Rebels By Bus

Slow Travel With Low Carbon Footprint

Bus, Train, and Ferry oh, my!

 One of the ORCA card ads state:  “For whatever pod you travel in… bus, train, or ferry…”   Earlier this month, I used all THREE modes of transportation in one day to visit my Whidbey Island friend, Janice.  What an adventure! 

A one-way summary of the trip follows: 

  • Sound Transit (bus 594) from the Lakewood Station to 4th and Cherry in downtown Seattle ($3.00) 
  • From that same stop, the Sound Transit 510 goes to the Everett Station ($3.00) 
  • Everett Transit bus route 18 through Everett, via Broadway, then on to the Mukilteo ferry dock ($.75)
  • The Washington State Mukilteo to Clinton ferry walk-on passenger  ($4.10)


In Seattle, I had time to have a cup of coffee and scone at the Specialty Café, located on the 4th Avenue entrance of the Columbia Tower building.  The large seating area close to the cafe was quiet, and a good spot to read while waiting for my next bus.  

The Everett Station is a multi-mode transportation hub; bus, Sounder commuter trains, as well as the Amtrak train stop at this Station.  Throughout the downtown Everett area, hanging baskets and planters were stuffed with beautiful deep purple flowers.  The bus headed out of town via Colby Avenue, onto Mukilteo Boulevard.  We passed through Forest Park, a lovely stretch of shaded road with pink, coral, and white impatiens flowers lining the way.  The bus also passed by Harborview Park, which is located on the bluff above Mukilteo with a panoramic view of the Sound. 

The Mukilteo-Clinton Ferry runs every 30 minutes; on the hour and half-hour.  Walk-on ferry passengers are treated royally… they are the first to get on AND off the ferry.  You definitely have the front row view of landing at the dock as a walk-on passenger! 

Janice met me at the end of the Clinton ferry dock.  We explored the south end of the island, such as the fun and funky Webb Department Store in Freeland.  Then we headed to Ebey’s Prairie, a gorgeous high bluff above Sound, located outside of Coupeville.  Fort Worden is directly across Admiralty Inlet, as well as Port Townsend, to the South.  The Strait of Juan de Fuca is to the North.  There is a trail along the bluff line, with stairs down to the beach.  On a clear day, one can see Mt cheap electronic cigarette kits. Rainier.  The Prairie is preserved as the Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, and encompasses three state parks.  Ebey’s Landing is the first national historic reserve in the United States created by the National Park Service to preserve the rural history and culture of the island and to protect the area’s rare and sensitive plants.


A historical note on Ebey’s Landing, from Wikipedia:  In 1850, Colonel Isaac N. Ebey became the first permanent settler on Whidbey Island, claiming a square mile (2.6 km²) of prairie with a southern shoreline on Admiralty Inlet. Even though he was farming potatoes and wheat on his land, he was also the postmaster for Port Townsend, Washington and rowed a boat daily across the inlet in order to work at the post office there. On August 11, 1857, Colonel Ebey was murdered and beheaded by Haida Indians who traveled from the Queen Charlotte Islands. Ebey was 39 years old. Ebey was slain in retaliation for the killing of a Haida chief at Port Gamble. 

After a brief hike, we were more than ready for lunch.  We ate at Gordon’s on Blueberry Hill, a small restaurant on a bluff with a lovely view of the surrounding meadows and water.  The food was excellent. 

Once again, time flew… time to head back to the ferry. 

To get back home to Olympia, I simply reversed my route, except I took the 6:15 p.m. Sounder train from Seattle to the Tacoma Dome.  Sound Transit Route 599 bus waits for Sounder passengers, to take us directly to the Lakewood Station, where my car was parked.  A long, but relaxing, day…

Note on fares with an ORCA card:  The fares noted in this post are cash costs.  As you know, an ORCA card recognizes “transfers” between bus systems.  The north bound trip cost me $10.10 (rather than a non-ORCA rider cash cost of $10.85). The savings on the way home were much greater.  The ferry getting OFF Whidbey Island is free to everyone.  With my ORCA card, I paid $.75 for the bus between the Mukilteo ferry dock and Everett; $2.25 for the Sound Transit bus from Everett to Seattle, and $1.75 for the Sounder train from Seattle to Tacoma/Lakewood.  My total round trip cost, using my ORCA card was $14.85, rather than a cash cost of $19.35.

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  • Elaine says:

    why didn’t you take the sounder train to Mukilteo, just a few minutes from the ferry terminal?

  • I heard a lot about of ORCA card, but i didn’t see even a piece of it or a sample in the internet.
    Anyways, was the trip a good one or not?

  • admin says:

    Good question! Unfortunately, there is only one northbound (Seattle to Everett) “Sounder” run in the morning. Amtrak Cascades route 510 is used, leaving Seattle at 7:40 am. This is part of the “rails plus program”, and only accepts monthly Sound Transit passes as fare.


  • admin says:

    The ORCA Card is really great… sorry the post wasn’t clear of how to get one!
    Their website is:
    A card costs $5.00. Once you receive the card, you can register the card and add value to it via their website.


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