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April 20, 2007

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I'd been wanting to take a public transportation
vacation for years. Somehow today Sarah and I
finally got up the gumption to give it a go. We
rode our bikes to 45th Street & I-5 stop and
boarded a northbound 511 Sound Transit bus
at 9:50 am. Luckily, both bike racks were
available. It cost $2.50 a piece; ultimately,
that small fare, 3 transfers, and a bit of up
and down biking would bring us to Camano
Island State Park
, 65 miles away. A man carrying
what might have been all his possessions sat up
front surrounded by backpacks and duffelbags.
He wore a big button: I AM DEAF AND BLIND.
He got off one stop before us. How he knew it was
time we don't know. People complain that
riding buses is too complicated, but if you
can see and/or hear, there's really no
excuse. We transferred to Community
at Ash Way Park and Ride; it
was encouraging to see the large lot
packed with cars. It's a step in the
right direction. We rode the 201 N to
another transfer point in Marysville
where we met a fellow named Jim who
was on his way to work on an offshore
factory ship processing fish, 6 months
of 16-hour days, 7 days a week. I asked
about the pelt wrapped around his backpack.
"Caribou," he said, a gift from a medicine man
friend which he used in private ceremonies. We
shared some cheesebread Sarah bought at nearby pizzeria.


When our 240 to Stanwood
arrived we feared we were
out of luck--there was already
a bike in the rack. Luckily, that
person got off and we loaded on.
The ride to Stanwood was lovely,
winding past small lakes and dense
woods. As we were deciding whether to
bike or bus it from Stanwood to Camano,
the Island Transit bus arrived and laziness
won out and we got on. The bus there runs in a
loop and is free, which is the way public transit
should be. The bike rack had room for three as
opposed to the usual two. The squeaky bus was empty
but for the two of us and a woman holding a cardboard box
in her lap. The driver introduced us to her by asking if
we'd ever heard ducks on a bus before. It wasn't the bus that
was squeaky but the two ducklings the woman was taking
home "just to have around." She was shy at first but opened up.
The ducks were cute, yellow and fuzzy. Peep peep peep. Last stop,
the driver, now on lunchbreak, took us to a coffeeshop and intro-
duced us around. The first part of our journey had taken 3 hours,
with another 3 of hilly biking still ahead, but that is another story.