The CASUAL COMMUTER Riding With You On Your Way To Work

    by Vicky Semones

    Share a fascinating ride with The CASUAL COMMUTER and catch entertaining glimpses of San Francisco Bay Area commuters being themselves.

    Available through XLIBRIS PUBLICATIONS (click book cover)

    Also available at:


    June 2023
    M T W T F S S
  • Pages


Casual Commuter Launched at A Great Good Place

Casual Commuter Launched at A Great Good Place

The Autumn night  clung to the day’s  warmth under  moist clouds colored by the setting sun.  Montclair streets were busy again, since the  reversal of the parking meter fees from 8PM to 6PM.  Cindie and I enjoyed a light dinner at Metro, then joined the book- browsers at A GREAT GOOD PLACE FOR BOOKS, to  meet  and greet,  prior to my book launch.  After the gracious owner, Kathleen Caldwell  introduced me, I offered our guests an overview of Cindie’s and my casual carpool marketing escapades; the genesis of my book and what it represents for me, creatively.  I read excerpts from  the Introduction of  ‘The CASUAL COMMUTER’  and  then a progression of four stories, from serious to funny.  After, guests shared their own experiences with casual carpooling. And then the really cool part – book signing!  Thank you each and every one for participating.  It will always be one of my fondest memories!  Cindie and I continued the celebration over  Boston  cream pie and merlot.   What a delicious evening!!!


Local Events

Montclair Village Clock

Montclair Village Clock

Montclair Women's Cultural Arts Club

Montclair Women's Cultural Arts Club

Two recent local events provided perfect venues to get the word out, some-more.  The annual MONTCLAIR VILLAGE ARTS &  CRAFTS FESTIVAL, where we wandered among the  booths full of  unique and wonderful creative expression. We shared lattes and stories with local carpoolers.  In an hour and a half, we handed out 145 flyers.  Then, we performed an ‘act’ at the MONTCLAIR WOMEN’S CULTURAL ARTS CLUB, whch sponsors an informal ‘show’ on the 3rd Thursday, monthly from Sept to May.  Lots of music – planned and spontaneous;  authors reading their fiction or poetry; and then an ‘open mic’ for 5-minute presentations.  Cindie and I pretended to think we were at the Montclair carpool stop (there isn’t one), then took advantage of our ‘mistake’ by reading a couple of sensuous stories and announcing my Book Launch.  By all accounts we captivated the audience of about 50 with our  humorous and targeted presentation.  Just shameless and a lot of fun!

Fruitvale and Montana ~ Oakland

Montana & Flagg

Montana & Flagg

Mopntana & Flagg ~ Park 'n Ride

Montana & Flagg ~ Park 'n Ride






 Nicely situated under two shade trees, across from the Park and Ride lot under the overpass at Flagg Street.  Grab the morning newspaper at the newsstand; catch a free ride to The City; then do some shopping at Farmer Joe’s for dinner tonight. Most  drivers begin roll down their windows well in advance of our approach to give them a flyer.  7:30 – 9:30AM, 227 flyers.

Oakland Ave and Monte Vista ~ Oakland

Oakland & Monte Vista

Oakland & Monte Vista

Pedestrians converge from all directions on this spot under a lovely shade tree on a bright morning in front of Plymouth Church, which is being  restored. The quiet neighborhood is dotted with  apartments and lush with mature flora.  Be careful of  that first step over the curbside pavers, exposed by years of wear. In response to our flyer, one woman said in a low, secretive  voice, that ‘The Casual Commuter’  will draw too much publicity to the casual carpool, and she likes it just the way it is!  An active two hours from 7:30 – 9:25AM and #339 flyers.

Park Blvd and Hampel ~ Oakland


Park Blvd & Hampel, Oakland

Park Blvd & Hampel, Oakland

The Park Presbyterian Church spire seems to rise from the street sign, as riders line up along the chain link fence at the empty corner lot across the street.  The neighborhood street seems sleepy, leaving one to wonder if there’ll be ample cars for the people in line.  A stop light at the corner makes for easy egress onto Park Blvd, and an AC (Alameda County)    TransBay  bus stop.  An easy and sunny   morning, from 7:15 – 9AM;  # 137 flyers.

Grand Ave and Perkins, Oakland


Grand Ave & Perkins

Grand Ave & Perkins

The Valero gas station shows its community spirit by allowing carpoolers to cut through their corner location from Grand  Avenue and pick up passengers who wait to board at the  drive-way on Perkins.  Two Zip Cars await drivers.    A sign asks car-poolers  to be courteous to patrons and to support the station  for their efforts by buying their gas there.  From 7:15A – 8:50A, #212 flyers.  

Lakeshore and Grand, Oakland

 Lakeshore & Grand, Oakland

Under the overpass at Lake Port between Lakeshore & Grand Ave.,   we stand for nearly two and a half hours in the cool, dank  shadows,  keeping pace with the swift flow of cars and  passengers.  It’ s like observing an overactive   slinky, as the separate lines of cars and awaiting passengers expand  and compress with the quick flow of this busy spot near the Walden Pond Bookstore.  From 7:15A – 9:40A, #502 flyers!  We earned a satisfying breakfast at the Lakeshore Cafe.

Bookstores Carry ‘The Casual Commuter’

I’m thrilled that some wonderful bookstores, primarily in the East Bay, are now carrying my book:

A Great Good Place ~ 6120 LaSalle Ave., Oakland (Montclair Village). We had a wonderful book launch with a wine and cheese repast. .  Thank you so much, Kathleen!

Books, Inc ~ 1344 Park Street, Alameda. Near the casual carpool at the corner of Park and Encinal. Thank you, Josette!

Compass Books ~ North Terminal / Terminal 3, SFO. A hub of commuters. Thank you, Andy!

Diesel, A Book Store  ~ 5433 College Ave., Oakland (Rockridge District). Near casual carpools at Claremont & College and Claremont & Hudson. Thank you, Margaret!

Mrs. Dalloway’s, Literary & Garden Arts ~ 2904 College Ave., Berkeley.  Near casual carpools at Claremont & College and Claremont & Hudson. Thank you, Marion!

Spectator Books ~ 4163 Piedmont Ave, Oakland (across from Fentons and the Piedmont Theatre).  Near casual carpools at Oakland Ave & Monte Vista; and Oakland Ave & Hillside. Thank you, Tim!


If you don’t already know about the wonderful local website http://montclairoak.com, please check it out. The dedicated blogger, Debbie Richman, is a former reporter and has a keen eye and brisk delivery about all things happening in Montclair and the hills of Oakland. 

Debbie discusses the casual carpool phenomenon in the article, “Why Casual Commuting Works’.  You can find it under Recent Posts in Today in Montclair, 94611.

Debbie believes in a ‘sense of place’, and thinks I’ve captured an amusing slice of our East Bay community in my book.  Thanks so much, Debbie!

Under the Overpass ~ Oakland

Under Hgwy 24 and BART

Under Hgwy 24 and BART


The Claremont & Hudson Carpool is located directly under the steely screeching of the  BART overpass and the constant rumble of  Hgwy24. Great protection for a hot or rainy day. But forget about  talking when the trains roll overhead and  join the din of freeway cars in a perfect ‘urban echo’ that caroms off the concrete.