Rebels By Bus

Slow Travel With Low Carbon Footprint

Welcome to Rebels By Bus!

Be inspired by the on-the-bus adventures around the greater Puget Sound area–from simple one-bus trips to complex ones using several transit systems around the Olympic Peninsula.

Use the “search” tool (on top of the column on the right) to find your next trip.

Want to have someone plan and lead trips?  Join other public transit enthusiasts on “Rebels by Bus” Adventures, sponsored by South Puget Sound Community College Continuing Education.


Success: First time bus adventurer!

Many thanks for Liz Boston for sharing her experiences as a SOLO bus rider travelling between Lacey and Seattle!  A true Rebel; way to go, Liz!  Here are the details: 

 With the cancellation of the SPSCC trip on February 21, 2017 to Klondike National Park in Seattle and no experience yet riding the buses from Lacey to Seattle myself, Mary Williams was so kind to share her advice with me on how to do it on my own.    I thought I would share the details on this ‘guest’ blog posting, in hopes of encouraging others to venture out on their own using public transit between Lacey and Seattle.

 I caught the 605 bus at about 11am in Lacey at the Martin Way Park & Ride, and arrived at Lakewood 512 Park & Ride about 15 minutes before the 594 bus.   It travels through Tacoma on its way to Seattle.   The stop right after the Seattle sports arenas was 4th and Jackson, and someone had pushed the red STOP request button so I just confirmed the location by asking the bus driver.   Got out, used the AMAZING bathrooms that Mary had told me about in the former Union Station that is now Sound Transit owned.   I took photos of the Ladies Room and the station’s waiting room!!  I could just picture ladies in 1920s outfits using the facilities after a long train trip.  Long skirts, big hats.  The Ladies Room even has a row of well-lit full length mirrors still.

 My other goal was to figure the path to Swedish Medical Center on First Hill (Broadway and Marion) for future trips via the First Hill Streetcar.    Bought an adult ORCA card at the kiosk machine at the top of the escalator leading to the bus tunnel (just to the right of Union Station, as you’re exiting). Next I figured out what Inbound and Outbound meant for the First Hill Streetcar (Inbound is toward center/water, outbound is away from center towards First Hill.)   Asked a fellow rider how to use the machine for tapping the ORCA card before boarding.   LOVED the Streetcar, huge windows and a slower pace.   I got out at the Broadway and Marion stop, and found my Swedish destination.    Had lunch, bought some new boots at a specialty shoe store near Swedish (and left the box with the store so it was easier to carry home.)

  Read the rest of this entry »

The Mariners are coming! The Mariners are coming!

I’m ready for spring!  How about you?

One sure sign that winter will soon be behind us is the beginning of major league baseball spring training.

The Seattle Mariners home opening game is April 10th; first pitch at 2:10 pm.

What better way to join other Mariners fans than take the Sounder train or bus to the game!

Options for traveling to Seattle (and returning to Olympia) on opening day are found in “trip directions”, as “Mariners 2017 home opener”.

Puyallup’s Meeker Mansion

The predicted stormy weather didn’t deter the Rebels who adventured to Puyallup to visit the magnificent Meeker Mansion.  Ezra Meeker was Puyallup’s first mayor, one-time Hop King and self-appointed Champion of the Oregon Trail.

This beautiful 17 room Italianate Victorian Mansion took three years to build, and was finished in 1890.  In many ways this house was ahead of its time… closets in the bedrooms, indoor plumbing, and speaking tubes throughout the house.  Ceilings lights were prepared for either gas or electricity.  Tall ceilings lent themselves to exquisite accent painting.  Two of the beautiful, ornate bedsteads belonged to Meekers.

The room on the right is a picture of the informal first floor parlor.  There is a foot pump organ on the right, as well as an ornate fireplace, which was prevalent in every room.  The rooms let in lots of natural light, which is very desirable on our gray days.

After our delightful 90 minute private tour ($5,00 for adults; $3.00 for seniors), the group was ready for lunch.  We all choose Crockett’s Public House, located at 118 Stewart, a short walk from the Meeker Mansion.

One highlight of this trip was that we took the 10:15 am Sounder train from Lakewood to Puyallup.  This mid-morning run has been operational since the fall of 2016.  On our return trip, we travelled as far as Tacoma where we caught out bus returning us to Olympia.

