is about a 15 minute walk from where we were 30 minutes ago. Traffic is not moving.

18:30. I have by this point read over 100 pages of my book and taken a 15 minute nap. The roads are literally ice. Cars are sliding everywhere and emergency vehicles are struggling to get by. Accidents are everywhere. We've passed two abandoned buses and there are lots of people on the side walks. The bus is roasting hot and has only moved a couple car lengths in the last 10 minutes. 4 of us at the back of the bus have had enough. One woman's husband tried to come get but discovered that the roads have been blocked off by the cops. There will be no rescue. We decide to walk.

I used to be a big runner and am built for it. Tall and thin. I do lots of walking and my pace is very fast. My wife hates hiking with me. I quickly lost the 4th person but the other 3 of us made good time as we marched north. Luckily the snow had stopped and it was actually quite nice out although still a bit cool.

19:00(approx.) We discover the source of the trouble. There is a big hill just before McKnight Blvd. Every single bus that had left the downtown area after 4pm was pulled over on the side of the road. None were moving. cars were smashed into each other and nothing was getting through. Why hadn't anyone told us this? We were now glad that we had decided to walk. It would be many many hours before any of the buses were going anywhere. There is a steady stream of people walking north. A few going south as well.

19:30(approx.) We run into another group of refugees, err I mean walkers. The guy I am walking with knows one of the women in the other group and stays to chat. The woman and I carry on.

20:00 We reach Beddington and the roads are now open. The woman calls her husband for a pick up (she lives in Coventry, the community north of where I live) and thanks me for walking her this far. She offers me a ride home but I decline. I can can catch a bus here to take me home but I decide to finish what I started. The night is lovely and I feel alive. The other walkers seem strangely content as well. I pick up the pace.

20:45 I get home. I even stopped at the liquor store near my house to pick up some Rum. I've had a carton of Eggnog for a week and it was getting lonely with out its wild and crazy pal.

So for some perspective I live just north of 96 Ave and I got off the bus around 30th Ave so I walked almost 70 city blocks in about 2 hours. Crazy fast. Extrapolating that out I estimate I could walk to work in about 3 hours. I think the total distance is 12-13km. Interesting since I had guessed that it would have taken 4+ hours before.

Anyway. I had a great walk home, met some interesting people, got lots of exorcise and got lots of fresh air. So despite all of the traffic misery I had a nice evening.

Not that I wish to repeat it anytime soon.


Rognar said...

Wild, man. My commute wasn't nearly so much of an adventure, but it was still hair-raising. Brentwood Rd. between Charleswood and the ramp onto Crowchild was locked solid. It took half an hour to drive from the U to Crowchild. Then from Brentwood to Crowfoot, I never got above 15 km/h. The hill from the Crowfoot LRT heading toward Stony Trail was littered with cars that couldn't make it up. I had to do a slalom up the hill, keeping my momentum up, while making sure not to hit any of the stuck cars. A drive that usually takes about 20 minutes took nearly an hour and a half.

A Paladin In Citadel said...

My trip home was 3 h 10 m. It's usually 25 m.

Wish I had been wearing boots instead of dress shoes! My feet were getting pretty chilly.

Derobane-bane said...

I got off work at 1:50 and went for drinks with some co-workers. Left the tavern around 3pm and drove home with no trouble or traffic. I was completely oblivious to the entire situation until buddies started swapping tales around the D&D table Saturday night.