Saturday, June 30, 2012

44 BART stations in 5 hours 37 minutes

Please look for a more in-depth post about this journey on Crasstalk shortly.  For now, enjoy these photos and running commentary:

In order, I did the Yellow, Red, Orange, and Blue lines.

Lafayette station, the starting point.  Those white dots on the hill in the background are crosses that represent every American soldier killed in Iraq.

6:07 a.m.  I can't find my hand sanitizer.  How am I going to eat the pretzels and dry cereal I am bringing to snack on?  Okay, I just won't touch anything.

6:19.  I buy the $5.20 excursion fare at the Lafayette station (1st of 44).  This allows anyone to travel to as many stations as they want, so long as they don't exit any other stations and return to the original station.  There is a three hour time limit.  This trip will take longer than that, and I don't know what BART is going to charge me.

6:20.  I absent-mindedly touch the escalator handrail with my right hand.  Now it's soiled.

6:30.  The 6:30 train to Pittsburg/Bay Point is late.

6:34.  I get on the Pittsburg/Bay Point train.

6:36.  My dirty right hand just clasped with my left hand.  Both hands are now contaminated.  Ugh.

6:39.  Walnut Creek station (2nd of 44).

6:41.  Pleasant Hill station (3rd of 44).

6:46.  Concord station (4th of 44).

6:49.  North Concord station (5th of 44).

6:52.  I am in the exurbs now.  Pittsburg caused the worldwide financial crisis.  At the peak of the housing bubble, houses there jumped from $125,000 to $500,000 plus.  When the bubble burst and prices collapsed, it ruined those who borrowed to buy at the market's peak and homeowners who used the inflated equity as their personal ATM machines.

Classic car in front of Mt. Diablo.  Devil-hating citizens want to change the name to Mt. Reagan. 

6:56.  Arrive at Pittsburg (6th of 44), the end of the Yellow Line.  The same train I just rode on will be taking me to the Millbrae station, so I won't even have to get off.  I notice that the disheveled guy in my train car is also staying on board.  I come to the realization that he is homeless and is going to ride the train all day because he has nowhere else to go.

6:58.  Leave Pittsburg.

7:06.  There are a lot of Spanish place names in California.  The largest cities-- Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco-- are all Spanish.  A significant number of BART stations have Spanish names as well.

7:19.  Back in Lafayette and zooming towards Millbrae.

7:26.  Orinda station (7th of 44).

7:32.  Rockridge station (8th of 44).  The lady sitting next to me is reading a trashy novel with a half naked fireman on the cover.

7:35.  MacArthur station (9th of 44).  I'm getting motion sickness.  Not good.

7:38.  19th Street Oakland station (10th of 44).

7:40.  12th Street Oakland station (11th of 44).

7:45.  West Oakland station (12th of 44).

Port of Oakland in the background.  Urban legend has it that those white cranes inspired George Lucas's AT-ATs.

7:47.  The train goes underground and underwater, into the Transbay Tube.  It connects Oakland with San Francisco.  I'm always afraid while riding in it that there is going to be an earthquake and we're all going to drown.

7:51.  Embarcadero station (13th of 44).  This is the first of many San Francisco stations.

7:53.  Montgomery station (14th of 44).  

7:55.  Powell station (15th of 44).

7:56.  Civic Center station (16th of 44).

7:59.  16th Street Mission station (17th of 44).

8:01.  24th Street Mission station (18th of 44).

8:03.  Glen Park station (19th of 44).

8:06.  Balboa Park station (20th of 44).

8:08.  San Francisco sure is foggy.   

8:09.  Daly City station (21st of 44).

8:13.  Colma station (22nd of 44).

8:17.  South San Francisco station (23rd of 44).

8:20.  San Bruno station (24th of 44).

8:24.  San Francisco International Airport station (25th of 44).

8:29.  Millbrae station (26th of 44), the other end of the Yellow Line.  Wow, there is hardly any time to rest.  This train is turning back towards the East Bay.  I've got the bulk of the trip done.  Now, it's just the spurs.

8:42.  Train leaves Millbrae.

8:54.  I wonder if that homeless guy that has been sitting there since I got on-board at 6:34 is wondering why I'm not getting off the train either.

9:22.  A gaggle of sorority pledges enter the train car.  They are loud and look like they are ready to hit the clubs (except it's 9:22 in the morning).  For some reason, they are having a discussion about the Eurozone crisis.  "Like, OMG, Italy is going to totally suffer the same fate as Greece and Spain, you guys."