The Meeker Mansion is well worth a visit.  They hold many special events, such as teas and holiday gatherings.  They are known for their Christmas decorations.  For more information:

Summer Rebels by Bus adventures…

giant wheel from ferryWe’ve already had a taste of summer… and it’s only May!  The summer Rebels by Bus adventures focus on fun in the sun and WATER!

The trip (sponsored by South Puget Sound Community College) destinations will be:

madison parkMadison Park (on Lake Washington) and the Arboretum in Seattle.


Vashon Island vashon art deco





Alki beach in West Seattle (taking the passenger-only water taxi to get there) water taxi



Ballard and the locks (connecting the Puget Sound to the ship canal and Lake Union) ballard locks



Details on each of these trips are already on the SPSCC continuing education website.  Registration will be open soon!

Centralia, here we come!

centralia.HiddenTreasure.Did you know that you there is a public transit system from Tumwater to Centralia? Rural and Tribal (R/T) transportation connects Thurston County to Lewis County.  Depending on the route, the 15 (or so) passenger van has pick up/drop off spots in Tumwater, Yelm, Tenino, Grand Mound, Rochester, Bucoda and Centralia.

On a beautiful day in early May, the Rebels boarded the R/T bus at Tumwater Square. The bus stop is not marked, but the van stops beside the Intercity Transit stop on Cleveland Avenue, across the street from the Safeway.  On the way to Centralia, we took Route 3, which left Tumwater at 9:45 am.  At the Grand Mound Park and Ride we changed vans, taking Route 4 to the Centralia Amtrak Station.  We passed many beautiful farms and fields.  This is THE way to see the rural parts of Thurston County.  The entire trip (one way) is $1.00!  We also found out that if you have an Intercity Transit pass, this ride is free!

Out first stop in Centralia was to visit the amazing Hub Bub boutique (505 North Tower Avenue). Rebecca Staebler, HubBub ( owner, greeted us warmly and gave us a brief overview of current happenings and past history of Centralia.

After we left HubBub (with a few things we couldn’t resist buying), we walked down Tower centralia.streetAvenue and had a very good lunch at Boccata, (405 North Tower).  After lunch we visited The Rectangle Gallery (thanks to Rebecca for setting this up with her friend, Jan, who is the owner of this new gallery.) The Rectangle is AMAZING!  The grand opening was planned for the coming weekend.  No doubt the gallery and the classes Jan will be offering are a great addition to the community!  We loved that she has named a youth (age 10) adviser to the gallery.  They are planning a child art exhibition in early September to coincide with the annual ARTrails, which offers an open studio tour of dozens of regional artists on the 3rd and 4th weekends in September.  To find out details, see

One storefront away from the Rectangle Gallery is Fruffles, a “boutique department store”. A little of this and that… all lovely and tasteful.

Next stop was The Shady Lady. Their facebook page describes the store as “Upscale Resale Clothing & Funky, Fun, Fabulous Home Décor!!” Good description. The reason we visited (again, thanks to Rebecca for setting this up!) is to see the Bordello Museum, which is upstairs from the shop.  Holly, the owner, greeted us and shared a few details before we viewed the exhibits.  I won’t give away details, but this little museum ($2.00 admission) is definitely worth a visit!  The museum is open on weekends.

centralia.libraryNext we wandered over to the town square park, where the Centralia (Timberland) Carnegie public library is located. Across the street from the library is the US Post Office, with a lovely mural from the 1920’s… so glad it’s being preserved.  We really enjoyed the many murals throughout town.  It’s sad to see that most are faded.  centralia.mural

We visited the Olympic Club, a McMenamins hotel, theater, and restaurant. The building was constructed in 1913 as a railroad hotel (since it is beside the rail depot).  Since 1996 the McMenamins have owned the property.  The huge bar and Tiffany lamps are beautiful.  The theater shows current movies ($4.00!) while you lounge in comfortable chairs or sofas.  You can purchase food or drink to eat while watching the movie!  One of the employees gave us a grand tour of the hotel.  There were lots of pictures of the early days of this building; interesting and colorful history!  The rooms are basic, with bathrooms down the hall.

After walking for a few hours we relaxed with an iced latte at Santa Lucia.  It was nice to sit down for a bit… comfortable and friendly place for a break.  We commented that everyone we met today was very friendly and helpful.  This town has heart!

Next we wound our way back through town stopping at a few of the many antique/collectible stores. We found some treasures, then headed back to the Amtrak depot to catch our bus for our return trip.  Heading back home we took the 4:00 pm R/T Route 4 to Tenino.  In Tenino we transferred to the R/T Route 2 which returned us to Tumwater Square.

