Conference @ SEATAC Trips

A few months ago I attended a conference out at SEATAC and haven’t, until now, managed to get a trip report written up. This is simply the story of my trips to and from the conference, with a little added context and information Transit Sleuth style.

Outbound to SEATAC

Let’s talk about the strange town of SEATAC. First thing, SEATAC stands for Seattle-Tacoma, and is the combination zoned area between Seattle and Tacoma. This area is where some people in yesteryear decided there ought to be a shared international airport. In creating this airport they also decided to incorporate and turn it into a self-governed geographic region. Eventually this self-governed region with an airport became a self-governed town with an airport.

The conference for various reasons was being held in a space out at the airport, directly across the street from Airport Way. This made it an obvious transit trip that would involve the light rail. The only question for me was would I connect at University District or in downtown Seattle at Westlake. I could take either the KC Metro 44 Bus from Ballard to University District or KC Metro 40 to connect downtown at the Westlake stop.

I opted for a trip to University District to start the two part trip for a simple reason. There would be numerous places that would be open early to get some coffee and food at.

I departed downtown old Ballard at about 5:25am on the 44. The Starbucks stood open at this hour in Ballard but the Ballard Coffee Works was not open. There were a few people milling about at Starbucks and a few getting on the buses coming through, but not anywhere near the number that would be in the area in about one more hour.

I boarded and we made good time, with few people boarding between Ballard and Wallingford. I write a few, but by many US standards there was a lot boarding, numbering over 25 between the two town centers. As we made our way through Wallingford however, in just those several stops, another 30 people or so boarded.

Once me made the turn in the central city area of University District I got off and walked the block over to Cafe on the Ave. It’s a coffee shop that makes a decent breakfast and other items, plus has a pretty chill environment in which to eat. At this hour, now right around 5:50am, there were only 3 patrons in the cafe excluding me.

I ordered a cap, which came in sizes, again a coffee snob alert that clearly the definition of what a cappuccino is has eluded the establishment. But I digress, it’s pretty good espresso so no complaints! I ordered the 8oz size but inquired if I could just get a traditional standard cap size, which unfortunately they didn’t have available.

I sat and did some banging on the keyboard while waiting for breakfast. In short order, just a few minutes, my eggs, hash browns, ham, and English muffin arrived along with the “8oz” fake cappuccino. The plate was the standard American foray into a plat that was as big as my side torso with a splattering of food everywhere. Far more than one should reasonably eat, even if going out to work the fields or do hard labor. Thus, I ate about 35% of what was on the plate and was a happy camper.

Finished, I departed and found a Limebike, rented it and biked over to the University District light rail stop. On my way in, like a good sleuth, I made a number of happy little observations.

Inbound observations

The beauty of the sunrise was on full display over the eastern horizon. Glimmering with an blinding brightness, impossible to view except looking askew of the rising fire orb. To the left or right however the run of light along the Earth’s surface, scattered with buildings, trees, mountains, and water screamed a gorgeous expanse. The golden tips of trees and the yellow and orange interlaced among all this was striking.

Back to the Trip

As I rolled through the southeastern intersection of walkways, a couple sat embraced as the sun rose, looking southeast toward Mount Rainier. Smiling and looking in each others eyes, budding love giving off a clear aura around those cutesies.

I rolled on as the Limebike battery started to sputter as I rolled onto the pedestrian overpass that connects to the University District station. I made it before it became a brick, locked the bike, confirmed it since sometimes the Libebike locks flake. Then I stood among the group of fellow transit riders to take the elevator to subsurface levels.

I watched the surface disappear from the elevator windows as we went down. A few seconds later the platform came into view and two LRT Vehicles stood ready for passengers. I checked which departure was in queue next and boarded the train. This departure, at 7:25am was boarded to approximately 35% capacity already (that’s about 60% of seats taken, considering a large % of capacity is standing room).

The LINK LRT rolled forth at 7:28am toward Capital Hill. In precise timing, minutes later, we rolled into the Capital Hill Stop. With short order we continued and onward through Westlake Station, University Station, Pioneer Square Station, International District Station, and onward through SODO, Beacon Hill, and the remaining stops.

