Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Driving to the Mountain

I've been giving a lot of thought to buying winter tires or chains so I can go up to Meadows as much as possible this season. It seems like most of the pros are outweighing the cons.

Right now here are the options I have to get to the mountain:
Greasebus: $15 on weekdays, $20 on weekends
Park & Ride Bus: $30 weekends - not sure about weekdays, put probably $25
Carpool with Aundria and her Boyfriend: Price of gas probably $5 - $10
Carpool with Nate: Price of gas $5 - $10 depending on how many people
Carpool with Sarie and her friends: price of gas? $5?

The other option would be to find someone else on CL to carpool with but I reached out to a few people and Portland is THE MECCA for flaky people. I'd like to have something secured for the whole season.

The main issue I have with the buses is the cost. Ideally I want to try and go to the mountain 6 times a month (every weekend plus 1 weekday every other week). On the cheap greasebus, if I got seats (20 people max) that puts me at $110/month. The ski season lasts through May so we're talking about $500 or so in just transportation costs.

The cheapest option would be carpooling, but the problem with that are the times everyone is available...or not available. Even at an average $8 ride if I were able to make that work on the days I'd like to go, it would be about $45/month at best.

Carpool people: Nate is a really nice guy and fun to hang with at the mtn but he's not bought chains yet and while it seems fine up there now I worry about the weather. Plus, my car is quite a bit nicer and more comfortable. Aundria is probably my best friend here and I'm so stoked she got into skiing (and subsequently the reason why I finally got a pass!) but she also has a really busy schedule and I know there will definitely be weekends when she'll want to go up alone with her boyfriend, Chris - which is totally understandable. I don't want anyone to feel obligated to take me along each time. I'm not sure how often Sarie goes up but the first time she went they stayed overnight in a bunk house for $20/each. This is cool but it won't be something I can do too often. I think having snow tires or chains would be a way I can get some of my friends to the mountain too as there are times when some won't be able to go.

I'm determined to get as much out of my ski pass as possible! Haha!

The price of chains for my car would be $70 new from Les Schwab. I found some off craigslist for $40-$50 that were in good shape too. This would be the obvious choice because of price, but I'm leery about driving with chains and it seems like a pain to put them on/take them off.

The price for winter tires is about $350 - $400. I found some nice ones on craigslist that would fit my car for $200 but truth be told, I will be using my one credit card and paying it back over the next couple months. Plus, Les Schwab has a really good warranty policy and they've been good to me. If I got tires I would definitely post rideshares up on craigslist to try and recoup gas money for each trip. I'm sure I could find at least one person on most days and idealistically maybe a regular passenger for a specific day each week. If I can get $10/person then I'm making more than enough for gas. ($5/each for friends as long as there are 2 people)

Gosh, I'm such an accountant.

See the thing is, I'm kind of a control freak and I like to drive my own car. I like to set my own schedule too. I get motion sickness in cars if I'm in the backseat for too long and almost always start to feel a little dizzy on buses. I also trust myself a lot more than anyone else on snow and ice because I had to drive on it all the time back in the Adirondacks.

Maybe this entry is just my way of justifying this, yet another, expensive, but somewhat reasonable purchase. I'm at least going to look into it sometime this week before Sunday, when I plan to go up with Aundria and her awesome daughter, Sequoia. This time I am going to bring my camera so I can snap a few pictures because it is SO beautiful from the top of the mountain. Plus, having my own car means I can go back to the parking lot and drop stuff off like my camera or store warm clothes in there if I wipe out. And superglue! The bus and carpooling doesn't allow for that kind of instant gratification.

If my tires are still in decent condition (they should be!) then I might just opt for chains but I know having winter tires would make me feel a lot better. I'm not very good at learning not to dive head first into expensive sports, but I have to keep reminding myself that tires will last for a long time (as I'd change them back in spring) and so will my ski gear. This year it's expensive but ongoing costs are not nearly as much.

This entry was brought to you by my brain on numbers!

PS - I'm taking my stitches out on Thursday, a day early, and doing it myself to save money. My chin is looking pretty good and healing up nicely! I've got a very sore upper back, shoulders and neck but besides that I'm feeling great. Life is good! It's so nice to have some fun activity to look forward to again! Hopefully I'll be able to do a little bit of running sometime soon. I sure miss it.

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