9:30.  I make the dash across the platform at 12th Street Oakland to catch the Richmond-bound train.

9:41.  Ashby station (27th of 44).

9:43.  Berkeley station (28th of 44).

9:45.  North Berkeley station (29th of 44).

9:49.  El Cerrito Plaza station (30th of 44).

9:52.  El Cerrito del Norte station (31st of 44).

Marin County's Mt. Tamalpais in the background. 

9:56.  Richmond station (32nd of 44), the end of another line.  I gotta use the WC.  But before I do that, I help an old lady with her suitcase down some stairs.

The bathroom is surprisingly clean.

The first time I rode on BART, I took the train from Berkeley to Richmond.  It was my freshman year, 1992.  We were protesting the oil refineries which were emitting toxic chemicals into the air (while thousands of poor people lived adjacent to said refineries).

10:15.  I get on the Richmond to Fremont train.  There is another homeless man sleeping in the train car.

I assume that the city of El Cerrito (the little hill) is named because of that little hill in the background.

You can just make out San Francisco in the background. 

10:46.  Lake Merritt station (33rd of 44).

10:49.  Fruitvale station (34th of 44).

10:53.  Coliseum/Oakland Airport station (35th of 44).  This is where the Raiders and Athletics play.

10:57.  San Leandro station (36th of 44).

11:00.  Bay Fair station (37th of 44).

11:04.  Hayward station (38th of 44).

11:07.  My rear end is feeling numb again.

11:08.  South Hayward station (39th of 44).

11:15.  Union City station (40th of 44).

11:19.  Arrive at Fremont station (41st of 44).  This town is named after John C. Fremont, aka the Pathfinder.  I wrote a report about him in elementary school.  That homeless guy from Richmond is still sleeping.

11:28.  Either I or the seat smells like wet dog.

11:35.  Leave Fremont.  I have to double back to Bay Fair and transfer.

11:39.  I'm exhausted.

11:46.  Why do people with headphones have to listen to their music so LOUDLY?

11:49.  Why do people walk on railroad tracks while talking on their cell phone and wearing high heels?

11:52.  Bay Fair transfer.

11:54.  Just got on the Dublin train.  My low back hurts.

11:58.  Castro Valley station (42nd of 44).

11:59.  The track runs parallel with a section of the 580 freeway that's named after my buddy Dan.  Just know that whenever you see a memorial sign like that on the side of the road, the person being commemorated was someone's son, father, husband, brother, and friend.

12:09 p.m.  West Dublin station (43rd of 44).

12:11.  Dublin/Pleasanton station (44th of 44).  Mission accomplished.  It took me 5 hours and 37 minutes to visit all 44 stations.  Time to go home.

12:35.  Shoot, I just realized that I forgot to take a picture of the 44th and final station.

12:54.  I get off at Lake Merritt to make a transfer.  Before I got off, a large gang of guys in their early 20s got on the train, headed to a Giants baseball game.  They all seemed okay, except they were loud and very drunk.  They were passing around a bottle of Southern Comfort and an even larger bottle of Sprite as a chaser. Well, it got so rowdy that a concerned citizen/prude ratted them out to the train operator.  Word has it the BART cops were on their way.  I left before I saw what resulted.

12:58.  Useful trivia: There are no restrooms in any of the underground BART stations.

Remember how, 21 years ago, Magic Johnson announced that he had HIV, and we all thought he was going to die?  Also, Magic is a cool nickname.

Berkeley campus and Campanile tower in the background. 

1:32.  Back in Lafayette, where I started.  It took 6 hours and 58 minutes to visit every station and return to the original station.  I stick my $5.20 ticket into the turnstile and the machine tells me to SEE THE STATION AGENT.  I tell the agent my story.  He doesn't seem impressed.  He sticks my ticket into a giant machine in his booth.  He then pulls it out, gives it to me, and tells me to try the turnstile again.  I do and the gate opens for me.

The end.


Lukas said...

Cool. I thought about doing this with our buses, but it would take at least a week - infrequent services and long, meandering routes.

I like that there is specifically an excursion fare - whoda thunk it.

Rich said...

I can smell the seat fabric now. Lovely.

That there is called Albany Hill these days, oddly enough.

Maxichamp said...

@Lukas: The excursion fare is actually a euphemism to prevent fraud. It's to prevent turnstile jumpers from claiming they didn't go anywhere and therefore should not be required to pay a fare.

Maxichamp said...

@rchen: I used to love riding BART. Yesterday, the wife suggested that we BART to the Asian Art Museum. I said, no, I'm not going to ride BART for a very long time.