More Sleuthing Observations

I’ve noted more than a few times, that something about LINK LRT is dramatically rougher in ride quality than Trimet’s MAX LRT. The thing that seems to come up as the issue is the tracks are laid funky. The few sections on MAX that had this ride quality issue in the past were replaced and haven’t had the issue since.

This issue I speak of specifically, is when the flanged wheels of the LRT vehicle hunt for the center position. This causes a jarring back and forth of the vehicle as it travels forward, and thus a somewhat rough ride. It also seems compounded, that maybe these vehicles are lighter and bouncier, suspension is bouncier, or something is causing these vehicles to hunt back and forth like this versus some of the comparative light rail around the United States.

One thing that might make this even more evident is the fact that a lot of the tracks are on raised right of way and when a vehicle is hunting between each flange at 50 or 60 feet, or higher, up in the air it’s a bit unsettling.

Last observation for this run, was the peculiar nature of the path the light rail runs out of downtown through Beacon Hill, heading east, then southeast along various neighborhoods in the street but then raises up again heading west across the interstate and rail lines. As this turn to head back south again is made one can face north and see the city in the distance and Boeing Field in the foreground. It makes it very clear that the most direct and efficient route to the airport was not the route chosen. Another one of those odd US traditions of disabling transit by purposely choosing inefficient routes so it would theoretically connect to points where people are located. It’s always seemed like one of the most inefficient methods of transit planning and operation.

…the day continued… but I just went and posted this without completion of post. Maybe I’ll be able to wrap this one up one day.


Sunday Transiting Sunset Hill to Greenwood to Downtown Seattle and Around

A few Sundays ago I did something I haven’t done in ages. I took a walk to 85th and 32nd northwest. That’s slightly further up the hill in the Sunset Hill Neighborhood.

There on the corner sits a coffee shop called Cafe Fiore, A solid, 3rd wave, high quality style coffee shop. It often has little pastry items and few Top Pot Donuts. Once I arrived a few observations immediately came to me. The line was in the ~20+ minute range. Almost every seat outside along the sidewalk, all 12 or so of them were packed, and every seat inside was taken up too. Clearly I wasn’t going to be able to sit down, relax, and think introspectively.

I looked to my right as I crossed the street to Cafe Fiore, starting to contemplate where I would, or could, go instead. The choices aren’t numerous at this point, as I was on foot and the only option is to get a bike-share e-bikes bike (what the hell does one call these things really?), otherwise it’d be a 20+ minute walk to the closest establishment that would have anything to eat let alone something breakfast and coffee related. I pulled out my phone and checked if there was one of these limebikes.

Not within a 15 minute walk.

But wait, duh, the King County Metro Bus Line 45 ends right here, there is a bus sitting 50 feet from me. Sometimes before coffee I’m a bit stunted. I checked the next bus departure time on OneBusAway, that was in 4 minutes, “JACKPOT!” The bus travels from here, 85th and 32nd northwest, all the way to the area where the university stadium and light rail station are located. There are hundreds of places to go get some breakfast, coffee, or whatever I want between here and there!

I boarded once the bus driver returned from her short break. The driver, as Seattle area bus drivers are, was friendly and appeared to be having a pretty good day. She wore a big smile as she drove us off toward the next stop.

Seattle streets, if you didn’t know, are a range of surface materials. Some of the streets are black top, a vast number in the city are cement, and there are a lot of bus pads that are cement. A bus pad is where the bus stop has a custom pour of cement laid out since the buses are so heavy. A bus after just a couple of months starts to destroy black top, as it’s very weak, and cement is super expensive. So to save money the bus stop itself – or wherever a bus or heavy vehicle stops frequently – is paved with cement to prevent damage and increase the time between needing to pave the street.

In addition the era in which cement was poured is a determinant on ride quality as is the age of the black top. Suffice it to say we get a wobbly, slightly bumpy ride on the black top that has regular stopping on the surface after about 3 years. The cement however, lasts a good 1 to 5 years os ro before ruts, imbalanced segments of cement, or cracks and holes become commonplace. Let me tell you though, this whole segment along 85th is well past it’s prime and has uneven cement segments, poorly repaired black top interspersed within that, and is just endless shakes, wobbles, and heavy vibrations.

