$5 Challenge Met

One down, one to go. Met the challenge I set to travel to an art show in Fort Worth for five dollars*. Felt a tad untethered and out of the driver's seat, but enjoyed the experience.

I bought my five dollar premium day pass at the Arapaho Station, and rode a DART light rail train to Union Station in downtown Dallas. Hadn't worked out the bugs to minimize wait durations at transfer points, so I had too much time to watch children feeding Cheetos to very scruffy pigeons. There were several women my age waiting to ride the Trinity Railway Express on their own field trip challenges. There were also several persons who talked loudly to themselves without cell phones, and one man doing a fearful version of Michael Jackson's "Moon Walk" dance around a fallen leaf on the Amtrak platform.

The double-decker Trinity Railway Express, or TRE, is neither a bullet train nor a scenic excursion ride. The pace is "I think I can" slow but smooth, with mostly uninspiring views out the double-decker windows. Still, it would cost far more to drive the Buick to Fort Worth.

On arrival at the Fort Worth Intermodal Transit Center downtown, I eventually figured out my #7 bus route and departure bay to ride the T to the vicinity of the Kimbell Art Museum. The ITC station was cleaner and more appealing than the Dallas Union Station due to fewer pigeons.

The T bus drivers are friendly, helpful, and glad to be ambassadors for their city. I rode three route #7 buses, and each driver gave clear explanations for walking to my destination from the bus stop, and for catching my inbound bus to the ITC. Each bus has a bike carrier on the front. It takes just a few seconds for a passenger to load or unload a bike from the carrier. (Not that I was biking, but a very cool possibility.)

The incredible Impressionist art on view at the Kimbell Museum is from the Chicago Art Institute. I wanted to savor the experience, and not try to cram more museums into my day. Instead boarded bus # 7 for a short ride to the entry of the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens. Took a long walk through the park and the Japanese Garden. It's easy to imagine Monet enjoying the Japanese Garden. The begonia greenhouse brought fond memories of my watercolor professor, Mr. Butt. His classroom was filled with as many varieties of begonia as the Botanic Garden greenhouse, but with bonus bromeliads, cigar aroma, and piano jazz.

Microsoft makes it possible for all of us to maximize and minimize the windows open on our computer screen. Aging and blogging help me apply that concept to experiences in the present and memories of the past. Open the window wide!

My eight-hour vacation included four trains and three bus rides. Riding the TRE gave me two hours to finish a good book .

*$5 PREMIUM Day Pass
Travel in both Dallas and Fort Worth metropolitan areas. Valid on all DART buses and trains, DART On-Call, TRE trains (from Union Station to T&P Station), and The T in Fort Worth.

© 2008 Nancy L. Ruder

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