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.


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

Snohomish is awesome!

snohomish townThe city of Snohomish is about 15 minutes east of Everett, on the way to Gold Bar and Stevens Pass.  What a pretty little town!  By the time we arrived in Everett, we were seeing hints of blue sky.  By the time we finished our lunch, the sun was OUT…time for sunglasses!

The ride north was smooth… we had good connections the entire way, arriving in Snohomish about 11:30.  We broke up to eat in various locations… Grilla Bites, and The Cabbage Patch, to name a couple.  Everyone seemed very happy with their meals. After lunch, we had time to wander the three-or-so blocks of the business district on 1st Street.  All of the shops were decorated and ready for Halloween, as well as ready for a visiting thirsty dog (water dishes abound at front doors).

The town is known for antiques… lots of shops to browse.  Some Rebels also discovered the amazing Victorian homes located a couple blocks above the main downtown district.  The Visitor Center (1301 1st Street) has maps of a self-guided walking tour of historic buildings and homes, as well as a map noting the location of many interesting trees in town.  snohomish river walk

At some point in the afternoon many of us enjoyed a stroll along the lovely river walk.  There were benches and plaques depicting the history of the area along the way.  Very nice.

We gathered again shortly before 3 pm for our return trip.  The bus from Everett to Seattle was actually a few minutes early, so we were able to catch an earlier than expected Sounder train.  THE mountain was gorgeous… as were the dahlias in the Kent valley.  Such a relaxing ride.  Time to chat and laugh and talk about ideas for future trips.

Another grand trip…

Poulsbo, village by the sea

clockPoulsbo is a bustling village with a strong Nordic heritage.  As usual, the Rebels experienced perfect summer weather for this trip.

The connections for this long trip were good… two buses to get to Seattle, ferry to Bainbridge Island, then two buses on Bainbridge Island to Poulsbo.  view from Loft restaurant

We arrived in Poulsbo just before noon.  Since we had an earlier than usual start of the day, we were hungry and ready for lunch.

Most of us ate at the Loft restaurant, which is the top floor of a building overlooking the Marina.  The slightly overcast sky provided just the right amount of shade.   We all enjoyed our meal.  After lunch, there was plenty of time to explore the three or so blocks of Front Street, which is the main street in the historic village.  front streetLots of things to see:  art galleries, book stores, and (of course) Sluys bakery, a Poulsbo institution.

On the edge of front street, Mora Creamery had a storefront, a wonderful Bainbridge Island ice cream company.  The group met at the pre-determined location to catch our return trip bus.waiting for the busskyline from ferryThe ferry ride going home was so relaxing.  Sitting on the sun deck we had wonderful views of the Seattle skyline.  Once in Seattle, we walked through Pioneer Square to get to the Sounder Train… a great way to get home without even seeing the dreaded Highway I-5 traffic! giant wheel from ferry

Thanks for another great trip!  Thanks, Sharlene, for taking and sharing these pictures!

Benaroya Hall organ recital and Pike Place Market

benaroya.8.4.15Six times a year the beautiful Benaroya Hall in Seattle (home to the Seattle Symphony) hosts a free organ recital.  This picture shows the amazing 4,490 pipe organ, which is located at the back of the concert stage.

Before arriving at the Benaroya, the Rebels ate lunch at the Westlake Mall Food Court… lots of choices, reasonably priced.

benaroya.8.4Just before the concert started, the lights changed to this lovely pattern.  Very nice!  Today’s musical theme was “Bach and beyond”, featuring (of course) J.S. Bach, but also subsequent composers who were influenced by his work.  The organist, Joseph Adam, narrates the program telling the audience a bit about each piece.

Directly after the organ recital, we stayed for a 30 minute tour of the hall.  We learned many interesting facts, such as the Hall hosts approximately 700 events a year!  The building itself is lovely, with so many thoughtful details.  The picture on the left is the lobby.  The windows in this area were tested in Boeing’s wind tunnel.  benaroya

A few other tidbit facts:  The gorgeous wood covering the halls walls are from ONE tree (veneer cut in credit card thickness).  The hall is surrounded and supported by huge steel and rubber drums, which provides both soundproofing and earthquake protection.  During the Nisqually earthquake of 2000 the orchestra was practicing, and had no idea an earthquake was occurring.

pike place marketAfter the tour, most of us headed to the Pike Place Market, a couple blocks north of the Hall.  Yes, summer is crazy busy at the Market… but… we slogged through the crowds.  The flowers were magnificent.  The energy high.  Sharlene caught a photo of me in the Market :-0

Thanks, Sharlene, for taking all of the photos in this post!

Summer in Seattle = Seafair!

blue angelsWhen you see the Blue Angels in the Seattle skies, you know it’s Seafair!

This past week the Rebels by Bus went to West Seattle’s Alki Beach via the passenger-only ferry.  It was predicted to be HOT (for Seattle, at least), reaching the low 90’s.  Not a great day for walking the almost 3 mile concrete promenade along Alki.

It was unanimous…we decided to splurge and have lunch at Salty’s which is located less than 2 blocks (south) from the Seacrest Park, where the ferry lands in West Seattle.

We were seated close to the window.  Much to our surprise and delight the Blue Angels were practicing before our eyes!  What a treat.

After lunch we caught the free shuttle (Metro 775) to travel to the Admiral district and down to Alki.  We exited the bus on 63rd, where the first white settlers of Seattle (Denny party) landed.  We spent a short time to breath in the cooler salt air, before jumping back on the shuttle to catch our ferry.

