Rebels By Bus

Slow Travel With Low Carbon Footprint

Archive for the ‘Ferry’ Category

Enjoying the slower pace of Vashon Island

map of vashon Yes, Vashon Island IS in King County, the same county as Seattle. But, goodness, what a difference! The pace is relaxed, friendly, and without a business suit in sight :-0 I like it!

Yesterday I led twelve Rebels to Vashon Island. It definitely took careful planning to coordinate the bus routes and ferry schedule. But, it CAN be done! (Google maps didn’t seem to think so… they stated that from Olympia you would need to go to downtown Seattle, then the West Seattle Fauntleroy ferry to the island, which would take over five hours to get there.) My specific trip directions are found in the right-hand column of the RBB home page, under “pages” and “trip directions”. vashon art deco

Briefly, we left the Martin Way Park and Ride lot in Lacey at 7:55 am and transferred to Pierce County route 11 at the 10th and Commerce bus area. That bus took us to the Point Defiance ferry. The 10:05 ferry took us for our 15 minute ride to Vashon. Metro bus 118 was waiting at the end of the ferry dock. To get a flavor of the island, we stayed on the bus with the ever-popular and cheerful Larry (28 year veteran of this route) as we travelled down Vashon Highway to the Seattle ferry dock. There are wonderful views of Quartermaster Harbor (the idyllic protected harbor at Burton, where Maury Island meets Vashon) along the route. We stayed Ativan on the bus with Larry as the bus headed back to the town of Vashon (and the only four way red blinking light on the island) where we disembarked at Bank Road.

We had from 11:15-ish until 3:15 to eat lunch, explore the town, and relax. Most of us browsed through the many small stores (love the Vashon Book Shop), as well as enjoyed a leisurely lunch. I bought a sandwich from the wonderful Thriftway deli which I ate while reading in the Farmer’s Market park.

vashon ferryThe bus taking us back to the ferry left from Bank Road and Vashon Highway at 3:18. We had a short wait for the next ferry.

Have I mentioned our perfect weather? While on the ferry we noticed the dark menacing clouds ahead of us. Sure enough, as we were waiting for our Pierce Route 11 bus, we heard thunder as the rains poured. The bus shelter was big enough for all of us to stay dry.

The rest of our trip home was uneventful. We arrived back at the Martin Way Park and Ride at the expected time: 6:30 pm. We were all tired, relaxed, and thoroughly enjoyed our day and each other’s company. What a great trip AND a wonderful group of Rebels!

For more ideas of what to do and see on Vashon, see the RBB post from 2010 and go to the Vashon Chamber website at:

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)

Read the rest of this entry »

The Seattle Water Taxi has returned…spring must be here!

Even though the weather isn’t convincing, you know spring is here:  The Seattle water taxi is running!  This year, the Metro Transit water taxi began on April 5th.  The Rachel Marie, a 77’ catamaran, is new to this run.  She formerly was used for the Bremerton/Seattle foot ferry, and holds 150 passengers, as well as 18 bicycles.

For a mere $3.00 ORCA holders leave Pier 50 (at the foot of Yesler Street) in Seattle, landing at Seacrest Park in West Seattle.  (Pier 50 is just south of the State Ferry Terminal, which is Pier 52).  The 10 minute run takes you to the Seacrest Park Dock, a block north of the famous Salty’s restaurant.  The skyline of Seattle is breathtaking, as well as the view of  Mt. Rainier, the Olympic Mountains, and (on a really clear day) Mt. Baker in the distant north.  Be sure to take your camera!

Once you arrive at Seacrest Park, hop on the free Metro shuttle van #775.  It will be waiting for you when you get off the ferry.  This van will take you up the steep hill to the lovely Admiral district of West Seattle.  The van winds back down Admiral Way, and intersects with Alki Avenue SW.  Get off the van here.  The Alki lighthouse is almost in view, to your left (west).  The wonderful Mexican-southwest restaurant, Cactus!, is on your right (2820 Alki).   Definitely worthy of a lunch stop! Try their Butternut Squash Enchilada:  Crispy white corn tortillas with Jack and goat cheese, sauted spinach, roasted butternut squash, caramelized onions, mole and guacamole.   Yum.  Makes me hungry thinking about it!

Read the rest of this entry »

Vashon Island: A Pleasant Time-Traveler Journey

A short ferry ride from Seattle or Tacoma takes you to a microcosm of a friendly, slower-paced life style.  The Washington state ferry system is admired worldwide.  And for good reason.  What better way to enjoy our water and mountain views than a trip on a ferry? 

 As of summer of 2009, the Rhododendron gracefully flows from Pt. Defiance (Tacoma) to Vashon.  The Rhododendron is the smallest car ferry on line (the Hiyu is the smallest car/passenger ferry, but as of summer 2009, did not have a regular run), with only one lane of traffic loading at a time.  The route provides a beautiful view of Mt. Rainier, with Tacoma’s Commencement Bay in the foreground. 

 The more popular Fauntleroy/Vashon route is served by three different ferries, departing twice an hour from each end of the 20 minute run. 

 Once on the island, the Metro bus 118 is waiting for you.  To get an overview of the island, stay on the bus for the 1 ½ hour route.  The 118 travels Vashon Highway, the north/south route between the two ferry terminals, as well as a loop around Maury Island.  The Maury Island side-trip passes through the small villages of Portage (at the isthmus connecting Vashon and Maury Islands), Burton (at the lovely and protected Quartermaster Harbor), and Dockton. 

The town of Vashon:  Get off the bus as it passes through the town of Vashon.  Vashon is the largest town on the island, the busiest intersection (Banks Road and Vashon Highway) has a four-way blinking light.  There are several choices of restaurants within two blocks of this intersection, as well as bookstores, art galleries, grocery and hardware stores, as well as gift and boutique shops.  One could spend all day wandering in and out of the shops.  The pace of the town is soothing; the shopkeepers are friendly and clearly proud of their island community.  Even the dogs are friendly, and welcomed everywhere (as evidenced by dog water bowls at many store entrances).

Read the rest of this entry »