Another fun day… this trip is definitely on the “repeat” list!


Lunch and Peonies in West Seattle

This post was written by guest blogger, Karen Valenzuela, an enthusiastic Rebel by Bus.  Thank you, Karen! 

pagoda so seattleOn a recent blustery spring morning, nine rebels gathered at the Martin Way park-and-ride in Olympia to board the 605 Intercity Transit bus to Lakewood, on our way to pay a visit to South Seattle Community College.   At the Highway 512 park-and-ride in Lakewood, we caught the Sound Transit 594 bus, which toured us through several stops in Tacoma on our way to downtown Seattle, where we then hopped the Metro 125 at 3rd & Pike.  That route took us along the soon-to-be-closed Alaskan Way viaduct where we were able to get a quick glimpse of the resting Bertha, the huge machine that’s boring the enormous hole in the earth for the tunnel that will someday replace the viaduct. And though by this point in our adventure it was misting heavily, the view of Elliot Bay was nonetheless deligso seattle chinese garden 2htful as always. We arrived at the college just in time for our pre-arranged luncheon at the Culinary Arts Center, and were served by no fewer than three waitstaff who took very seriously seeing to our every need.  We enjoyed a three-course meal, and lingered so long over coffee and dessert that we were behind schedule to visit the Chinese Garden and arboretum. Peonies in the garden were in full bloom, and were an elegant complement to the spare Chinese architecture of the garden.  This is really an impressive facility, and open to the public for rental peonies so seattle collegefor weddings and other kinds of events.  The arboretum, adjacent to the Chinese garden, is small-ish but also breathtaking in the number of plants and how they’re all arranged.  Both the Chinese Garden and the arboretum, as well as a nearby plant nursery, are part of the community college’s horticulture program, training students in all aspects of the cultivation, care and business of plants.  We caught a later bus off the campus than we were originallycarp so seattle college scheduled for, which put us in Lakewood just after our bus to Olympia had departed.  But even with an hour wait for the next 605, we were back in Olympia shortly after 6:00 PM, tired but generally happy after our day as rebels by bus. This is an adventure by bus I cannot recommend too highly!

Mariner Fans: Unite!

safeco_field_1Hope does spring eternal for loyal Mariner fans… Every spring we believe that THIS may be the year!

What better way to celebrate the Seattle Mariner’s baseball team than to take a tour of the Safeco field?

So, that’s exactly what several Rebels by Bus did… a week before opening day.

The weather was perfect… brilliant blue sky and sunshine.  The grounds crew was hard at work to prepare the field.  All of the seating was being pressure washed.  There were several lawn mowers (walk behind type, NOT tractor/ride-ons) hard at work.

We were charged a special $10 rate for this excellent tour.  The tour started at 12:30.  We had time after our arrival to the Team Store on 1st Avenue to browse the store and get a snack.  We were advised to buy our Key Griffey Jr. (1st Mariner to get into the Hall of Fame, doncha know?) tee shirts now… they will sell out quickly!

The tour was excellent.  Our guide was not only well versed in Mariner history, but also the intricate workings of the amazing Safeco field.  We visited many sections of the field… from the Lookout landing to the press box to the exclusive Diamond Club.  We also went inside the Visitor lock room.  The final stop was the field itself…to the dugouts and right next to the grass.  We were advised NOT to step, or even touch, the grass!

After the tour, which lasted close to two hours, we walked across 1st Avenue to the Pyramid Alehouse.  We had a satisfying lunch, then trekked over to the  Sounder train for our return trip home.

Another fun day… Go M’s!

Abby Williams Hill collection


Abby Williams Hill lived in Tacoma in the early 1900’s.  She is best known for her beautiful landscape oil paintings.  Those paintings were commissioned by railroad companies and displayed at Worlds Fairs and expositions as a way to encourage people to visit our magnificent National Parks.

The Hill family donated her work (and massive collection of letters, journals, and other archives) to the University of Puget Sound (UPS), in Tacoma.

On a very wet and windy day, the Rebels by Bus group braved the weather and spent a delightful afternoon with Laura Edgar, the curator of the collection at UPS.  Laura told us the history of Ms. Hill… definitely a women ahead of her time!  She was the co-founder of the Washington chapter of the Mothers of Congress (predecessor of the Parent/Teacher Association).  Her efforts in social justice were amazing… she was a strong advocate of Native American rights, as well as education for African-American children.  Included in her archives are letters from Booker T. Washington.