As with most routes in the city, it’s almost unbearable to read, work on a laptop, or otherwise. It’s one of the things I miss the most about Portland’s transit. The road surfaces – and obviously the smooth riding light rail – is the majority of the routes vs. this violent vibrations nonsense. Luckily for me, this doesn’t both unless I’m trying to use a laptop or sip a drink. Otherwise it’s just a wobbly massage of sorts.


I didn’t stay on the bus long. The bus ride along 85th was about ~6 minutes. Eventually we arrived near the Greenwood Towncenter area where 85th and Greenwood cross. Here sit a bunch of shops, food options, a giant Fred Meyer, and other assorted options. Also a great bike shop, which I plan to get to in a later post, it’s a MUST VISIT!

I crossed Greenwood on the south side of the intersection with 85th. Then turned at 85th south on Greenwood, walking down the east side of the street. I wasn’t sure entirely where I’d go to get some morning food and coffee. I didn’t need to go far though. I found Chaco Canyon. It’s titled as an “Organic Cafe” so seemed it’d fit the bill. I like it, but the added information one might need to know is that this is a largely vegan, sometimes vegetarian “Organic Cafe”. Thus, not merely an “Organic Cafe”. Lot’s of tasty grains and kale to your hearts content, ya know, if you like being healthy and all. Nice place with a relaxed atmosphere to enjoy a bite to eat along with a coffee.

Ok, coffee snob time though. This is no 3rd wave, or 2nd wave coffee, it’s something in between. They’ve got an espresso machine which is slightly used, seems a bit ill-maintained, and temperatures weren’t achieved giving the overall roast a funny taste. I know it was funny because the roast is a Stumptown roast I know well, and with it’s preparation it ended up just being a bit off. I added almond milk too, for a theoretical cappuccino, but it ended up just being a latte since the proportions were completely off. I’d recommend the Chaco Canyon for eats, and will likely go back myself, but don’t get your expectations up about a solid cup of 3rd wave espresso. It might even be better to opt for a tea option which looks pretty appealing, along with their home made chai.

I left after eating my bowl and writing up a bit of this blog article. I walked another block up the street and found the Bake Shop. I went in, at first to just look for a moment. But opening the door I was greeted with a wonderful “Hello, welcome in!” and immediately felt like maybe I would find a thing or three to pick up. I perused the bakery display and found an amazingly, wickedly, sweet laced, euphoria inducing, vanilla flavored macron. Ordering that and another cappuccino I sat down. It seemed like I could rightfully expect an actual cappuccino here!

I got both items and wow, that macron was superb. The cappuccino was on point, the roast a little on the bitter side but good, angled more toward the Italian roast. To summarize this stop, I enjoyed the hell out of everything! Yum!

Bus Observations, Weekend Riders, Happy Waving

After that treat I walked back toward the KC Metro 5 bus stop across the street, thinking I had 7 minutes. But the bus was pulling up and I had over a block to converge still. Clealy that bus wouldn’t be caught. I was a little perplexed, rarely are the tracker apps off by that much. I realized my folly however, I’d been looking at the D Line arrival at 85th street way over on 15th! How had I managed to do that, yikes! I corrected it, and found the next 5 was arriving in 12 minutes. Not bad, good headway, so I’d just turn around and walk up Greenwood heading south to the next stop. I turned and off I went.

The air out this day was nice, with a temperature of about 70′ fahrenheit. About 85-90% cloud cover, which is providing an excellent environmental condition to stroll down the street in. Simply put, I’m loving the weather on this day! The sun glare was slightly minimal today too, which is always a nice bonus. Sometimes even with the cloud cover the sun glare is intense.

As we rode onward a few scenarios occurred which always just make the morning bus ride, especially on the weekend, that much better. A little camaraderie among riders if you will! I’d boarded and the 5 rolled onward.

A few minutes into the ride a couple boarded. They walked back to near where I and another individual behind me had taken seats, the 2 seats side by side, but we were both just sitting along, with the row seats empty. This couple, the woman sat down, and the man looked about for a seat to sit upon but instead just stood by his friend. The person, and I, at almost the same time, turBus Observations, Weekend Riders, Happy Wavingned and said, “oh sit here I’ll bounce over to another seat, then you two can sit together”. The other passenger and I looked at each other, then at the couple so they could decide where they’d go and we swapped about and the couple sat together and I sat with this stranger. We said hello, and in normal Seattle freeze etiquette smiled and enjoyed our ride forward.

