Rebels By Bus

Slow Travel With Low Carbon Footprint

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!

The Wheels on the bus…

mini it busThis past week RBB partnered with Intercity Transit to offer “The Wheels on the Bus… an introduction to public transit”.  We were picked up by a hybrid electric bus at the designated transit center and taken to the Intercity Transit Center.  (No, this is NOT the bus we were picked up by… this is the “mini” IT bus which is used in community events.  Look for it at the Lakefair parade this weekend!)

We visited the dispatch center, the heart center of the operation.  Every bus is equipped with GPS, so their specific location is known to dispatch.  Security cameras are also scanned, which help assure safety for riders and drivers.

Jon led us on a tour through the maintenance facility… the inventory room, multiple bays with hydraulic lifts, rows of tire chains, the steam cleaner bay… and the bus wash!  it bus underneath

Look how clean the bottom of the bus is!  We all noticed that the entire (30 year old!) facility is very clean, light and bright.  It is obvious that IT employees take pride in their workplace.

IT bus engineOne of the many things we saw on this trip was an engine on a standard IT bus.  It’s huge!  And look at that wrench that is used on the buses!   Very impressive.

Last, but certainly not least, we hopped back on our bus again and went through the bus wash!  (Squeals of delight!)

What a great way to spend two hours… interesting, informative, and bus washFUN!

Thank you Erin (our IT hostess with them most-est), Jon (our tour guide), and Mel and Kevin (our bus drivers).  Thurston County residents are so lucky to have such a progressive and responsive public transit system!


The Wheels on the Bus… FREE summer event!

603 bus trimThis summer I’m collaborating with Thurston County’s wonderful Intercity Transit in offering “The Wheels on the Bus… an introduction to public transit”.

This two hour event will be offered twice in July; Thursday the 9th and Saturday the 11th.  Participants will be picked up in a hybrid bus at the specified location, and will be transported to the Intercity Transit maintenance center.  While at the center a mechanic will tell us about the bio-fuel used by the hybrid buses, as well as view a bus engine, and walk under a bus on a hydraulic lift.  The highlight of the visit will be getting back on our bus to go through the bus wash.  How cool is that?!

During the trip to and from the maintenance center you’ll hear about bus riding basics, as well as hear about Rebels by Bus adventure trips scheduled for the summer.  Three trips are planned with families in mind… Woodland Park Zoo, Wooden Boat Center in Seattle, and the SERA sprayground in Tacoma.

And the best news… “The Wheels on the Bus” is FREE!

Thank you, Intercity Transit :-0

The following is a flyer providing specific information about “The Wheels on the Bus” and  this summer’s trips.

Rebels 2015 Summer Flyer family

Edmonds by the Sea

edmonds center IIOne more time… Rebels brought great weather with them to the town of Edmonds.  There are four “legs” to this trip, so we started out a bit earlier than usual in order to have plenty of time to explore our destination.

From Seattle we caught a bus that took us to the Freeway edmondsstation at Mountlake Terrace.  It is a strange sensation to get off the bus in the middle of the I-5 freeway.  The pedestrian overpass took us to the transit parking garage, then around the corner to catch our fourth and final bus to our destination.

chanterelle edmondsWe arrived in Edmonds just before noon.  After orienting everyone to the town (all had a map of the business district), we scattered for lunch. Chanterelles is one of the restaurants on Main Street. Most of us ate at Demetris Woodstone Taverna, on Main.  The menu is varied… flatbread pizza, salads, paninis, tapas, and local seafood.  The waiter encouraged us to share plates.  Everyone was very satisfied with their meal and service.

After lunch there was plenty of time to wander the streets and shops of the compact business district, which is about 3 square blocks.  Rick Steves travel store, located on 4th Avenue at Bell Street, was on some of our lists.  This is a good place to purchase books about European travel, as well as travel equipment and supplies.  Staff is very knowledgeable about travelling in Europe and provides great advice.  The downtown core was vibrant, but not crowded.  The ambiance was friendly and relaxed.  edmonds ferryThe Edmonds ferry dock is at the end of Main Street (within sight from the Demetris restaurant) which offers access to Puget Sound and a view of the Olympic Mountains.  Relaxing in the sun was a great way to enjoy the scenery and each other’s company.

The return trip home included riding the Sounder train, always a hit with Rebels.  Thanks to all you Rebels for another grand adventure!  Hope to see you on board again soon!