Friday, September 9, 2011


Interior View of a Valley Transit Bus
(This and subsequent images are Hawaiian Odysseus photos.

I know my place.

It's in the back of a Valley Transit bus.

An interesting bus, at that. 

Externally, it looks like a streetcar from the early 1900s--a throwback to the San Francisco trolley, especially underscored by the colorful adornment of red and green paint.

Except it's actually a bus--a large rectangular Animal Crackers box on wheels rather than on a rail.

It adds to the increasingly quirky yet attractive (in a nouveau Bohemian way) atmosphere of Walla Walla.

The former cattle/wheat farm/penitentiary town has experienced a major transformation in the last couple of decades.  Mostly as a result of the rural sprawl, as it were, of vineyards and wineries, Walla Walla has re-created itself into a major cosmopolitan hub in southeast Washington, a significant thoroughfare for visitors from the two most prominent ports in the Pacific Northwest--Seattle and Portland.

Recently transplanted into Walla Walla's suburban sibling three miles to the west--College Place--from the metropolitan frenzy of Seattle and its own primary suburbs-turned-independent cities--Bellevue, Kirkland, and Redmond--I am used to riding in buses.  Now, with much of my life involved in the passionate pursuit of blogging, I find it very convenient to conduct my first impression observations of the Walla Walla Valley from the backseat of a bus.

The Valley Transit routes effectively cover the 10.8 square miles of Walla Walla and the 2.4 square miles of College Place.  On any given weekday, you'll see a wide range of riders comprised of high school and college students; senior citizens who no longer wish to or are unable to drive;  handicapped individuals; the socially disenfranchised (transients; ex-felons; recovering addicts, and others); mothers with babies or young children in tow; and oddball passengers like yours truly.  

On several of my recent rides, the bus drivers have made it a point to ask the passengers if anyone needed to transfer to another route.  If so, the drivers would then call ahead and notify the respective bus(es) to wait a few minutes longer at the downtown Walla Walla transit center.  Although the buses run the routes every half hour, this courtesy service is an added plus for the riders.

One other seemingly trivial yet very much appreciated feature of the Valley Transit's service is the bus driver's willingness to make unscheduled stops for the customers' convenience.  The only requisite is that the client give ample notice to facilitate the necessary driving maneuvers involved.

In contrast to the bizarre occurrences that I have personally witnessed or heard about on the buses serving Seattle and vicinity, I've observed nothing but good, old-fashioned country courtesies on the Valley Transit.  Visualize, if you will, the ambience of Opie's Mayberry on wheels, and you've effectively captured the essence of these bus rides.

In the coming months, I hope to bring you a host of stories either directly about or inspired by the picturesque Walla Walla Valley, its neighboring regions, its history, and its people.   

One interesting tidbit that you'll be be privy to after reading this post is my principal mode of transportation to the various points of interest.

Like I said...

I know my place.

It's in the back of a Valley Transit bus.

Architectural Statue at the Walla Walla Market Station
Integrated Transit Center and Farmers Market
(due east of the Transit Center)

 Memorial to the brave firemen who died at the scene of a Main Street fire.
(due east of the Transit Center)

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