The beautiful thing about that, is to know that other people are paying attention too. That others also are watching out for each other and it isn’t just me, or just that one person. The beauty of transit during these times of the days is that it’s full of good people going about their lives trying to do right for themselves and right by others. Seattle is wonderful for this and full of these good people. We sometimes miss this because of the stupid news endless giving the anti-social, hateful, and miscreant homeowners (i.e. not all homeowners, just those loud hateful ones) far more voice than they should ever have.

A little further the 5 turns and passes a Cafe Vita. In the window of the cafe a small child waved happily at everybody on the bus. It was the kind of exuberant, curious, and happy smiley with a wave added that the riders on the bus, myself included, all returned a wave – and I suspect a number of smiles – toward the child. The woman sitting with the child noticed and smiled back at everybody as she chuckled at the child’s exuberance.


Later on we rolled toward the Aurora Bridge and two babushka joined the bus and sat down, speaking Russian. I know of enough Russian word usage now, not enough to know the exact phrasing, but enough to pick up a lot of sentiment in conversations. These two women, dare I say, were happily discussing their families. I have come to realize, that it is very common among Russians, similarly to southern Americans, to get all up in the business of their families and routinely up in the business of their friends. It’s somewhat hilarious and in some ways, for those that are into that lifestyle, a happy thing to see. They continued their conversation.

As we rolled further onward into the city, with just minutes passing. The conversation in Russian continued, a conversation in Spanish began, with a conversation in French starting just a few seats in front of them. I listened enjoying the sing song chaos of cacophony of these conversations. They weren’t being loud, just conversational level, and with my hearing the way it works, it all flows in that crisp precise but chaotic way into my ears.

As we rolled over the Aurora Bridge and onto 99 just north of downtown Seattle, I  I’d gotten my laptop out. I typed away at the keys while the bus had some of those violent Seattle road shakes from the poor cement surface. Seattle routes being the garbage they are. But I worked through it, with frequent use of the backspace and delete keys. At some point while my fingers put words onto the screen I decided I was just going to ride into downtown Seattle to make the transfer to the 40 bus for my trip home.

The 5 entered the city through the new confluence of the Aurora Tunnel and the surface streets above. We exited there, and it was a lovely view to see the construction as those streets were being turned back into a more pedestrian friendly, usable, urban, people focused streets instead of the highway car sewer that it was. We cross Denny, kind of the gateway street to downtown, then cut left onto 3rd Avenue in the Belltown Neighborhood. The driver stops at Pine & Pike eventually.

The next stop is tranquil, especially on a Sunday. There are two women waiting with one man standing about halfway down the block smoking. It’s almost a scene out of a zombie movie besides the few of us waiting. In just a few minutes the northbound 28x arrives. It isn’t my 40 bus, but this one interlines with the 40 bus north and I could easily just transfer further up the route. The timing of the two also makes it easy to do as transferring to the trailing 40 is usually just 1-4 minutes different. On a nice day like today, even missing the trailing bus would be just fine.

I decide to go for the 28x, largely because then I could escape the infrequent yet annoying puffs of cigerette smoke spewing from the guy smoking halfway down the block. Generally I don’t really care that much but if I have a solution to rid myself of the smoking problems, I’m game so let’s do it! Off the 28x zipped, north out of the city the same way the 5 had just come into the city. But as soon as we cross the Aurora Bridge we immediately loop off, around, and down into Fremont. As we turn onto Leary I pull the stop cable and get off the bus.

With that this transit adventure story ends. Until next time, may your transiting be most excellent!

Wednesdays Videos & Photos

Here’s a few video passes from Wednesday. As yesterday’s, this one has a few blank seconds between each clip.

Here’s a few photos from the day.

Ballard, Sound Transit Sounder, and Recovery Day

Monday was a whirlwind of an adventure. Tuesday then needed to be a recovery day. I’d planned to start out and pick up the other bike (Pop Rocket I rode to Kent, this was Blue that needs picked up). But I didn’t even get around to that. It really did turn into a mostly chill day of relaxation.

