Bicycle Travel > General Discussion

Advice on Heading South in Winter

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Westinghouse:
In your particular case, you don't have a problem. All points you raise can be easily solved with one phone call or two to Amtrak.

Westinghouse:
I took Amtrak back from San Diego to Florida in 2010 after completing the ST in winter. IMO, some Amtrak employees need to be taught some hard lessons in manners. I would not use Amtrak long distance ever again. The same for Greyhound which I consider bordering sometimes on criminality.

indyfabz:
Several good options given. Train with the bike. Train and ship the bike. Plane and ship the bike.

I priced an arbitrary date of 12/13. Cost for coach was $212. At this late date, a flight might cost you a good bit. Personally, I would take my
chances with a train over a plane from a weather delay perspective.

The route from MSP to JAX is the Emprie Builder to Chicago, the Capitol Limited to D.C. and then the Silver Meteor. All stations have checked
baggage so brining a bike is possible. Assuming everything runs on time, the trip duration is about 50 hrs.
(The Silver Service has a pretty bad on-time record.) Some people can deal with that. Some people cannot.

I have taken the train from Philly to Seattle with my bike twice. As noted, it was pretty easy. I checked the bike and a second bag containing my tent,
racks, sleeping bag and two panneris of stuff. I carried on the other two panniers. I re-assembled the bike and attached the racks with a set
of allen wrenches.

staehpj1:

--- Quote from: indyfabz on November 15, 2012, 10:41:54 am ---Several good options given. Train with the bike. Train and ship the bike. Plane and ship the bike.

--- End quote ---
I would also consider "fly with bike" as an option.  It has worked out well for me a number of times.  On Southwest I paid $50 as the only baggage fee.  I get a kick out of riding right out of the airport.


--- Quote from: indyfabz on November 15, 2012, 10:41:54 am ---I have taken the train from Philly to Seattle with my bike twice. As noted, it was pretty easy. I checked the bike and a second bag containing my tent, racks, sleeping bag and two panneris of stuff. I carried on the other two panniers. I re-assembled the bike and attached the racks with a set of allen wrenches.
--- End quote ---
When ever I looked into that it was generally 72 hours of riding on the train.  The $300 or so price wan't too bad, but it wasn't cheap enough that it justified the long ride.  I rode coach for about 1/8 of that time and found that to be pushing my limit.  Getting a roomette would make it much nicer, but that was something like an additional $400, so $700 to go coast to coast, which is a lot more than I have ever paid to fly coast to coast even if checking a bike.

I think the roomette becomes a better deal if you are sharing it, but for solo travel it is too expensive to suit me.

I am curious how you managed it.  Did you get a roomette?  Did you take long layovers along the way to break up the travel?

Haven:
Thanks for all the quick replies, everyone!  With what I've read from you, I'm planning to take Amtrak right now, unless I can turn up a ride-share opportunity online in the next few days.  I'll probably have to disassemble the hardware of my panniers (see attached photo) and stack them, but then I'm thinking I'll be able to fit the empty panniers and their respective gear into a large (disposable) duffel to be checked; I'll just keep my chrome bag and guitar as carry-on.  I guess I'll spend the travel time getting in the right mindset, reviewing the route maps, and setting some things up with friends and on CouchSurfing-- not to mention starting my blog on CrazyGuyOnABike. I don't really mind downtime while traveling, as long as it's more comfortable than riding a Greyhound (ugh). ;)

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