Peek the TOC!

A Preview of the (Draft!) Cover and Table of Contents

Seems time to give folks more of in idea of what to expect from The Transit Trekker Manual. So here’s a draft — and I emphasize draft — of the current working cover concept and the table of contents (TOC).

NB: I will try to include at least one trip in each subregion listed in the TOC, but can’t guarantee that — some regions of Washington state really have near-zero transit service. Read on below the embedded PDF if you’re interested in learning about that and other choices I’m making.


(I’m still on a learning curve for creating accessible PDFs; if you use a screen reader and this embed is not legible, please leave a comment and I’ll follow up with you.)

Why go to the effort of including trips in regions that have poor transit service? Because it’s important to highlight the underserved parts of the state that need deserve better transit for their communities — and to show the possibilities for transit-based recreation.

The division of regions and subregions in the TOC follows only my own logic based on a loose approximation of how I have seen other regional outdoor guide books divide the state up, how I think about the state, and, to some degree, where transit service is and isn’t robust. The TOC is roughly organized to place regions with more transit-based recreation opportunities higher and those with fewer opportunities lower. However, I’m hoping to include a Destination Index that allows folks living beyond the state’s larger population centers to find a list of the easier transit treks near their communities.

One reason I chose to use manual as part of the title in lieu of the other obvious choices —guide or travel guide — is its connotation of practicality. A manual is a book of instructions for how to do use a tool or create some thing. That choice helped me solve the problem of how I would pay for design and branding with a budget of $0: around the time I settled on the idea of this being a manual, I happened to also be reviewing my old Bernina sewing machine’s manual. Although dated, it was still imminently useful, designed to make its contents easy to find and use. Why not go with the plain aesthetic and solve my branding, design, and budget limitations all at the same time?

I work on an iMac and iPad, so I purchased an inexpensive Pages template for a manual that I liked the look of. I’m using that template as my basic book format, customizing as my needs demand. For icons that I don’t have available in my existing software, I’m purchasing very affordable licenses from The Noun Project.

In the next few weeks I hope to post a sample trip guide to give you an much better idea of the kinds of detail The Transit Trekker Manual will include. Check back!

In the meantime, here’s a few asks if you’ve read this far:

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Transit Trekker Endorses The Transportation Bill of Rights

The shoulder of a 35 mph road on the outskirts of Bremerton, Washington state. The road is located in a relatively undeveloped area, so it is lined mostly with trees, shrubs, and gravel, with a telephone pole in the middle distance. There is no sidewalk. The asphalt shoulder is about 18 inches wide, with an additional 18 inches of gravel, then a little border of grass and a small ditch. It's not very walkable, and it's definitely not something that would be reasonable to navigate along with a wheelchair.

The shoulder of NE Sylvan Way in Bremerton, WA, on a recent Transit Trek to Illahee State Park.

Transit Trekker endorses The Transportation Bill of Rights.

The Transit Trekker Manual will, I hope, be a source of at least a little income for me. It’s also an opportunity to build support for increasing funding for rural transit. I’m navigating a steep learning curve when it comes to familiarizing myself with how and how much rural transit is — or more often, is not — funded, so that I can take every opportunity to encourage folks who pick up the manual to advocate for rural transit. While I have enjoyed Trailhead Direct, rural and exurban communities deserve reliable, frequent transit. Expanding rural transit will support communities while by default making much transit-based recreation easier.

I also hope that the manual can prompt the outdoor recreation industry to push for rural transit access. There are probably some economic development analyses out there that I have yet to come across, but I would be surprised if rural communities with better transit that are near to recreation centers aren’t better off after the arrival or expansion of that transit service. (If you know of any such analyses, please post in the comments.)

And, even if it is not the case that rural transit supports the outdoor recreation economy, transit-reliant non-drivers deserve reliable access to transportation, and the cost of providing that pales in comparison to the absurd amounts we spend on highway expansion here in Washington state.

Finally, I want to emphasize that transit access is one part of the Transportation Bill of Rights. It is a holistic framework that recognizes the confluence of almost every key issue we face, including housing security, transportation access, the limits of law enforcement, climate change, and climate justice.