We felt very fortunate to browse through Ms. Hill’s sketchbooks, journals, letters and photos.  Such an inspirational women!

Seattle’s Bullitt Center and Culinary Arts Academy

bullitt centerThis past week fifteen Rebels enjoyed visiting Seattle’s Bullitt Center, the greenest commercial building in the world.  That’s quite a feat!  During our hour-long tour we viewed the many unique and interesting features of this amazing building.  For instance, the roof (notice the extended roof line in this picture?) holds 575 solar panels.  With our warmer-than-usual summer and recent mild winters the building has been able to give back power to the City’s power grid.

gardenThe outside of the building is thoughtfully designed.  All water runoff must be filtered and remain on the property.  This is an example of the plantings used to absorb the rainwater.  The large trees in front of the building are in the triangle park – McGilvra Park, which invites neighbors as well as Bullitt building inhabitants to sit and enjoy the outdoors.


The entrance to the building has impressive very tall windows.  The floor is simple concrete.  The wall in the right of this picture captures the creation of the building in snapshots.


stairsThe central stairway is meant to be welcoming, and encourages the use of the stairs rather than the elevator which is not visible when you enter the building.  The stairs are beautiful wood which definitely adds to the welcome.

One interesting fact:

The composting toilets do NOT smell… and they use only 3 tablespoons of water plus foam to “flush”.

For more information about this impressive building see:

The other very popular element of this trip was lunch at the Seattle Central College’s Culinary Arts Academy.  Rebels first visited the Academy in February of this year and raved about the meals.  The same was true with this group!  Very good service, excellent presentation, and delicious food… all for a very reasonable price!  Many of us “shopped” at the College bakery (another program of the Culinary Arts program) when we were leaving the building.  What great prices!  And yummmmm.

This trip was a grand success… we had to start a wait list since it was so popular.  The good news:  This trip will be repeated through SPSCC on February 23, 2015.  Check the website to get details.  Registration starts soon!


Olympic Peninsula Loop extravaganza

kalaloch beachThis is THE trip for public transit enthusiasts!  Three days, two nights of leaving the driving to the professionals.  We used four different transit systems to travel the entire Olympic Peninsula Loop.

We started in Olympia, traveled to Aberdeen and on to Amanda Park (up the road from the Quinault Lodge).  Our first day lunch spot was the iconic Kalaloch Lodge.  Yes, this picture is from the day of the trip, in early October.  Beautiful day!  And delicious lunch!  After lunch we had over 2 hours to walk the beach before we hopped back aboard the bus to take us to Forks for our first night away from home.

forks motelWe exited the bus at the Forks Transit Center, then walked a block to the Forks Motel.  Clean and comfortable rooms, complete with an easy chair and footstool!  The Seahawks were on “Monday Night Football”, so many of us retired to our rooms to watch the game.

The next morning we met for breakfast at the Forks Coffee Shop (one block the other side of the motel).  clallam transit from forks to pt. angelesAfter a satisfying breakfast we walked the two blocks to the Transit Center to catch our next bus.  This photo shows our bus… a large van, with very comfortable seats and large windows.  lake cresent

Below is a sample of the view from the van… Lake Crescent was lovely that morning… so calm and peaceful…and no rain!




Our next transfer spot was Port Angeles.  From there we went on to Sequim, where we stopped for lunch.  The town of Sequim has lots of places to explore, and several restaurants.  The seafood chowder at Jakes was excellent!


bird traveler


Vicki (who shared these photos; thanks, Vicki!) met this interesting traveler at the Sequim bus stop.  This fellow was not on a leash, and was quite content to hang on to his person’s backpack.


ms. claire at Palace hotelWe arrived in Port Townsend in the early afternoon and checked in to our hotel, The Palace Hotel on Water Street.  What a delightful place!  This historic building was built in 1889 by Captain Tibbals.  Each room is named for a “lady of the night”, giving homage to the hotel’s early days as a brothel.  The rooms are large, and filled with antiques and authentic decoration.  This is Ms. Claire’s room, which is rumored to be occupied by her ghost!  trip home

We had the evening and next morning to wander through Pt. Townsend… lots of shops and restaurants to choose from.

This is our van from Brinnon to Shelton…only one non-Rebel aboard!

What a grand trip.  One other fact:  The senior bus fare for this entire trip was $9.50 :-0