Tag Archives: Tahoma

How the Bus Fam celebrates a sunny day

I am not a fair weather bus chick. I love my city (rain, clouds, and late-spring chill included) and my carfree life no matter the season. I’d be lying, though, if I said that I didn’t prefer getting around during time of year when it’s light both early and late and there’s a high probability of sunshine.

During the months between May and October (aka, bus chick high season) life on the ground is lovely–far, far prefarable to life trapped inside an exhaust-spewing metal box stuck in baseball traffic. We walk more than we wait (truth be told, except in extreme weather conditions, I do that year round), worry less about how late we get home (sadly, bedtimes still exist during DST), and spend as much time as we can outdoors.

On a beautiful day, there is plenty of occupy us in our own corner of the city. We are spitting distance from five great parks. We can walk to a city pool. We can take the 27 down to the lake and put our feet in the water. (Almost as often, if we have time, we walk all the way down there–and back.)

But sometimes, much as we love our neighborhood, we get tired of beating the same paths. Sometimes, on a sunny day, we have a hankerin’ for an adventure. Today was one of those times. So, we bus types rose early, threw on some playin-outside-in-the-sunshine gear, and did what we do best.

First, we caught the 27 to 3rd & Yesler, then walked to Pier 50 to catch my beloved Water Taxi.

My city

View from the Water Taxi







Busling love, love, loves the retro paint job on “his” Space Needle.

Busling's Space Needle







It was Chicklet’s job to find the mountain. Hello, Tahoma!

Hello, Tahoma!


On the other side:

On the other side


At Seacrest, we caught the (free!) Dart shuttle to the Admiral District.

Shuttle to Admiral

We stopped at the church where my mom’s ashes are buried to bring her some early Mother’s Day flowers.

Flowers for Caroline

Then, we played (and had a snack) at the park near Hiawatha Community Center, which is one of Chicklet’s favorites.


By the time we caught the shuttle down to Alki, it was still early.

Shuttle back to the beach

Gorgeous but still a little chilly







Chillin at Alki

Good name













After plenty of good sand and water time–and after a quick stop at the cafe formerly known as Alki Bakery–we caught the 56 downtown.

And, they're spent!

Despite an extra-long wait at 3rd & Yesler (27 was 18 minutes late, and nothing else was coming), we made it home in time for Busling’s nap.

Perfect, perfect day.

The bus family takes a drive

Over the long weekend, we bus types did the Zipcar thing and spent Saturday hiking on Mount Rainier. In the old days (back when it was just Bus Nerd and me), our Tahoma adventures included hard hikes (for which we were rewarded with breathtaking views) and overnight camping. These days, we stick to easy day hikes and settle for great views. I miss our grown-up trips, but I do enjoy bringing the little ones. Exposing Chicklet and Busling to the beauty of the natural world is good for them in all kinds of ways. I hope it will also help them understand why it is crucial that we (and by “we,” I mean humanity in general and Americans in particular) change the way we live and get around.

I digress.

It’s no secret that I’ve been struggling a bit since I started busing with two babies. The problem isn’t the actual busing –I worked out those logistical kinks pretty quickly; it’s the timing. I feel like I’m constantly rushing or waiting, and doing either with two small children is a heck of a challenge. But folks, it only took a day of driving with two babies to remind me why I am so grateful for my life on the bus.

It wasn’t all bad. The trip to the mountain was fairly–actually, very–pleasant. We left when we were ready instead of scrambling to get everyone out the door by a specific time. The luxury of cargo space allowed us to be pretty indiscriminate about what we brought with us. (Extra books? Extra snacks? Extra clothes? Why not?) We didn’t even bother to organize most of it. Busling slept for the better part of the ride, and Chicklet entertained herself by requesting songs (as it happens, she’s also a Dwele fan) and playing with her dinosaur sticker book. Nerd and I had some rare time to chat. The whole family arrived at the mountain rested and ready for action.*

Tahoma, here we come!
A phone photo before takeoff

The ride back was pretty darn bad. Busling started screaming about 10 minutes in and, except for a few minutes of sleeping, didn’t let up until we arrived home and were finally(!) able to remove him from his car seat. Chicklet spent most of the ride trying to (and succeeding at) removing her arms from her car seat straps. We pulled over once to recombobulate her (while Busling was screaming his head off, mind), but it didn’t take long for her to start up again. If the straps were loose, she removed her arms because she could. If we tightened them, she struggled to get out because they were “too tight.” When she wasn’t endangering her life, she was whining, begging for snacks, and asking when it was going to be time to get out.

I couldn’t reach either child from my position strapped in the front, though twice I twisted myself onto my knees to re-strap Chicklet. I couldn’t even see Busling (he’s still too small to face forward), which is probably just as well, since I don’t enjoy watching him scream.

I never have those kinds of problems with my kids on the bus, mostly because they have my attention. I can hold them, entertain them, console them, and correct and redirect as needed. Yes, the timing can be a pain for me, and the waits** are sometimes tough for Chicklet, but the actual rides are almost always fun. In two and a half (plus) years, I’ve endured exactly one bus meltdown, and that only lasted for two minutes.

What’s a little rushing (or waiting) compared?

*Unfortunately, we had to delay our action for some time, since all of the parking near the trail head was taken. (That’s the thing about cars: You always have to find someplace to put them.) We drove around for a good while, then gave up and parked a decent walk away at the ranger station.
**Thanks to OneBusAway, a lot of the waiting (at stops, anyway) can be avoided. I don’t always take advantage, though, mostly because I’m too busy keeping up with children to look up the stop on my phone.

Earth Day is still a great day to be a bus chick

One of the many reasons I ride:

A view of Tahoma, from a 39 stop in Seward Park

Still more reasons, from the American Public Transportation Association:

An individual switching to public transit can reduce his or her daily carbon emissions by 20 pounds; that’s more than 4,800 pounds in a year, a figure that is more than the combined carbon emissions reduction that comes from weathering your home and using energy efficient appliances and environmentally-friendly light bulbs.

If just one commuter of a household switches from driving to using public transportation, the household’s carbon footprint can be reduced by 10 percent. If a household gives up its second car altogether, a household can reduce carbon emissions up to 30 percent.

In case the future of the planet isn’t enough incentive: This Earth Day, lucky transit riders in DC were given free chocolate as a reward for their efforts. (Hey, Metro: Any chance this might happen in Seattle next year?)

If you prefer a little peace on earth with your carbon reduction (and chocolate!), check out this CSM editorial (thanks for the link, Pam!) about how the bus brings out our gentler side. I can’t say that all the bus rides I’ve taken have been so kind and gentle, but I definitely agree with the premise.

Happy Earth Day, everyone!

Two more reasons to ride

1. Free money!
And, no, I’m not talking about the thousands of dollars you’ll save on transportation. Check it:

SPOKANE, Wash. — A mysterious woman hopped aboard buses, greeted passengers with “Merry Christmas” and handed each an envelope containing a card and a $50 bill before stepping off and repeating the process on another bus.

Thanks Chris (and everyone) for sending the story.

2. Unexpected winter views of Tahoma
Drivers have to watch the road; riders get to watch the mountain.