Seattle bus tour takes some irreverent detours

  • Tue Mar 27th, 2012 7:08pm

By Dale Burrows For the Weekly Herald

The audience are passengers. The stage is a bus. The show is Seattle’s offbeat neighborhoods.

The Sub Seattle Tour* – operated by Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour – is theater on the go.

A 20-, maybe 30-something transplant from Colorado was our storyteller (tour guide) – by name, Terrilyn Johnson.

Johnson kayaks, canoes, hikes, bikes, skis and gardens. Her politics are liberal. Her mantra summed up is “Let’s all walk our own path.”

“It was love at first sight,” Johnson said, describing her feel for Seattle. She is a perfect fit for Sub Seattle.

Johnson revealed this on our Beacon Hill stop.

There, in a breathtaking view of downtown, the Industrial District, Elliott Bay, Mount Rainier and the Olympics, Johnson made the case for the grandeur of The Great Northwest co-existing with the city’s man-made skyline. For her, evidence of Chief Seattle’s way of living with the land endures.

From the shores of Leschi – named after the uppity chief hanged in 1858 and pardoned more than a century later – Johnson pointed out Bill Gates’ compound and Paul Allen’s home property on the far side of Lake Washington, both independent thinkers who go their own way.

Also, did you know descendants of Central Park architect Frederick Law Olmsted designed pocket parks in Leschi? Or that the mystery of how Nirvana’s Kurt Cobain died still haunts his fans today?

Want to know how Capitol Hill got its name or the low down on “Millionaires’ Row,” the Gay Pride Parade and the “grunge” scene?

The billing for Sub Seattle pictures a blonde and a brunette in bathing suits with a caption reading: “Not your father’s bus ride.”

For me, Sub Seattle is theater on the go that goes to the heart of the “Emerald City,” “Jet City,” “Rain City,” “Gateway to Alaska.” Seattle. The touch is human.

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Sub Seattle Tour

WHAT: Humorous bus tour of offbeat neighborhoods and sights around Seattle

WHEN: March through November

WHERE: 608 First Ave., Seattle

COST: $30

MORE INFO: 206-682-4646,

*Correction, April 27, 2012: This article originally used an incorrect name for the Sub Seattle Tour.