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.


Fun in the summer sun….Vashon Island

RBB logo2 copyIt’s been a busy RBB summer!  Since the last post, in early August, I’ve led FOUR trips of enthusiastic Rebels.  Each and every trip enjoyed our (unusually) gorgeous sunny summer.  The trips were with three different groups.  Two trips were with the South Puget Sound Community College, one with South Sound Senior Services, and one with the Boardwalk apartments (this was the first trip with this delightful group of eager travelers).

This post is about Vashon Island.  This has been a popular RBB trip for good reason.  Vashon is vashon art decovery laid back and easy to get to from Olympia.  Vicki took some great pictures of this trip.  This is a picture of the view from the Pt. Defiance ferry dock (where we waited for about 20 minutes anthonyswaiting for our ferry) looking west towards Anthony’s restaurant.




One of the highlights of going to Vashon via public transit is that we have the pleasure of riding with Larry, the wonderful driver for Metro Route 118 on Vashon Island.  The bus was waiting for us as we departed the ferry from Pt. Defiance.  He greeted ubikeintrees, and insisted on taking a group photo.  He also stopped along the side of Vashon Highway so we could take a short walk to see the famous “bike in the tree”.  He led the way, and again took pictures to document the sight.

The town of Vashon is quaint; a throw back to an earlier era.  Most of us ate at the Hardware Restaurant, which is the oldest continuously operated commercial property.  The food is very good, and reasonably priced.  Several of us  admired the great independent bookstore.  There are several fun shops to browse.

We caught the bus mid afternoon, and has a leisurely trip back to the ferry and two bus legs back home.

Another satisfying trip.  Thanks, Rebels!



Ballard… hip Seattle neighborhood

ballardtugBallard used to be known as a quiet, Nordic fishing-centric section of Seattle.  It has emerged into THE hip neighborhood.  Market Street is bustling, but Ballard Avenue still has the small village feel to it.  Narrow storefronts, with time-worn hardwood floors and deep display windows are predominant in this three block stretch off Market Street.  Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate factory is worth a stop… to smell the smoky chocolate, if nothing else!  I picked up a small jar of smoked chocolate chips to give as a gift.  They’ll make interesting chocolate chip cookies!

One of the highlights of this trip (other than enjoying the company of another stellar group of Rebels!) is the Hiram Crittenden Locks and Carl English Gardens.  This colorful little tug was going through the locks during our visit.  (Thanks, Vicki, for sharing the picture!)  Lots of boat traffic on this lovely summer day.  The locks transition boats to and from different water levels, from Shilshole Bay of Puget Sound to Lake Union.  It’s an interesting process to witness!

The Carl English gardens are a lush oasis… deep green lawns, with huge trees and lots of benches to sit and ponder.  The periennial gardens were just past their peak, but still lovely.

Rebels ate at several different places on this trip.  Po Dog was a big hit.  A few of us ate at the Portage Bay Café, which serves brunch at this location.  There was a fresh berry bar to add to your pancakes.  Yum!

Our return trip included the ever-popular and relaxing Sounder train.  Skimming along the tracks, you don’t even SEE I-5!


Coupeville and Pt. Townsend overnight trip…

Wow… we did it!  And survived to tell about it!  Thank you, again, Vicki for the great pictures!

Yes, it took EIGHT “legs” on our first day on the road.  The Rebel travelers left Olympia on the 7:35 am bus to Lakewood.  Our other seven segments of the trip included Lakewood to Seattle, Seattle to Everett, Everett to Mukiteo.

1319boarding KittitasFrom there we hopped on the ferry to Clinton, then bussed to Coupeville to spend two sun-filled hours in one of the oldest towns in the State.   The snow covered mountain in the background is Mt. Baker.From Coupeville we caught the bus to take us to the ferry, which took us to Pt. Townsend.1328coupevillemtbaker

We then headed two blocks from the ferry dock in Pt. Townsend to our hotel:  The Palace Hotel, which is wonderfully renovated Victorian hotel, built in 1889.1357hotelapproach

Many of us decided to eat at Fins, a restaurant across the street from the hotel which had an outdoor deck.  The weather was perfect for that… blue sky and temperature in the mid 70′s.  Ahhhh…. the great northwest was at it’s best!


After dinner, we scattered… a few of us strolled down Water Street, which is the main street in town.  We looked in windows of galleries, boutiques, the Maritime Center and other store fronts.

We were all on our own the next morning, agreeing to meet up again at 1:30 at the closest bus stop.  The trip home was quick and simple compared to our trek northbound.  We made a quick stop in Brinnon, then Shelton, and then home… all in 3 1/2 hours!  The views of Hood Canal from the bus are exceptional!

One noteworthy fact:  The bus and ferry fare for his entire 220-some mile trip was $10.50 for Regional Reduced Fare Permit holders.  The adult fares totaled $23.60.

As always, the specific trip directions are posted under Pages and  ”trip directions”.


More photos!

DSCN7793 (300x225) DSCN7844 (300x225) Here are more of Rick’s photos from the Madison Park trip.  These are of the Japanese Garden, which is a block from the Lake Washington Blvd/Madison Street intersection.

There is a charge to enter this oasis ($6 for adults; $4 over age 65).  Public guided tours are available on some days.


