The alarm clock on my phone buzzed and made chirping sounds as I rubbed my eyes. It was 5:00 am and we had an Amtrak train to catch at Portland’s Union Station. My panniers and backpack were loaded the night before with all of our gear for the four day trip. I just needed to get our six-year-old up and on her bike to ride to the Trimet bus stop. 

This was going to be our first carfree trip to visit my parents in Seattle and the first visit since the start of Covid. 

The 43 bus to Portland is the closest bus route for us but unfortunately it only offers three buses in the morning with hourly service. Only the 6:17 AM bus (with about an hour ride and one transfer) would get us to the train station in time for our 8:20 AM departure. Taking the 43 would be convenient but also a gamble. Trimet bus racks only hold 2 bikes and we had 2 bikes to get to Portland. If one other person was using the bike rack we would not be able to board. The next bus wouldn’t be for an hour, too late for us to make our Amtrak train. Not wanting to take that gamble we decided to ride two miles to Pacific Highway and catch the #12 bus which has frequent service, every 15 minutes for most of the day. This was our safest route in case of canceled buses (which has been happening often due to a Trimet driver shortage) or full bike racks. 

You may know from previous articles that

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