Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kitsap Loop

Today was the first successful completion of my "Kitsap Loop" journey, which is essentially going south through Tacoma, west over the Narrows, north through Kitsap County, and back east via the Washington State Ferries. The "weakest link" of this trip is Kitsap Transit's Purdy Connection, which runs only five times each day over the course of the day. This connection is also why I haven't been able to complete this trip on my previous attempt, since I arrived too early and didn't want to wait for two hours.

Like the Whidbey Island journey, I will only mention highlights. This trip isn't called a "grand tour" because it didn't cover much of Kitsap County, unlike the Whidbey trip.

  1. CT 414 Seattle
  2. ST 594 Tacoma
  3. PT 2 TCC (originally intended to take a later PT 1 TCC)
  4. PT 100 Purdy
  5. KT Purdy Connection
  6. KT Port Orchard to Bremerton
  7. WSF Bremerton to Seattle
  8. MT 99 International District
  9. CT 414 Mountlake Terrace

Unlike previous journeys, which always started at either my house, Lynnwood, or Bothell, I decided to take advantage of CT's new parking garage at Mountlake Terrace Transit Center. It was mostly empty, but the TC was very nice, new, and much cleaner than many others. They even had a cable-stay walkway! Expecting a 40-foot Invero to pick me up, I was even more surprised when a 278XX bus picked me up.

I had hoped to make a quick-and-painless transfer to my next bus on Stewart in Seattle, but construction got in the way, and I had to run along Lenora to catch my next bus. I really wasn't expecting it to be that annoying.

Another painful transfer was to my next bus, which arrived just as I was getting my bearings. That bus smelled just like a locker room, which was disgusting the entire way.

I had originally intended to have twenty-minute headways, making the above dashing around completely unnecessary, and ended up accumulating time until I was an hour early at TCC. The driver (the same one I rode with on my previous attempt) was a bit mystified when I said, "I'll just take the next one." Instead of just waiting for an hour, I went to an IHOP a couple blocks away for lunch.

At Purdy, I had to wait another hour (as I had planned initially). After watching some teenagers go into the woods next to the transit center and come out, I decided to investigate the path for myself. The only notable thing back there was a fairly fast-flowing creek, as well as a lot of trash that had been left before.

The bus for the Purdy Connection was a dial-a-ride-transit/access bus, which made sense since it acted like Metro's DART service (somewhat fixed-route with some deviations). Those on board were friendly, and chatted as though they knew each other. Fortunately, there were no deviation requests, and it was a straight-shot along SR-16 to Port Orchard, and my hair got a beating by the wind.

The foot ferry was a fun ride, and was even smaller than King County's Water Taxi. It also was a very short trip, since I could see what I knew to be Bremerton from Port Orchard.

Having successfully completed a link I had never done before, I ended up in Bremerton. While I had hoped to meet a friend of mine there after missing the first ferry transfer, she couldn't make it in time before the next ferry left. Instead, I had some ice cream, and even saw two Orion I buses!

I barely made the free route 99 after landing in Seattle, and was lucky to even see it at all. It was over ten minutes late, or ten minutes early. Transferring to the 414 wasn't so chancy; it came only twenty minutes after I had arrived, with the Invero I had expected earlier. Is it just me, or do all of CT's Inveros have broken reclining mechanisms?

This was truly an epic trek, but I likely won't do it again alone due to that darn Purdy Connection. I don't think I'll ever forget this one.

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