A little bit of logistical fun playing the game Transport Fever. But then later in the day I did get down to some of the tracks where the Sound Transit Sounder route comes through Ballard. Here’s a few shots of the 5:35pm departure from Seattle heading to Edmonds on its way to Everett.

Here’s some of the video. There are three segments, so hold on when the screen goes black for a few seconds in between.

That’s it for the moment. Off to more explorations today.

Cap n’ Hominy, Bike, LINK, NOLA Bowl, Walkin’, Biking, Green River Trail, Interurban Trail, Sound Transit Sounder

I wrote this absurdly title, but really it’s just a Monday like any other where I don’t have any predefined thing I’m supposed to go do. So the day went like this.

Today started off with a good breakfast. Cajun egg, hominy, and a cappuccino. It’s good to know how to cook the things one likes, otherwise, the food would be boring. The egg and hominy I had some Cajun seasoning, mixed in with some butter, and a touch of salt and pepper. This combination just creates an egg with expansive explosive taste. Not that it’s hot and spicy, just a flavorful combination for something that generally tastes like bland air paste.

Once I wrapped up breakfast I jumped on my pop tart bike and headed to my office maker space. There I tidied up my backpack to just the items I’d want for today’s adventure. With laptop, camera, and related items all packed I rolled down Ballard Avenue and on toward the Burke Gilman Trail.

The weather out today is about as perfect as it gets for cycling. It’s slightly cool out and the sky is clear with the sun at an angle that doesn’t leave one burnt. The air has that crispness to that just makes it easier to breath, keeping the muscles fueled appropriately. I had my water canister with me, as this time with this amazing weather I wasn’t going to let myself get dehydrated and end up feeling lousy the next day! After all, tomorrow I’m planning for another transit and bike combo adventure!

Brunch and The Hills!

I rolled onward toward the University District LINK Light Rail Station. My plan was to bike over this direction, which takes approximately 25 to 30 minutes and then board the LINK, which depending on waiting time of less than ~10 minutes will get me to Capital Hill with a mere 6 minute ride. Thus, maximum trip with wait would be 16 minutes and minimum would be about 7.

I boarded the elevator into the bowels of the station, and exited to board the train on the eastern side of the platform. I racked the bike in the appropriate place and sat down to wait for departure. In just 3 minutes we left, which meant my trip and wait time would make it 9 minutes. With my combined ride, which I now knew the travel time of 28 minutes and 45 seconds, I was looking at total trip from Ballard to Capital Hill of about ~37 minutes. Not that bad considering I wasn’t really trying nor taking the fatest route, just the most convenient, comfortable, and enjoyable route.


My Strava Capture of the ride to University District to catch the LINK

The Lost Lake of Capital Hill

Once I arrived at Capital Hill I exited the LINK station and rode down along 11th toward 10th between Pine & Pike. You see, there’s a lost lake there. Ok, it isn’t really a lost lake, it’s a nifty open 24 hours a day joint that has this kitschy feel to it like a mix between a diner, rustic lodge, and a lounge on the flip side of the space. Brunch and good conversation was had with my friend I’d planned to meet there. Once we were done eating at this lost lake, we opted to take a walk considering that absolutely stellar weather outside.

An aside: Before I go on, I made a mental note and am going to put this in my calendars for the rest of my life. Remember, diligently remember not to schedule any travel whatsoever during the months of October, November, and December, unless of course it is to the northern lands of Europe into Scandinavia or the Netherlands. Those are the only two places that get a pass from me. Otherwise it isn’t worth leaving Cascadia to visit other places as this is the premier perfect weather time of year. At least, in my personal preferences of weather. Slightly cold and growing colder is my perfect cup of tea.

Alright, back to the adventures that laid before me. Upon deciding to walk through Seattle a bit, specifically Capital Hill, First Hill, and on toward Yesler Terrace on down into Chinatown. Well, maybe it isn’t chinatown now and instead it’s International District, considering how few Chinese people actually live there it actually makes more sense. It isn’t just a politically correct rename, but actually a more factual identifier to those that live in this part of the city.

Here’s a few pictures from the walk, as we strolled through Seattle University.

