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.


Sea-Tac Airport and Columbia City

welcome signOver the years, many Rebels have asked about using public transit to get to Sea-Tac airport.  This trip featured that very journey.  Sound Transit route 574 picked us up from the Highway 512 Park and Ride transit center, and dropped us off on the far south end of baggage claim level of the airport.  After exiting the bus we trekked to the farthest north end of the terminal, to the last escalator down to the pedestrian overpass (#6) that connects to the parking garage.  From there, we kept to the left (north), following signs to the Light Link Train.

art at link stationOur first stop on the train was Columbia City, a Seattle neighborhood in the Rainier Valley.  In the early 1900’s Columbia City was a city apart from Seattle, but was later annexed to Seattle.  This area is the most ethnically diverse neighborhood in Seattle, and has undergone (and is still undergoing) major revitalization.  Small ethnic restaurants abound.  The lovingly-maintained Carnegie Library is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. A brief history of the area, accompanied by pictures, provided a nice welcome at the train platform.  Lovely abstract art is embedded in the concrete wall surrounded by greenery.

gardensThe Columbia City historic district is 3 blocks from the train.  Walking through the residential neighborhood was rewarded by views of beautiful gardens.

As we entered the business section of town on Rainier Avenue South, we split into smaller groups to browse restaurant options.  Several ate at the Thai restaurant, and other ate at a small Ethiopian café.

After lunch there was time to browse the street, checking out the library, Green Eileen, and other shops.  Columbia Park is a wonderful addition to the neighborhood, tucked behind the Library, bordered by Edmonds Street.  Park benches looked especially welcoming on this sunny day.

link trainWe met back at the train platform, catching the next northbound train to the International District station.  From there, we crossed 4th Avenue to the Sounder train.  Our ride home was pleasant, complete with full-on views of THE mountain.  Rebels continues to experience great weather karma!

Thanks, Vicki, for sharing your photos of this trip!


Fran’s Chocolate in Georgetown, Seattle

union stationThe Rebels were lucky once more… the sun was shining on us with blue sky as a backdrop.  Travel is so much more fun when the weather cooperates!

To the left is the breathtaking renovated Union Station in Seattle.  It’s no longer used as a train station (the current Amtrak train station, the King Street station, is across 4th Avenue from here).  This building is the headquarters for Sound Transit and clean restrooms :-0  So, yes we stopped here before boarding the bus to Georgetown.

georgetown signGeorgetown is Seattle’s oldest neighborhood, established in 1852.  Georgetown existed as an independent city from 1904 to 1910, when it was annexed by Seattle.  In recent years this area (south of the SODO/Stadium district) has been revitalized and has become a hot-bed for artists and new restaurants.

The highlight of this trip was to visit the Fran’s Chocolate, which recently relocated to Georgetown.  The factory is the original Rainier Brewery, built in 1892.  (This was the brewery until the early 1900’s, when it moved just north of the Spokane Street viaduct).

frans chocolate workersThe factory has a huge tasting room and gift shop as you enter the building.  You are greeted at the door by their trademark chocolate covered salted caramel.  Yum.  There are plate glass window facing the production area, which is operational until about 1:00 pm.  The day we were there three women were dipping macadamia nut candies into a swirling vat of chocolate.

A new feature of the factory is a tour of the facility, which includes tasting.  The tour costs $10.00.

After viewing the chocolate making, we scattered to find lunch.  La Fonda Catrina, georgetownMany were very happy with their meal at La Fonda Catrina, which is directly across the street from Fran’s.  Here’s a sampling of what was for lunch!  Brooke said they had the best mole’ EVER!

A few of us ate at the Square Knot, and had an excellent BLT salad.  Others ate at the Hitchcock Deli, of Bainbridge Island fame.

After lunch we explored the neighborhood… finding lots of treasures spots.  A favorite was the “District” an antique/consignment shop which also held a regular auction.  Fun and unusual reasonably priced items.  The Georgetown Trailer Park Mall was fun to look at, even though it is only open on weekends in the spring.  Vintage trailers are used as storefronts.  Fun idea!

We were ready to head home about 2:30, so we caught the bus which took us back to the International District bus tunnel.  From there we walked to the Sounder Station to catch our train.

