A man, His Daughter, and Their Island Transit Adventure

Bob and his daughter Brittany met at the Seattle airport and began a week-long adventure using only public transit exploring Whidbey, Port Townsend, and San Juan Island.

Bob says he enjoys figuring out the transit schedules and planning adventures. “My wife and I have used public transit throughout Europe and Great Britain, as well as Hong Kong and major cities in the USA. But we have never done anything like this before. Island Transit exceeded our expectations.” Here is the log of their journey.

Day 1, Oct. 11, Tuesday: I departed from home for a 90-mile drive to Las Vegas. After parking at a Park & Ride lot, I took a city bus to the airport, and boarded a flight to SeaTac. Brittany’s husband drove her to the OKC airport where she departed on a flight to Seattle.

We arrived at SeaTac within an hour of one another and found our way to the light rail. We rode the train and two buses to the Mukilteo Ferry. After getting off the ferry at Clinton, we boarded an Island Transit Route 1 bus for a 65-minute ride to Oak Harbor and the Acorn Motor Inn where we stayed for six nights. Along the way, a very personable bus driver served as our tour guide, suggesting things to do, and places to eat. Even though it was not a bus stop, she dropped us off at our hotel. An hour later, we enjoyed a delicious seafood dinner at Seabolt’s Smokehouse where I feasted on the local Penn Cove mussels, and Brittany indulged with salmon.

Day 2, Oct. 12, Wednesday: After a 10-minute walk to Harbor Station, we boarded Island Transit Route 411 and departed for a 35-minute ride to March’s Point where we connected to Skagit Transit Route 410 and a 20-minute ride to the Anacortes Ferry. The roundtrip ferry fare was well worth the scenic ferryboat ride to Friday Harbor, where we walked around town and the marina for about two hours.

Being October, many of the businesses were closed in Friday Harbor, and there was no public transit after Sept. 30, so we headed back to Anacortes. Back at the ferry terminal, we boarded a Skagit Transit bus to Anacortes and had lunch at Island Café. From there we walked along the marina through Rotary Park, and along the waterfront to Oren Gazebo. From Oren Gazebo, we climbed seemingly straight up the hill to the peak at Cap Sante Park. The views were well worth the climb. It was a much easier trip back to the marina walking the well-maintained trails. We took the Skagit Transit 410 bus back to March’s Point, connecting to Island Transit Route 411W back to Harbor Station.

Day 3, Oct. 13, Thursday: Haggen Grocery is directly across from the Acorn Motor Inn and was a place we visited daily for fresh fruit and other food supplies for our journeys. Next door to Haggen, on South Barrington is a conveniently located Transit stop for our journeys south of Oak Harbor. Day 3 began at that transit stop where we boarded the Whidbey Route 1 bus for South Whidbey State Park.

On the bus, we were treated to new bright yellow vests from Maribeth Crandell of Island Transit. We received advice for what to expect at the state park from a very nice lady sitting in front of us, as well as Maribeth who assured us it was not too strenuous for Brittany (40) and me (71). South Whidbey State Park was very quiet with seemingly no other hikers, but we were not disappointed. We explored the park on one side of the road and arrived back to the Transit stop. I realized that I had misread the bus time. So, we had 40 minutes to hike on other side of the highway before boarding the bus to Bayview Park and Ride where we transferred without incident to Route 60 to the quaint little town of Langley.

We walked the town, Seawall Park, the marina, and had lunch in the park from the Star Store’s deli. We had a nice short transit ride back to Bayview P&R, where we connected to the Whidbey Route 1 bus to Coupeville. We walked the town of Coupeville and the wharf, then boarded a bus to Oak Harbor. The Route 6 bus took a different route than what we had been on before, along Madrona Way. We asked about the platforms in the bay, and the driver explained that it was where the Penn Cove mussels are harvested.

Day 4, October 14, Friday: We boarded the Whidbey Route 6 bus for the 33-minute ride to the Coupeville-Port Townsend ferry which took us to Port Townsend. We walked Port Townsend, up and down and along the waterfront, stopping to tour the historic post office and the Palace Hotel. We had lunch outdoors by the water at the Soda Fountain and Diner and returned by ferry to Fort Casey for the afternoon. Then we took the Whidbey Route 6 for the 50-minute ride back to our motel. That evening we feasted at the DH (Chinese) Buffet in Oak Harbor.

Day 5, Oct. 15, Saturday: Again, we walked to Harbor Station where we boarded the bus for Route 411W to Deception Pass. The driver pointed out the spot he would pick us up on the return before he let us off at Deception Pass at Seabolt’s store. From there, it was a long hike up to the Goose Rock Summit, the highest point in the park, and then down to the bridge. We walked both bridges, stopping to hike Pass Island. On the north side of the bridges, we hiked down to the water following the signs to Lighthouse Point, only to find that there was no lighthouse. Regardless, the trail and views were outstanding. We hiked back up and over the bridges and spent the rest of the day exploring the south side of the park. In all, we spent 7 hours on Saturday at the Deception Pass State Park before boarding the Island Transit bus back to Harbor Station. I for one, was worn out.

Day 6, Oct. 16, Sunday: Sunday is apparently a day of rest for Island Transit, so Brittany attended church services while I hiked around town. After church we had lunch again at DH Buffet, before spending the remainder of the day hiking around Oak Harbor and discovering the waterfront parks.

Day 7, Oct. 17, Monday: We hiked the remainder of the Oak Harbor waterfront trails before boarding the Island Transit Route 1 bus for the trip back to the Mukilteo Ferry, and then two more buses, and the light rail back to SeaTac Airport to catch our flights.

Brittany and I really enjoyed our adventure. We would highly recommend the Acorn Motor Inn for its value, cleanliness, hospitality, comfortable beds, and an unbeatable location. The location was great for groceries, restaurants, waterfront, and especially the proximity to Island Transit. Oak Harbor served as an ideal hub for our daily explorations.

Island transit was the key to it all, with its free transportation all over Whidbey Island. The drivers were especially friendly and helpful, and on time. I wish I had made note of the driver’s names, but to single any driver out would be a disservice to all the rest who pleasantly preformed their jobs. The buses were always clean and comfortable. In all, we had 14 rides on Island Transit, and met numerous friendly riders along the way.

Sincerely, Bob from Nevada

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