A big part of what kept me busy yesterday was making the commute more efficient. New express toll lanes on I-405 opened this week, and I didn't find the informational videos online very helpful. I decided to drive out there a couple of times and really examine how the system works in real life instead of jumping right in. After I did that Monday and Tuesday, I was ready to use them yesterday. In order to save a little money, I got the sticker that goes on the windshield, because if they have to read your plate and bill you, they add two dollars. The tolls have typically been 75 cents as I've been out there, so that would more than triple it. No thanks. The pass is $5, but that pays for itself rather quickly when you save $2 a pop.
So yesterday after my walk was a mad rush to obtain the sticker, apply it correctly, and get it registered on the site. We were already set up for pay-by-plate, and that's at the account level, so I couldn't just add the sticker to the car in the system. So I set up another account for my car, encountered a site error, chose a new user name because I couldn't complete the registration with the first one, discovered I couldn't add my car to the account until I pulled it off the old account, did that, and finally got everything set up. Neither of yesterday's trips have deducted from my account, so I hope it was set up in the system in time. There was no warning that you need to wait a day or anything.
The express lanes are AWESOME. I can get on it right away once I get on the 405 and stay on up until right before my exit. I was worried about being able to get across in time to exit, but I managed to do it both ways. There was a lot of traffic coming home, but it only took me 50 minutes. I think it would have easily been another 45 minutes added to that if I wasn't using the express lane. The extra time at home was really handy, because we found out once we started our meeting yesterday that we would have to test some stuff last night so the new features on our tool could be rolled out this morning. I never work in the evening and was pretty bummed about it, but I was able to plow through it pretty quickly.
But enough about the boring parts of my day. There was a walk!
It was very foggy again yesterday, pretty much everywhere until right when I arrived at the dog park at the base of the gulch. There was a little wisp up at the top, so I decided I'd climb up to the ballfields.
I found this sitting at the start of the center trail and wondered why it was there.
It was immediately obvious that they were widening the trail with it. Nice!
Partway up to the ballfields is the "garbage fire" plateau I've posted about before. You can see that garbage can in this picture. I was excited to see the fog was getting thicker!
I've taken these exact photos several times, but never with any fog blocking the view of the other side.
A lovely old tree posing proudly.
There's one little rarely-used trail that I've never gone up because it's pretty steep, and I'm always saying I won't go up anything that I'd be afraid to climb back down. It looked like it might lead up to the ballfield, but since I couldn't really tell if it went all the way through, I just stayed off. I decided to finally go up it. The climb wasn't that bad, but it's pretty obvious once you get there that nobody uses it much. It barely looks like a trail.
I realized when I emerged that I've actually gone down it several times! So all that anxiety about having to come down it was for nothing. That made me acknowledge that there's always value in following looping routes, even in familiar places, in order to gain an even deeper level of familiarity. So that's what the rest of the route was about, exploring those familiar areas to see how they're doing as we change seasons.
5.07 miles in 1:57, 10,903 steps, 491ft gain
I walked in and out of the fog several times. It was nice. The fog rolled into more of the gulch by the time I got to the bottom. Here's a comparison shot at the dog park from the end of the walk.
I've got another half our or so before it's time to head out to campus one last time this week. Tomorrow will be much more normal. There was no time for a walk today, but that's fine because my back wanted some yoga.