Another satisfying adventure!

Springtime on campus

university-of-washingtonLove those crisp-blue-sky-with-fluffy-clouds spring days in the Pacific Northwest.  April 2nd was one of those days!  Twelve adventurers headed to the University of Washington Campus  to visit the Burke Museum and Henry Art Gallery, both which were free on this first Thursday (April 2nd) of the month.

I handed out maps of the University of Washington campus, and suggested a “loop” route to take in the Burke Museum, as well as the famous “Quad” (where the cherry trees are located), the beautiful Suzzullo Library, and Henry Art Gallery.

When we first arrived on the “Ave” (University Way), we exited at 43rd, and drifted off to find a place for lunch.  The Ave has DOZENS of small, hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurants.  A few of us selected Samir’s Mediterranean Grill, located at 1316 NE 43rd St., which is a storefront off University Way.  We all enjoyed our meal… most of us had the Gyros Plate, with very generous serving size, tasty, and reasonably priced.

cherry blossoms u of wAfter a satisfying lunch, it was time to explore the campus.  We had hoped that the cherry blossoms of the Quad would still be in bloom.  (The picture on the left is what they look like…)Alas, our early spring dashed our hopes… the trees had already leaved out.  However, the gorgeous, proud buildings in the Quad were worth looking at.  We studied one of the buildings (built in 1917) which featured many unique gargoyles perched high on the building.

Next stop was to visit the amazingly beautiful Suzzullo Library.  After entering the front door from the red brick plaza, we walked up the “grand staircase” (aptly named) past stories-high leaded glass windows.  Behind us was the HUGE reading home.  A picture is worth a thousand words… breathtaking!  suzzullo library

Every element of this room is a work of art… the stained glass, ceiling detail, hanging lamps, carved wooden bookcases.  Wow.  I decided to take in the ambiance and read there for an hour.  So calming….

After an hour, I was ready to re-emerge into the sunshine.  Several groups of what appeared to be potential students were gathered around a student guide.  It was fun to witness that energy and dreamy look of a college-bound youth.  Ah, those were the days!

We all met up again on the Ave to catch our bus home.  The bus stop (at 41st) was very crowded, and we didn’t all get on the first bus.  No worries, that route has a bus coming along every 10 minutes or so.  We came back together at the International District, next to the Amtrak Station.  From there we walked to the Sounder train, departing on the 4:32 train.  Unfortunately, the train had to stop for an extended time in Sumner… but, the good news is we weren’t driving and in a standstill on I-5.

All agreed the day on campus was a grand adventure!

Spring RBB trips

The spscclogo1Spring catalog for the South Puget Sound Community College continuing education program have been distributed.  Already two of the trips are full; one with a wait list!

To avoid disappointment, be sure to sign up soon for the remaining trips!

Register at:

Connect with Rebels by Bus via Facebook to communicate with other Rebels by Bus fans, or chat about trips you’ve taken or would like to take… rbb_100_sq (100x100)

Maui whale watching

maui busYes, I was in Maui earlier this month.  My Alaska family and I gathered in Maui to enjoy the sun and sand.  I couldn’t resist buying this postcard in Maui… AFTER I purchased the postcard my sister pointed out this refers to marijuana… all I saw was the BUS!  LOL :-0

Little 18-month old Norah, my grand niece, seemed to definitely enjoy the sand; a taste of Hawaii!

norah Hawaii 2015Now, about the public transit service in Maui.  Roberts of Hawaii is a big tour company that has a huge presence in the private tour business, but they also operate the public transit service as well as school bus service.

We were staying in the little town on Paia, about 15 minutes east of the airport and on the road to Hana.

The connections to the major towns in Maui are excellent.  I caught Bus 35 (Haiku Islander) just before 11 am at the Kuau Mart, which was a block from the house we rented.  That bus took me to the Kaahumanu Shopping Center in Kahului, arriving just before 11:30.  The next bus (Route 20) left just a few minutes after 11:30.  That bus stops at the Maalaea Harbor, which is one of the locations for whale watch and fishing boats.  The bus drives alongside the ocean for most of the rest of this leg.  A great place to catch views of whales spy hopping and/or venting.  And, as you well know, when you’re NOT driving and up high in a bus, you can see a lot more than riding in a car!  The bus arrived in Lahania, behind the Wharf Cinema building and a block from Front Street and the Banyan Tree, at 12:30.

