Location, location, location. That is really the only way Elsa and I have managed to successfully experience our first car-free weekend.
About a year and a half ago, Jon and I finally transitioned to a one-car household. We were living downtown at the time and Jon had a lengthy six-block commute to work while I often rode my bike the one mile to the community college. Even if I had errands that took me a bit farther from home, there was almost always one car parked in the garage at all times.
So, in December 2012, we donated my beloved 2000 Cavalier and traded in Jon's car...for a hybrid, naturally. While the Ford C-Max doesn't get the gas mileage it promised, we are very pleased. Sharing a car has also been very pleasing. Jon commutes to work by bicycle, so I have the car during the day when I need it. We have even figured out the sweet spot for the driver's seat, so the only thing we ever have to adjust are the mirrors (and sometimes the radio station).
However, once a month, Jon needs the car in order to get to his duty station for his drill weekends with the Reserves. This predicament leaves us with three options: a) Elsa and I get up super-early and drop him off, b) Jon rents a car, or c) Jon takes the car leaving Elsa and I car-free. We've done all three for various reasons, but I think the one we'll rely on the most is option C.
We've been without a car for a random day here and there, and it hasn't been too big of a deal to just stay home. However, the prospect of an entire weekend stuck at home left me with a feeling of cabin-fever, so I started to plan.
One of the reasons we moved to our house is its proximity to work and play. Living downtown spoiled us by allowing us to be so close to the things we wanted and needed to do, and thankfully, I can say that we haven't sacrificed that by moving a few miles away.
Now that Elsa is sturdier, she is a good passenger in our bike trailer/jogging stroller. That and another more compact stroller became our main modes of transportation on our car-free weekend. On Friday, we were able to keep up our routine trip to the grocery store, which is a short 1.25 miles away. I got a jog in, and while the jogging stroller is quite spacious, knowing that I had to push it back home forced me to stick to my grocery list.
Our outing of the day on Saturday was a short walk to a restaurant and business district known as Overton Square for a crawfish festival. Elsa tried her first "crawdad," and I am pleased to say that she enjoyed it...even if I probably shouldn't have given her shellfish. On Sunday, we wanted to go to church for Palm Sunday. This was the trickiest venture as neither of our churches (we attend both a Catholic church and a Lutheran one) are within walking distance any longer. So, we used this challenge as an excuse to attend Memphis's cathedral.
It may not sound like much, but we had a successful car-free weekend. We were inspired by the city of Memphis's challenge of a car-free month. While that duration is currently a bit out of our reach, it was freeing to know we didn't have to depend on a car to get around.