For a special experience, attend a Chado tea demonstration in the beautiful tea house. There is a minimal fee to participate in this cerermony, but you can view the demonstration at no charge.

The Gardens have variable hours, depending on the season and weather.  For current information, check their website, which is attached to the Seattle Parks listings:

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More photos from the Washington Park Arboretum…

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These lovely photos are of the Washington Park Arboretum.


The Arboretum was a suggested “side trip”
on our Madison Park trip.  Rick was adventuresome… he got off the bus at Lake Washington Blvd and Madison Street to walk through the Arboretum and also the Japanese Gardens (which will be featured on the next post)



Thank you, Rick, for sharing these photos!


Photos from Gig Harbor

HerShops - Gig Harbor (640x480)e are a few more photos of Gig Harbor.  The first photo is of a few of the shops along Harborview Drive.  The trolley bus takes you along Harborview… all the way along the shopping area, past the new maritime museum.  That’s a great way to see the entire village, before deciding where to hop off!

Mt. Rainier (800x600)The next picture is proof that we had beautiful weather on our trip.  This is from the marina in the Harbor, with a great view of Mt. Rainier.  Rebel Richard is the photographer of these shots.  Thanks, Rick!


This last picture is NOT Rick’s, but isn’t this an interesting view of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge and the mountain?  Narrows Bridge

Snug Gig Harbor

gig harbor bannerThe “Welcome to Gig Harbor” banner AND blue sky were promising another fun Rebels by Bus adventure!

Eight enthusiastic Rebels joined in this adventure.  The Intercity Transit bus dropped us off in downtown Tacoma, by the State History Museum.  We walked up the steps at the University of Washington campus to check out the Library, which has been repurposed from a Snoqualmie power station.  An amazing Chihuly chandelier is hanging from the tower reading room.  (See the Abby Williams Hill RBB trip for more details).  After a restroom break, we headed back to Pacific Avenue to catch the free light LINK streetcar which delivered us uphill to 11th and Commerce.  (NOTE:  Sound Transit announced they have delayed charging a fare for the Tacoma Light Link for another two years!  Yeah!)  We crossed the street to catch our next bus, which took us to the Tacoma Community College Transit Center.  From there, another bus took us across the amazing Narrows Bridge and on to Gig Harbor.

During the summer Pierce Transit partners with Gig Harbor businesses to fund a shuttle trolley which travels from the Kimball Drive Park and Ride to downtown and along Harborview Drive.  Most of us stayed on the trolley loop to get an overview of Gig Harbor environs and waterfront .  After taking the loop trip, most of us decided to have lunch at the quintessential Gig Harbor restaurant:  The Tides Tavern.  Half of the group scored an outdoor table, right above the Harbor.

After a leisurely lunch, we strolled down Harborview Drive taking in the Farmer’s Market (really more of a craft fair at this time of year), and checking out a few of the small shops along the way.

We had an easy, uneventful return trip.  Thanks, Rebels!

The trip details are found in “trip directions”, in the right hand column of the blog.


Seattle’s Madison Park neighborhood

0947MadisonparksignAs RBB veteran Vicki states:

Another time of the sun shining on us and our having a marvelous journey!

Madison Park is a lovely place, right on the shore of Lake Washington, and blessed with stately homes and cute boutiques.

The Madison Park neighborhood in Seattle is tucked away…from downtown, up and over bustling Capitol Hill, past the Washington Park Arboretum… and there you are!  The bus trip from downtown is interesting, you pass through mini-shopping and residential areas, Seattle Community College, and the exclusive Broadmoor gated community.  A huge variety of landscape and people.

Our one lone male on this trip, the adventurous Richard, got off the bus at Lake Washington Boulevard, so he could explore the beautiful Arboretum and the Japanese Tea Garden.  (Watch for his pictures in a future post). The rest of us stayed on the bus until we arrived at the Madison Park.

By this time, we were all ready for lunch.  Two of the Rebels decided to try the Cactus restaurant; one of their many locations is right there in Madison Park!  The rest of us ate at the ever popular “Bings”.  The restaurant is fairly small, but we readily found places to sit.  The menu prides itself on local, fresh ingredients.  We all enjoyed our meals…Carol’s roasted Brussels sprouts were especially delicious!

Next, we browsed through some of the small shops along the block.  As the sun and blue sky was making an appearance, we wandered across the block to the Madison Park itself.  The park boasts of over 200 feet of Lake Washington waterfront.  To our delight, a family of geese were waddling along, and taking a dip in the Lake.  The gooslings were very young, lots of fuzzy non-quite-yet feathers.0954goslingsfamily

To make the best connections for our return home, we had about 45 minutes in downtown Seattle.  Most of us decided to stroll through the every-popular-people-watching Pike Place Market.  Yes, the fish were being tossed.  The flowers were spectacular… the peonies were at their peak of perfection.  We tried a wonderfully sweet Taylor Gold pear.  Yum.  Melted in your mouth!

Heading back towards our bus stop, some of us dropped in to Penzey spices; a great place for wonderful smells, even if you aren’t looking to buy!

Our bus rides home were uneventful… we didn’t even have to pay attention to the traffic, since we left the driving to the professionals!

Don’t forget that the specific directions for this trip are found in the “trip directions” page (column on the right).

Thanks for another great day!