At some point, it was time to start riding. I headed south out of the city. I rode along 6th down onto the trail that runs beside the LINK route out of the city. It’s a nice trail, albeit it ends abruptly with nowhere to really travel once one gets further into the heart of SODO. There I scouted for and rode along a few disappearing sidewalks. This area of Seattle, simply put, it no place for pedestrians or anybody that isn’t basically in some type of motor vehicle. It’s a pretty wretched area. One could argue, “oh but it’s an industrial area!” But that’s just nonsense, just because trucks drive around doesn’t make it a necessity to make it so inhospitable to human activity. People still need to eat, there’s still places to eat, and there’s even some park space and parkway space in the area. So the idea that it’s dirty because it’s an industrial area is just kind of stupid.

I continued onward into a region with no sidewalks, no clearly marked or clearly safe areas to ride. I just followed the premise that if the route was minimal or no traffic, I was going to travel along that route. At some point, and I’m not really sure what area delineated where SODO ends and Georgetown starts, but I passed over a bridge which smelled like human waste and then I was clearly in Georgetown. From there I crossed the oddball intersection that leads into the area, went along the main street of the breweries, breakfast joints, and coffee shops, and onward down the wrong road.

I had to backtrack, as I wanted to be on the road that divided the Boeing Airfield from Georgetown. Found it, and traveled along there until I found a bike rack in from of Brothers Sisters and locked up. Here I got a few pictures of planes and other transit moving through the area. Namely, I saw a whole slew of King County Metro Route 60 buses plying along as if a herd of buses.

Beware, Rant Arrivin’ Soon

After Georgetown I traveled along that absolutely shitty road, debris and all, that runs parallel to the Boeing Field airport. This road is honestly an insult to anything remotely humane. It’s just a sewer of cars, a trash pit of poor design, and turn outs that threaten the lives of anyone that has to work along the route. It is simply a trash fire pit of shit. I hated this one part of the trip with the hate of a thousand suns. Seattle, Boeing, clean this trash pit you call a road up. It’s a goddamn disgrace to the city! I mean, this is a road that visitors to our fair city travel down to see the high tech, futuristic development of aircraft from Boeing and related entities. As they travel to arrive at this awesome museum, they have to travel through the travesty that is SODO, and worse, that is this wretched road.

Alright, I digress. Obviously Seattle will get to it when Seattle gets to it. Ugh. Here check out some photos of planes and buses I got while I was on the edge of Georgetown near the airfield!

I turned on 16th, traveled through a cute little commercial neighborhood strip of South Park. Then along another entirely unsafe road leaving that little commercial area. Finally, after riding through this unsafe and disgusting area that is and ought to be considered blighted and an insult to all people of this city, I arrived at the Green River Trail.

Green River Trail

The Green River Trail basically interlines along with the Duwamish River. It starts at the area where the Duwamish River is allowed it’s natural flow instead of the straightened stretch that exist into the Puget Sound. The area is beautiful, and the winding nature of the river has a calming effect to it all. It’s not really traveled much during the day, so as I rode along I saw very few people actually on the trail.

What The Ever Living Hell ya Negligent Motorist!

As I approached the segment of the Green River Trail that I would exit and then merge onto the Interurban Trail I rode upon this car wreck. I could see clearly what had happened, the driver, who I assume inattentively came barreling off of I-405 to the off ramp area, missed things, side swiped a van, and hit the separator that sent the vehicle with such force airborne, over the fence and into the blackberry bushes. Honestly, this type of wreck shouldn’t just be a ding on the insurance, but the driver should have to serve some type of “I’m a negligent asshole who can’t act appropriately when utilizing a 2-ton (or more) death cage.” I mean, seriously, the motorist got the vehicle over the fence and trail into the bushes. The motorist could have easily, as so many motorists do more than 35,000 times a year, killed somebody through this negligent inability to maintain their vehicle!

Interurban Trail (South)

At this time I cut under the I-405 on the trail that diverges and sends one to the Tukwila Train Station. I was pondering catching the Sounder there if it were coming soon, but since I had plenty of time between now and when the next Sounder Train arrived I could easily make it to Kent. At least, I assumed I could. So off I went down the Interurban Trail.

