Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Whidbey Grand Tour #3

That's right, today was my third all-day bus tour around Whidbey Island. Whidbey Island is nice to visit because of the wide, open fields, dense forests, and small-town feel. There are also several funny street names, such as "Power Road," "Spyglass Road," several variations on "Bluff Road," and "Useless Bay Road." Views of the water are common along the bus routes, such as Deception Pass, and in some places the roads are mere feet from water's edge. Last, but not least, all Island Transit routes are fare-free, as they are all tax-funded. Their buses are primarily cutaway ElDorado models, with some Gillig Phantoms.

While I won't go into in-depth detail of every leg of the trip, I will mention everything of note I can think of. There won't be a very smooth flow between paragraphs. That said, here's a list of the routes I took in order:

  1. ST 532 Everett
  2. IT 412C Camano Island
  3. IT 411C Mt. Vernon
  4. IT 411W Oak Harbor
  5. IT 1 Clinton
  6. WSF Clinton to Mukilteo
  7. CT 113 Lynnwood
  8. CT 121 UW-Bothell

While in Everett, two things of note happened. First, I saw that Everett Transit has purchased multiple diesel-electric hybrid buses. Secondly, I purchased something at Everett Station's cafe called a "Frozen Xplosion," which is pretty much fruit juice blended with ice. Last time I had bought this, they were out of the peach juice, and made something closer to an Italian soda instead, but I preferred this time with the actual peach juice. A Coast Starlight train stopped by during my wait for the next leg of the route, which hadn't happened before.

The widening of a certain section of SR-20, which had been underway during my last visit, was completed this time around. A section later along the route, however, was currently under heavy construction. One reason I like the cutaway buses is that they tend to give a rough (but fun) ride, and this was an extreme case. The driver even said "Prepare to grit your teeth" just before the rough section.

Apparently wood burning is legal on Whidbey Island, as someone had a large pile of wood burning a few blocks away (but in clear sight since it was an open area) just before the driver changeover. The smell was very strong where it passed us, but didn't last so long.

Riding Washington State Ferries is generally fun, and unlike the larger ferries in Seattle the Clinton-Mukilteo run doesn't have a separate pedestrian ramp. I never really figured out the order involved until today. Upon docking, passengers then vehicles are unloaded, then priority vehicles, regular vehicles, and pedestrians are loaded.

As per the "tradition" established after every trip, I stopped by the Mukilteo ferry port's Ivar's eatery. It was the only real meal I ate in around nine hours, and was welcomed. I barely made catching the 113 after this, but was treated to a ride in one of CT's new (281XX) buses.

That's pretty much everything of note on my trip. My last thoughts here are that buses generally smell bad, primarily due to spray deodorant and cigarettes. I can't wait until my trip through the Kitsap Peninsula!

Post a Comment