Sharlene took some great photos of this trip… including a visit to the Klondike National Park site on Jackson Street and 2nd Avenue.  Check out the pictures at

Lakefair parade fun for a couple lucky Rebels!

IT bus engineMichelle and her darling daughter were enthusiastic participants in this past week’s “The Wheels on the bus…” adventure.  During the tour, we saw the Intercity Transit mini-bus, which is used at community events, such as the Lakefair parade.  mini it bus

“The Wheels on the bus” participants were invited to join the Lakefair parade by riding in the full-size Intercity Transit bus.

Michelle jumped at the opportunity.  Look how they dressed up for this special (and remember-it-always) occasion… Tiara, boa, magic wand, party dress… AND they practiced their parade waves!   YEAH!  it mini bus

Olympia Food Coop features RBB!

Carol Sipe, an enthusiastic public transit advocate and fan of Rebels by Bus, has written a delightful article about her experiences with Rebels by Bus.  The article is featured in the 2015 summer edition of the Olympia Food Coop newsletter.  The article (and pictures) can be found on page 8.  Following is the text of the article.  Thanks, Carol! 

Years ago, when I lived on the East Coast, I traveled everywhere by public transportation, mainly by train or subway. It was easy. Most of the time it was safe, and a lot cheaper than owning a car in Manhattan. Later, when I moved to Maine, I had to give up public transit since there wasn’t public transportation outside of Portland. A car was a necessity. Whenever I traveled outside the state, I left the car at home and hopped a bus or train to destinations south. I loved every minute of the travel.

 When I moved to Olympia in 1991, I assumed I could get around as I had on the East Coast. Imagine my dismay when I discovered there wasn’t a great public transportation system out here. Once you were in Seattle you could move around, but it wasn’t easy. Getting from Olympia to Seattle was very difficult. My only option to go north of Olympia was to travel I-5 by car and I hated every minute of that drive.

 Then, a couple of years ago, while glancing through the Continuing Education brochure from South Sound Community College, I noticed classes called Rebels by Bus. There were several of them. The first class was an overview of the public transportation systems and how to navigate them. The listings that followed had destinations attached. At that time, most of those destinations were in Seattle such as the International District and Pike Place Market. These class offerings made me think that the public transportation system might have improved since 1991.

 When I retired, I could attend the weekday classes. Beginning with the introductory class, I was thrilled with what I learned. Not only has the public transit system vastly improved, you can get almost anywhere from Olympia to points North, anywhere in Seattle, around the Olympic Peninsula, across the Sound and inlets, and you can do it with ease. And, it is inexpensive! The multiple transit systems honor senior passes, and seniors travel at half price or less. Mason Transit, for instance, is free for everyone in Mason County. It takes time to figure out the connections, but with some planning and patience, it is easy to do.

 The Rebels by Bus classes are the creation of Mary Williams and her friend, Gail Johnson. Gail has moved on to Portland, so Mary now does the trips on her own. When Mary was working as a public administrator for various agencies in Olympia, she often had to attend meetings in Seattle. She also tired of driving on I-5 and the struggle with parking. When she realized she could get there by bus, almost to the front door of where she had to go, she changed her mode of travel. Over time, she realized that more people might like to know about this and she has become a public transportation activist. She calls her trips: “Slow travel with Low Carbon Footprint.”

 I’ve taken many trips with Mary since I first saw the class listings. All of them have been great fun and all start in Olympia. We’ve eaten at some incredible restaurants. We’ve traveled all over the Greater Puget Sound area (and beyond,) from Seattle to Bremerton, to the Quinault Lodge, Gig Harbor and Snohomish. We’ve traveled on the Monorail, Link light rail, the Metro system, Sound Transit and various other transit systems, the ferries and the Sounder Train. In Seattle, we’ve been to the Theo Chocolate factory in Fremont, Ballard locks, University District, Pike Place Market, and the Seattle Center, just to name a few. I never thought I’d like Tacoma, but I do now; we often pass through there, or visit sites I’ve never noticed before. We’ve walked for miles as we explored all the various possibilities at our destinations. My list is endless now and I don’t have enough room here to include them all.

 The one constant in all these travels, are the nice people I meet on the trips and on the bus. You hear stories about unruly bus riders, but I’ve only seen one incident, and the driver took care of it immediately. All of the transit systems are clean and neat. There are rules, of course, like not eating on the bus. You must give up your seat to an elderly person, a blind person, or someone in a wheelchair. And everyone does. No one asks them to, they just do it. I think that’s pretty amazing, and very kind. White hair is definitely a plus on the bus.

 This summer, Mary is expanding her Rebels by Bus trips to include family outings, and, possibly, Mystery Trips. I don’t have those listings at the time of this writing, but I am certain they will be fun. She also offers trips through the Senior Center, and you don’t have to be a senior to take them. An Olympic Loop trip is tentatively scheduled for early October. All trips fill up very fast, so it’s important to sign up as soon as you see them offered.

 You can find out more about Rebels by Bus by visiting Mary’s website at Her Facebook page is You can reach her directly by email at Check out the Senior Center Trips as well at SPSCC trips are listed under Corporate & Continuing Education/Travel and Excursions at If you don’t want to sign up for the trips, you can still learn how to travel by bus by studying the information Mary has listed on her sites.


Jubilee rocks!

Yesterday I shared the Rebels by Bus story with over 80 (yes, EIGHTY!) enthusiastic people at the Jubilee community in Lacey.  Wow!

Thank you, Jubilee, for your interest and support of Rebels by Bus!

Hope to see you on board soon!