Committed Commuters

Anakaren Garcia, Staff Reporter

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School time means driving time for the commuters of CWU. As a commuter myself, I know the struggles one can face during the 40-minute drive, from fighting sleep to worrying if you’re going to have enough gas to get you to school and back home.

I’ve been driving to CWU from Yakima CWU for a year now. In the time I’ve been driving to and from school, I’ve sang my heart out to all my favorite songs, worried about whether or not I would have enough gas to last me the trip, and even almost fallen asleep at the wheel, as bad as that sounds.

All in all, the trip isn’t a bad one. However, I’m going to give you future and current commuters some tips on how to save money and survive the CWU commute.

Saving That Sh’money

Driving five days out of the week can be expensive, especially when gas prices increase frequently. So, what do you do? Check out your current financial situation and check out gas prices at different stations.

  • I spend $400 a quarter on gas. I know it seems like a lot, but when you break it up into weeks it’s only $40 a week, which sounds a little more reasonable, right? So, every other week, pull aside $80 or so, depending on how much gas your car uses, from your paychecks or from your financial aid money and you won’t have to worry about not having enough money in your bank account.
  • Gas prices are never set in stone, and some gas prices differ depending on the station you’re pumping at. I either pump gas from the Am/Pm in Yakima, or the Chevron in Ellensburg before heading home. Right now in late May, gas prices are in the $3.30 – $3.50 range, but they weren’t like that at the beginning of spring quarter. I’ve noticed that gas prices are lower going to and coming from the highway in Ellensburg than they are anywhere else in town.

Drives, Rides & Rhymes

Whenever you’re driving a distance of 30 or more miles, it can get boring really fast.

  • Sure, driving for 40 or more minutes is all fun and games at first, but driving the same route everyday is exhausting. So, switch up your driving route every now and then. There are only two routes to CWU from Yakima, but the lesser-known one is worth taking every now and again. This route is through the Yakima Canyon. This route is known as the Scenic Drive from Yakima to Ellensburg. To go through this road, you’ll;
    • merge onto 1-82 W
    • Take exit 26 for WA-821 N toward WA-823/Selah
    • Turn left onto WA-821 N, go straight for 25 miles
    • Continue straight onto Canyon Rd for 5.5 miles
    • Turn right onto W University Way
    • You know the rest from here and you have arrived at your destination
  • Now, in case you’re like me and you get tired very easily, carpooling can be your best friend or rather, the person you’re carpooling with can be your best friend. Up until spring quarter I drove alone, and boy was that depressing at times Now twice a week I carpool with a friend and we talk during the whole drive to school. Carpooling gives you the opportunity to get to know someone you might not know as well, or it helps you get closer to someone you already have known. Whatever the case, carpooling can save you or someone else gas and it can help keep you awake.
  • But, if you don’t like the idea of carpooling– which is perfectly fine– the least you can do to help yourself out is by playing some music. I won’t tell you what kind of music to listen to because that’s unethical. However, in my past experiences of driving alone I’ve listened to everything from 90s hippop/rap to the newest country songs out right now. I listen to a little bit of everything. But I will say that I refuse to listen to slow and emotional songs, because well they just might work as lullabies for me. So, I always try and listen to the more upbeat songs. You know there’s always those songs that make you want to party, THOSE are the type of songs I’m talking about. The more they make you want to party, THE BETTER.

Naps are a Commuter’s Best Friend

Nothing is scarier or worse than being a sleepy commuter trying to make it back home after a long day at school and almost falling asleep at the wheel.

  • Believe me when I say that naps are your best friend, yeah, your music can be on and poppin’ but no beat can keep you up if you’re extremely tired. I take naps every day school and I have no shame. My favorite napping place is the boxed single chairs located on the second floor of the SURC. They’re really nice and closed off and there’s always two together. And if worst comes to worst, I sleep in the back seat of my car. During the winter time I used to have a blanket in my car and during my long breaks between classes I would just sleep in my car.
  • One thing is for sure, DON’T EVER BE ASHAMED OF TAKING NAPS! I’m lucky if I can make it through a day of not napping. I will sleep whenever and wherever I can because even though I only drive for 30-40 minutes, I drive that twice a day and every day during a whole school year. And it can take its toll on your body. So do what you have to do to stay awake.
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