I enjoyed a cheeseburger at “Cheeseburgers in Paradise”, and strolled Front Street to browse the many art galleries and little shops.  The HUGE banyan tree (really multiple trees), taking up a whole block next to the boat harbor and the infamous Pioneer Inn, is a good place for sit and enjoy the shade for a bit.

Returning home was just as easy and with the same great connections.

A day pass is only $4.00.  The buses were clean and air conditioned.  I estimate that about 1/3 of the passengers were tourists.  I heard a couple talking about taking a whale watch tour (they got off the bus at the Maalaea harbor).

I could have continued my trip beyond Lahania to Kaanapali and the Whaler’s Village.  I’m sorry I didn’t take the time to do so… NEXT time!

Seattle Culinary Arts Academy

This past week’s RBB adventure was to the oldest culinary arts school west of the Mississippi:  Seattle Central College Culinary Arts Academy.  We were treated to a private dining area and wonderful food.  Everyone raved about their choice…AND everything was so beautiful!

Sara, SPSCC videographer, came along on the trip to film this adventure.

Thanks, Sara!

Seeking December sunshine

balboa-park-photo3By mid-December I’m usually craving reliable sunshine.  The sunny cold days that the Puget Sound region experiences in December are lovely, BUT one cannot count on seeing such days.  For reliable sunshine, one must head south.

I did just that… headed to sunny San Diego for a quick getaway in mid-December.  To avoid the crowds (and expensive lodging), I stayed about 25 miles north of San Diego in Carlsbad.

The San Diego area has a well-developed public transit system.  Of course there’s the usual bus system, but also their famous red trolley line.  Ironically, the RED trolley is painted red, but the three different lines are named by color (orange, blue, and green).  The trolley is similar to the South Lake Union street car in Seattle.  There is also the COASTER train, which is a commuter train like the Sound Transit Sounder train.

Of course I used the transit system!  From Carlsbad I caught the COASTER train heading to San Diego (Santa Fe Station).  A round trip ticket for age 60 and older is $4.50  What a deal.  There are several stops along the way, and in many stretches the track is next to the Pacific Ocean to view hundreds of surfers.  The trip takes just under one hour.

The Santa Fe Station COASTER track is right beside the Amtrak Station.  As soon as I exited the COASTER, I walked around the fence to get to the waiting trolley’s orange line.  This trip cost $1.25.  I exited the trolley at the City College Stop.

I walked on the same side of the street to the bus stop for Route 7, which travels to Balboa Park.  This trip costs $1.10.  I got off the bus next to the pedestrian overpass and the rose and cactus gardens.  Balboa_Park_Botanical_Building_3

There is so much to see and do in Balboa Park.  I took full advantage of my Tacoma Art Museum reciprocal membership which provides FREE admission to several of the nineteen Park museums.  (Yes, there are 19 museums at the Park!)  One of my favorite museum exhibits was a wonderful collection featuring the children’s book author (and philosopher!), Dr. Suess.  The exhibit was very interactive, colorful, and fun.  The “Gaugin to Warhol” exhibit at the Museum of Art was another favorite.  There was a huge range of artists and their work, which the exhibit’s name implies.  Very impressive.  I really enjoyed browsing through the artist studios in the Spanish Village Arts Center.  Artists are at work in many of the studios and have product to sell.

I enjoyed my day at the Park so much that I decided to go back for another day!  The second day I visited more museums, including the Timken Museum of Art, Model Railroad Museum, and the Mingei International Museum.  I also wandered through the serene Japanese Garden, which is next to the Spreckels Organ Pavillon.  Ten well-cared for gardens are scattered throughout the Park.

When I took the Bus route 7 back to town, I decided to stay on the bus until the end of the route, at Broadway and 1st.  I walked several blocks down Broadway, towards the Bay to get to the Broadway Pier.  From there, I caught the passenger ferry to Coronado.  The afternoon sun was warm, the sky blue… so a ferry ride (in December!) was much appreciated.  The ferry ride reminded me of the West Seattle Water taxi; about the same length of time and with great views of the City skyline.

