Doin’ the Puyallup, bus-fam style (part II)

A lot has happened since my last post. (This is mostly because I wrote it over six weeks ago, but it was a pretty jam-packed end of summer.) For one thing, my baby brother got hitched. (!) And also, we made a trip to the Puyallup Fair.

The last time we did the Puyallup (way back in ’08), Pierce Transit offered a shuttle from Tacoma Dome station right to the fairgrounds. The trip was reasonably painless but did involve two transfers and a bit of a roundabout route. These days—in case you haven’t heard—Pierce Transit is broke. The agency has been forced to cut a lot of vital service, so obviously, the fair shuttle had to go.

So, when we talked about going to the fair again this year, I assumed it was going to be a hassle to get there. I’m no stranger to transit adventures, but I do have my limits, and a day at the fair with two children is exhausting enough without bookending it with a couple of bus marathons.

As it turns out, the fairgrounds is only a little more than half a mile from Puyallup Station. (Thanks for the tip, Priya!) To get there, we caught the 578* from 2nd & Pike and then walked the .6 miles (through a pleasant downtown area, on sidewalks) from the station to the fairgrounds. The 578 isn’t a straight shot (it stops in Federal Way, Sumner, and Auburn), but it mostly sticks to transit centers and the freeway and keeps the stopping and starting to a minimum. Our total travel time was roughly two hours, including walks and waits. The cost: $2 of extra charges on our Orca cards for the 578 ride.

The ride back was even better (and significantly shorter), since the Sounder was running. We walked the same .6 miles back to Puyallup Station and caught the 4:37 PM train (the first northbound train after the morning rush) back downtown. Have I mentioned that I love the Sounder? It delights me. Our total trip time—from the fair exit to our front door—was an hour and a half, and the train ride was easily as fun as anything we did at the fair. And speaking of…

All four of us had a fantastic time. We ate ice cream. We met firefighters. We watched a pirate show. We ran into many friends. We got (henna) tattoos.

And, yes, we even did some driving.

Driving at the fair

Driving at the fair

Driving at the fair

Already looking forward to next year…

***
Note that we wanted to catch the Sounder, but there are only two southbound trains in the morning–at 6:10 and 6:50 AM (too early!). The next train south isn’t until 3:15 PM (too late!).

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4 Responses to Doin’ the Puyallup, bus-fam style (part II)

  1. jkh1948 says:

    Your children become ever more beautiful, which is not a total surprise since Mom & Dad are both gorgeous. A note: .6 mile is just about one kilometer. That’s quite a distance for the Busling, and most 4-year-olds would consider it too far, also. Did you resort to carrying or a stroller?

    A general note: I absolutely love the convenience of the Orca card. Never a fuss about correct change or which line you’re on. As long as I remember to reload it now and then!

    • BusChick says:

      This is the most amazing thing about my children, and the thing I forgot to mention in the post: They both walked the *entire* way–to the bus, to the next bus, the .6 miles to the fairgrounds, and (most amazing of all) all around the fairgrounds. (We covered some ground that day.) I didn’t even bring a stroller. The only time I picked up Busling was when we got off the Sounder, and, upon realizing that we had left the baby pigs for good, he began howling inconsolably. (Poor baby missed his nap that day–one thing we could have used a stroller for.) Other than that, he kept up with the adults.

      I have been working on both of them since they were able to walk, precisely because I don’t do strollers on buses (if I can avoid it). Also, I want them to think of exercise as a normal part of one’s day. So, yay for bus babies!

  2. The 578 doesn’t go through Kent (thank goodness), but does through Sumner. I assume that’s what you meant. (I take the 578 from Federal Way to downtown a couple times/week)

    Josh