If you’ve driven to the San Juans, especially in summer, you know the horror: scheduling a ferry slot months in advance, struggling with an overloaded website when the slots are released, allotting plenty of extra time in case you hit traffic, and showing up no later than 45 minutes before sailing. And then you fork over $30-$50 each way (plus the passenger fare) to haul the car on board.
Last Labor Day weekend, I tried a different way: public transit all the way from Seattle, to join my party already on Orcas Island with the car. Google Maps told me to leave downtown Seattle at 3:15pm to make the 7:20 sailing from Anacortes. It’s a 90 minute drive under ideal conditions, though if you’re driving to the islands you’d best leave some extra time.
That same uncertainty did me in, even on the bus. It will surprise no Snohomish County commuter that my 512 capitulated to the traffic. The HOV lane failed, and even though I’d departed 15 minutes earlier than recommended, I didn’t come close to making the (hourly) Skagit Transit 90X to Mt. Vernon. I grabbed a sandwich and schemed to get as close to possible to the ferry before switching to Lyft.