This trip was fun… and so much easier and less expensive because of public transit!





Seattle Central Library and Adult Story hour!

seattle library bldgYou’ve probably heard about, or even been inside, the amazing Seattle Central Library located on 4th Avenue at Spring Street.  But did you know they have a free adult story hour on the first and third Mondays of the month at noon?

A full contingency of Rebels took advantage of this free and fun event.  Taking the bus to Seattle we exited on 4th at Seneca, one block north of the Library.  Some of us bought a lunch along the way, while others of us had packed a lunch to eat during the story hour.

The librarian which read a Ray Bradbury sci-fi thriller was excellent.  He had all of us glued to the edge of our seats.  What a fun way to spend an hour!  seattle section

After the story, we were met by long-time library docent, Hollis Williams.  His knowledge and passion about this amazing building and library system was evident in our private tour.  He told us about the architectural as well as functional design of the library.  We visited many sections, including the Seattle collection, the cheerful children’s section, 10th floor viewing area, reading rooms, meetings room floor (which is painted BRIGHT red), and the delightful gift shop.

After our tour, we headed north on 4th Avenue enjoying the sights and sounds of bustling downtown.  We caught our bus for our return trip on 2nd Avenue, between Pine and Stewart Avenues.

Another grand adventure!

Tacoma’s Wright Park

karpeles museum tacomaThis easy two-bus trip took us to the Stadium district in Tacoma.  Our first stop was to the Karpeles Manuscript Musuem.  In the 1960’s Mr. Karpeles (a real estate developer from San Diego) started purchasing historic manuscripts and artifacts in order to preserve history for future generations.  There are several of his free museums throughout the country, including Tacoma!

The Museum sits on the edge of Wright Park, across the street from the Conservatory.  The current exhibit was about John Quincy Adams, the country’s sixth President.  Did you know that both he and his father (John; the 2nd President) did NOT attend their successor’s innaguration?  That has never happened before or after…

wright park conservatoryAfter viewing the documents, we walked across the street to the lovely Conservatory.  This Victorian era greenhouse is operated by Tacoma Metro Parks.  The tropical humid smell welcomed us as we entered.  The seasonal display featured amazing chrysanthemums, in many styles and colors.

From there the group went in different directions to find lunch.  A few of us ate at the Art House Cafe, for a creative and very good meal.  From there, we headed to Kings Books, a huge used bookstore on St. Helens Avenue.

During this trek we broke a new Rebels by Bus record:  a pouring rain and wind storm soaked us to the skin!  Yuck.

We had all agreed to check in with each other at the bus stop at 1:00 pm.  We were so soggy that we decided it was time to head home…. and thankful that we weren’t doing the driving through the huge puddles and freeway spray.

A cup of tea sure sounded good…

Seattle holiday lights and Figgy Pudding Caroling contest

figgy pudding buttonOh what fun it is to ride… on a BUS! 
A wonderful group of Rebels traveled to Seattle for the 28th annual Figgy Pudding Caroling contest.  This annual event is a true crowd pleaser and successful fundraiser for the Pike Market Senior Center and Food Bank. 
We arrived in Seattle just after noon, so we were ready for lunch at the Westlake Mall Food Court.  From there, a few of us remained in town, while the rest of the group took the monorail to the Seattle Center Winterfest.  The Armory had a wonderful HUGE model train display, set in the early 1900s.  Beautifully done!  The Fischer Plaza ice skating rink was enjoyed by many.
Other activities of the afternoon included visiting the Sheraton Hotel’s Gingerbread Village (Amazing and intricate designs); strolling through Nordstrom, Pacific Place, and Macys to see the holiday lights and displays; and simply gathering the spirit of the holidays.  Macy’s Santa was definitely the BEST Santa.  His beard was real, and his suit was made of boiled wool.  Classy guy!
Next, it was time to wait for the Figgy Pudding kick-off.  A few of the the group “reserved” seats for us right on the corner in front of the Starbucks; it was a perfect place to watch the goings on.  macys star
As Rebel Vicki says: “The weatherman graced us with a perfect rain free evening.  I must admit that I never really imagined I would EVER be located after dark, right across the street from the (Macys) Christmas star!  Wonderful memories added to the album in my mind!”