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New route

I just got back from a walk, and stumbled onto an alternate route home that I much prefer. For most of my time living here, when I moved in back in February, I'd either take the 70 home, or take the MAX mass transit light rail if the 70 wasn't possible or wasn't fast enough. And the main route to/from the MAX station was across this little ridge along the Springwater Corridor. Which is lovely in the day, and scary at night. But I used it for a month and a half before an incident scared me into finding a new route. Nothing major, just a large group of men on the path at night making me nervous enough that I haven't taken that route since then, not at night anyway.

The path I had been taking instead, recently, was along McLaughlin, crossing the street, and finding Ochoco Street, then 19th, then home. I preferred it because... well, the Springwater route is up on a ridge that's high up enough falling down would get you hurt - especially with all the Himalayan blackberry bushes along it. Which means if someone blocked your way on that path on one side and then on the other, you'd have nowhere to go that didn't risk injury. Either risk injury from the people blocking your way, or cuts and scratches from the prickly blackberry tangles and possibly getting stuck, or falling into the Johnson Creek and drowning. So not very safe, doesn't inspire confidence.

The McLaughlin route, however, has plenty of room to run into to escape if need be, is well lit, and there's hardly anyone walking it even in the daytime. But McLaughlin itself is hard to cross because there's this weird divider along the road that means you can only cross the street at crosswalks.

Anyway, so today for random reasons, I was looking on Google Maps. I have a hard time translating map data into something my brain can use, so every time Brooke ([personal profile] kengr) says to explore around the neighborhood on Google Maps, I kind of roll my eyes. I do do that, but it's never as informative as actually walking the neighborhood. There's loads of businesses that don't even show up on Google Maps even if you zoom all the way in, some of the businesses that do show up are are actually out of business, others have changed their name (the Foster's Deli nearby recently changed their name, just in the last week or so, for instance), and some of the business names are not very informative; for many of those, even clicking on them shows nothing useful coming up about them, either.

Also, the maps in Google Maps don't bear much resemblance to the land itself, at least not to my eye. The Max station just looks like a blank spot with a couple names on it, for instance. Honestly it looks more like farmland on the map, to me.

Anyway, so I was getting frustrated with the usual map and switched to satellite, when I was on Google Maps earlier today. And when I did that, I noticed what looked like a street leading right from the MAX station to 19th, a street labeled Tacoma. But even in the satellite map I wasn't sure. Part of why I wasn't sure is because distances are hard for me to judge on a map. On the map, it looks like it's about three or four blocks between the MAX station and Tacoma. (Spoiler alert: it isn't that far. Maybe 1 block at most.)

Feeling restless, I went outside for a walk, with no particular direction in mind. But once I got out of the parking lot, with the recent Google Maps session fresh in my mind, I went walking down 20th.

I'm glad I did, too. First of all, there's this weird little semi-spherical green building that has something to do with cleaning Johnson Creek along that route, a building that has a botanical garden in its yard, the whole lot surrounded by chain link fence and a No Trespassing sign, which was odd. (It doesn't show up on Google Maps at all, either; I just checked.)

Then there was a little area further along the way that gives a closer view of Johnson Creek and has a sign about the conservation efforts, and something about salmon on it. It had the word "salmonoids," which sounds funny, like an invading alien race from a B movie.

While at that spot, I happened to look down the street and saw McLaughlin. Intrigued to find it so soon (I wasn't even on Tacoma yet), I went that way. There's a steakhouse right there on McLaughlin, though I suspect it's also a strip club.

Anyway, I went on and found that yes, it would be very easy and a lot faster to get home from the MAX station by going along Tacoma across McLaughlin and from there to 19th or 20th. In fact, I once accidentally got out of the 291 bus on the other side of Tacoma.1 Perhaps not faster, but easier. The only hill is a gentle incline from the MAX station up to Tacoma, and then downhill towards 19th/20th, and the rest is residential. No waiting a long time for the light to cross McLaughlin, less time spent by a noisy road, more time spent in safe residential territory. It shall now be my new route home.

But my adventure didn't stop there. I continued on along Tacoma, eventually ending up on Johnson Creek Blvd. I walked a bit further, found a 75 stop, discovered I had left my phone at home, and waited for the 75. Found a beer can that didn't smell of beer, picked it up. Took the 75 to Milwaukie, found two bottles to take home, took the 70 back to Ochoco, walked the rest of the way home.

I say all that because along the way, I discovered an easier route from the Johnson Creek Blvd area to home, along Tacoma. (I am sometimes in that area because of the 75 bus.) The previous route home from there involved a lot of trudging up hills around Sherret until I got to the Springwater Corridor. I would much rather walk a largely flat route on well-lit sidewalks along Tacoma at night, even with the noise of the cars, than up a bunch of difficult hills and through Springwater Corridor at night. For that matter, the flatness of the new route makes it better for daytime travel as well.

Checking Google Maps again, it turns out that when I was on Tacoma near Johnson Creek Blvd, I got really close to Tildeman Johnson City Park, and only didn't go in because I saw a sign for Eastmoreland Racquet Club and didn't realize that the club was inside a park. The sign looked like a sign for a city park, which confused me until I found out the racquet club is in a park.

There's also something called Winslow Food Forest in the area, but since that's along Sherret instead of Johnson Creek Blvd, I didn't see it when I was there.

Oh yeah, and if I had gone farther than I did, I might have spotted something called Jean's Farm--Learning Gardens," which looks neat in the photos. You wouldn't know it was in a city at all, if you just had the photos to go by.

So yeah, that was edutainment. :) May go for another walk on Wednesday. Hungry now, though.

1 = Not knowing the area at the time, I went across Tacoma, down to the MAX, and up along the Springwater Corridor route. I feel silly now, knowing I could have shaved 10 minutes off my route rather than adding an extra 10 minutes. But, live and learn.

This was cross-posted from https://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1437272.html
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