The Interurban Trail is basically a trail, broken into the north and south segments, built on the old interurban line that used to run north and south out of Seattle to Tacoma in the south and Everett in the north. It’s always such a shame to think about the hugely beneficial connectivity we’d have if the respective leadership at the time hadn’t tore up the line. It was basically straight, could easily have run 79mph FRA commuter rail into and out of the city in a vastly superior alignment than today’s Sounder configuration.

But, poor myopic leadership is gonna be poor myopic leadership. Grumble.

But again, I must digress, the trail that now has replaced much of the Interurban line is gorgeous, so at least we get some amazing use out of it in that regard. It’s absolutely superb for biking. On that note I trekked down from Tukwila Station all the way to Kent. Along the way there are numerous Union Pacific rail stubs that are still used today to collect various businesses cargo. It’s something that is pretty interesting to see from the sleuth’s perspective.

Finally I arrived in Kent and swung into Johnny Rockets for a burger and shake. After a ride like that it was supremely tasty.


Kent… sort of. But WTF is Kent?

Here you can see in the photo above where Johnny Rockets is compared to the Kent Station Parking, BECJ Credit Union, more parking, some more parking, some other… oh gawd the disgusting myopia of suburban design with a wannabe town center mall thingy in the center.

Whatever I’ll move on. The train station is over there in the upper right here in the map 3d photo. It’s cool that the train station also has a pedestrian overpass from the station over to the… oh, the damned parking lot.

This is another example of extremely shameful design on so many levels. 50’s era myopia and the perverse irony is I go eat at the retro 50’s era burger joint. The more I look at the photo the more I’m sicked by the absurdity of Kent’s layout and design and I’m not even sure why they have a Sounder station when the area is clearly anti-pedestrian, anti-active transportation, and just about as auto-focused as one could get without pulling a sidewalk-less 50s’ era suburb out of the actual 50’s.

As I sat there and ate I looked into Kent’s history and related things more. The first thing I did was pull up a map that explained a lot of things about how Kent is laid out. Look at this city border.


A generally unmanageable, non-urban, tax sucking sprawl zone. What is it with those squares of Kent over there acting like islands even? What. the. … wow. Just wow, so much bad about this.

Alright, whew, I had to stop looking into Kent’s history and layout. Kent’s basically a living example of why city Government is burning this country to the ground right now in myopic, dystopian suburbanite hell while the feds are burning it up from every other direction. But enough of all those happy thoughts, onward to the trip home. I got some nice shots of the Sounder, coming south bound and north bound.

In the photos above, if you look closely you’ll notice that it’s actually two different train sets. On the departure of both it becomes obvious, as one set as the cab car without the facade of a crew cab that looks like an engine front. The other has the standard cab car that looks just like a regular passenger car.

After the two trains, which were train bunched (using the bus bunch term there for trains, generally I suppose the train is just “delayed”). The first of the two had a medical emergency, which I believed equated to someone getting sick and puking, so they got off at Tukwila after a quick clean up. Only about 16 minutes late – err, I mean delayed – whatever the wording is. So after that train, and the next just a mere 3 or 4 minutes later arrived and departed the north bound train, now delayed about 2 minutes, pulled into the station here. It was operating in push mode, which means the engine is pushing it from the rear.

I boarded and off we went. That’s when I started this somewhat long blog entry about the day. After a pleasantly uneventful ride of about ~30 minutes we pulled into King Street Station and I grabbed my bike and headed for the stop where I’d catch either the 40, or if I was timing it good enough, one of the 17x or 18x express buses. As I arrived at the bus stop, an 18x pulled up and I didn’t even have to stand and wait any. I just walked right up, after confirming with the driver of course, and mounted my bike. Jumped aboard, paid, and got one of the ideal front facing seats on the bus.

With the express it’s about a ~28 minute ride to downtown Ballard. Which is where I was heading. We left, and the trip went seamlessly along the bus dedicated lanes, and then off off 15th and under the bridge onto Leary. Minutes later I arrived in Ballard and wrapped up this adventure. It was a good trip overall, learned a few dozen things about Kent, didn’t get killed by a negligently errant motorist, enjoyed a lot of fresh air and a bit of exercise to boot. All that and the burger, train ride, and related items where a pleasant icing on the cake!

Until next trip, happy transiting!