i left at noon for the 1pm boston carnival parade. i asked cristine if she wanted to come, as another friend invited her out to walden pond later today. she was on the phone with her boyfriend discussing their NGO. she said would come later via subway, and i told her to get off at jackson square, which was the closest MBTA stop. since i'd be out in the sun all day, i had the foresight of spraying on sunblock in the bathroom before i left. that smell is the smell of summer.
i took the motorcycle as this was my quickest mode of transportation. the only thing was the tank was almost out of gas (trip odometer read 95 miles) and there wasn't any stations along the way (in hindsight, i forgot there was a gas station on hampshire-prospect). still, there should be enough gas in the reserve tank to get me to boston and back without any problems.
i rode onto beacon street for the very first time. for a short stretch it was nicely paved, but once it turned to crushed stone, it got pretty risky. i rode the whole way with my legs out, bracing for any potential slips. a car behind me even dangerously passed me because he thought i was going too slow. finally after park street the road was back to be paved again. construction on beacon won't end until november, in which point they will repave all the exposed roads and early stage cycle tracks will be put in place.
my route to roxbury was to go down mass ave into boston then take a right on tremont street (in the south end). the motorcycle began to act up around the christian science building, so i switched to the reserve tank. everything was fine until it came time to turn into roxbury from columbus avenue. i made a left on the wrong exit and had to improvise my way to marcella street to get to washington. i parked across the street from roxbury grocery. it was 12:40pm.
i've been going to these carnival parades since 2005, so more than a decade at this point (back then i was still rocking my nikon coolpix 4500). i've been going for so long (rain or shine), i recognize people from years past. i walked down martin luther king boulevard, getting a preview of the parade procession as people were still getting ready. i went to the corner of warren street and waited behind a light post for some shade.
the beginning of the parade is the most boring, just your slew of local politicians and interest groups. i saw the mayor and the police commissioner. will boston ever have a cool mayor? although menino was much beloved by the end of his career, he wasn't exactly what you call cool. his successor marty walsh put on a garish hawaiian shirt before changing it last minute to something much more muted. a few lucky constituents got their photo taken with the mayor while he was still in full-on hawaiian mode. there was also massachusetts senator (2nd suffolk district) sonia chang-diaz, who's a common sight at these parades, up for re-election this year.
i watched a bit from the corner, but my view kept getting blocked, whether it was from the rabble of other photogaphers, to turning semis, so i decided to follow the parade route south along warren street. there was one photographer that i found especially annoying, an old man grabbing a prosumer camera with one hand and a cane with the other. he seemed like a dirty old perv, and my suspicions were confirmed when one outgoing girl started shaking her body, he crashed through a sea of people just so he can direct his camera on her ass. that's when i decided to take my photography on the road.
when the parade first began i sent cristina my location. she replied half an hour later saying she was still on the subway with no bike. at 2pm i got a text telling me she'd arrived at jackson square. i accidentally gave her the wrong instructions, saying that the parade was moving north on warren street when in fact it was going south. she wrote me 30 minutes later saying she was at the intersection of washington-warren but there was nothing there. she sent me her gps coordinate on a map and i could see exactly where she was. i did the same, not realizing whatsapp has a gps location feature (or maybe it's a feature of iphone). she finally caught up to me at wabon-warren around 3pm.
we followed warren street to where it intersects with blue hill avenue, the farthest i've ever gone at this parade, just a few more blocks away from where it ends at the franklin park zoo. we watched from blue hill avenue and another washington street. we watched until after 3:30pm, where i got all paraded out. i walked back to my motorcycle, while cristina walked to carson beach, about a 40 minute walk. i helped her take the bike helmet back home (originally she wanted to bring the bike with her on the subway).
i thought i could come home via washington street to mass ave, but washington street becomes a one way at dudley square plaza, so i got rerouted to harrison avenue instead. i kept following that street (which coincidentally crossed a eustis street) until i hit mass ave, and from that point it was easy to navigate back to cambridge, returning home via vassar and galileo.