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Messages - madsen89

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General Discussion / Re: No bikes on Amtrak Cardinal service?
« on: December 20, 2019, 04:53:55 pm »
I just played around with the reservation system looking at CHI to Grand Forks for various dates, including every Friday in July. Never was checked baggage or bike service offered.

Be sure to check train 7 and not 27. Only 7 offers any baggage service. When searching for a train on that date, it shows me that baggage service is not offered and that 6 bikes are allowed even though when I add it to the cart, it doesn't give me an option to add a bike.

So, yes, the station details state that there is no baggage service, which you pointed out. However the schedule indicates that it does have baggage service. Guess the schedule is out-of-date.

Bottom line is that baggage service isn't available in Grand Forks, which is disappointing. Thanks for finding the station information. I'll know to check that before trusting the schedule from now on.

(I've attached a couple screenshots illustrating what I see.)

General Discussion / Re: No bikes on Amtrak Cardinal service?
« on: December 20, 2019, 07:57:36 am »
Well, nothing has changed. Still no bike service on train 50 all of next year. (Except for Jan. 4)

Now, I've noticed strange things on the Empire Builder #7. Most trains between Chicago and Grand Forks, ND indicate no trainside bicycle service even though the schedule indicates that there is baggage service. Of note, the couple that do indicate that they have space for 6 bikes (a few Fridays in July), also show that baggage service is *not* available. That's a contradiction. Then when you add the seat to the cart, there is no "add on" for the bike. Contradiction #2.

At this point, it seems that Amtrak's reservation system simply can't be trusted.

General Discussion / Re: No bikes on Amtrak Cardinal service?
« on: November 23, 2019, 12:05:52 pm »
Finally, like you, I was bugged how no bikes were allowed as roll-on at least thru July so I called Amtrak Website Support and they said yes the slots were being blocked not just unavailable.  After putting me on hold, he finally came back and said that due to the weekend, they could not find out why it was blocked but the issue was escalated.  He said to check back on Wednesday if it was not open on the website by then.  He also confirmed you could box a bike and take it to Cincinnati. 

Thanks, John, for taking the effort to call. You seem to have had much more success than me. Here's hoping it makes a difference.

Yeah, I know that boxing is an option, but I find that to be a bit risky since Amtrak never guarantees a box to be available. Besides, I've used the bike service a few times now and am very spoiled by the convenience.

General Discussion / Re: No bikes on Amtrak Cardinal service?
« on: November 23, 2019, 09:24:56 am »
The start will be in Chicago, but the endpoint is still undecided. Indianapolis or Cincinnati are the two likeliest possibilities. The Hoosier was discontinued so that is no longer an option either.

General Discussion / Re: No bikes on Amtrak Cardinal service?
« on: November 23, 2019, 12:12:50 am »
That's interesting. I see that the westbound train 51 appears to be normal. I can add bikes to those trains. I checked about 30 different dates between Chicago and Indianapolis and a few other cities with baggage service for the eastbound train and none of them have space for pets or bikes.

Thing is, the customer service agent said that there are no changes planned for next year implying that all the bike space must be booked from January through October next year. In addition they are all being booked on a daily basis since I have checked dates as they become available.

General Discussion / No bikes on Amtrak Cardinal service?
« on: November 22, 2019, 02:18:28 pm »
I've been having a long e-mail discussion with Amtrak customer service because I found that no Cardinal trains have bike space available starting Jan. 2, 2020 through the limit of their reservation system. So far, all I have gotten from customer service is, "I'm sorry that you can't find bicycle availability. I suggest that you check other trains and cities."

Thing is, "0" availability starts the first of the year. There's plenty of space available before then. Also, it shows that there is no space for pets either. I suggested that the reservation system is wrong and customer service denies that is the case. I find it hard to believe that people are logging on every day and booking the next available day's bikes (6) and pets (5).

Is there anyone on this forum who is "in the know?" It is frustrating that I am getting the run-around here.

Classifieds / WTB: 2016 Surly Disc Trucker fork
« on: July 09, 2019, 07:41:07 pm »
I took a hard fall on my Surly recently and bent the fork. I'm looking for a 2016 Disc Trucker fork. This is the blue disc trucker and not the current blue long haul trucker. Surly doesn't have any available and I'd prefer not to buy the black one and paint it.


Great Lakes / Re: Advice for a short wisconsin/michigan bike tour
« on: July 31, 2014, 09:33:47 am »
I just finished a tour of southern Wisconsin last week. Some pointers/suggestions that I have:
- Milwaukee has lots of bike lanes, trails, etc. so getting around and through won't be a problem. I recommend riding along the shoreline if you get a chance.
- While using roads close to the lake are a great option, there is also a trail network that takes you from Milwaukee all the way to Sheboygan. The Interurban Trail is the primary one which runs the entire length of Ozaukee County.
- The ride from Sheboygan to Manitowoc is quite peaceful and Manitowoc/Two Rivers has a very nice trail along the water.
- After that you don't have a lot of options if you want to stay as far east as possible. Hwy 42 is about it. It's a busy road, though not as busy as others in the area, but it's quite workable.
- Once you get to Door County you have lots and lots of options. It is a major tourist destination for Chicago and almost all of the services will be along the water. (That doesn't mean that you ever far from any since the peninsula is not that wide.) Note that Labor Day weekend will probably be very crowded (with correspondingly heavy traffic) throughout the peninsula since it is the last holiday weekend of the season.
- There are plenty of B&B type places along with small motels. However, keep in mind that the later end of your time frame is encroaching on the "color season" and many places are probably already booked for that time. That said, you will have much better chances of finding a place mid-week. As far as camping goes, there are two main state parks on the peninsula: Peninsula and Potawatomi. There are a few private campgrounds but I'm not sure where they are. I would double-check, but I believe Wisconsin has a "guaranteed accommodation" policy for people arriving by bike/foot/canoe.
- For things to do, the Door County Bakery outside Sister Bay is worthy of a side trip. Some of the wineries in the area have free tastings. You can take a ferry from Gills Rock to Washington Island for a nice day-trip. I really enjoy pedaling around Peninsula State Park. It is Wisconsin's premier park. You might be there during apple season so you'll have no problem finding apple treats along with lots of cherry treats. (Door County is known for its cherries.) The entire summer had a very late start, so it's hard to judge when crops will be harvested. The list goes on and on...
- You really can't go much further north and keep your trip at 500 miles and experience Michigan. You'd need to take a ferry across somewhere.

I don't know much about Michigan other than it also being a great place to tour.

Hope this helps.

General Discussion / Re: Crossing the upper Mississippi
« on: June 19, 2014, 09:46:14 pm »
Thank you! That is very helpful information.

General Discussion / Crossing the upper Mississippi
« on: June 17, 2014, 11:43:04 pm »
I'm planning a multi-day ride along the Upper Mississippi between La Crosse, WI and Moline, IL. I'm having trouble finding information about ferries and bridges and which allow bicycles. Does anyone have a good source for this?

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