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Old 03-05-10, 01:35 AM   #1
LCI_Brian
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Amtrak - Dealing with Limited Luggage Stops

The Southwest Chief Amtrak passes through Los Angeles ("A"), a point in between ("B"), and Flagstaff ("C"). I would like to leave a car at "B", take the train to "C", and then ride back to "B". The problem is that only "A" and "C" are designated luggage stops. I could ride the train from "A" to "C" but that introduces additional complications in getting a car to "B". Anyone know if it's possible to check the bike at "A", drive to "B" to board the train, and leave the train at "C" with the bike?

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Old 03-05-10, 04:44 AM   #2
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Arg, you are giving me nightmares of math class....

Anyway, my suggestion is to call amtrak direct with any questions. I am pretty sure you can "ship" a bike with amtrak as I remember a man telling me about doing that exact thing for his tour. Let us know what you find out!
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Old 03-05-10, 05:05 AM   #3
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You can send the bike as freight on Amtrak Express from A to C. I shipped my son's bike from NC to Boston, MA via Amtrak freight. IIRC it was less than $50. Amtrak even had the box for $5. I am planning a dream tour (mainly just in case I win the lottery) The tour is going to be via Amtrak and bike. I figure a Brommie or a BF NWT is the way to go because I can stuff it in a suitcase and call it carry on. That way I can get around the Limited Luggage stops. FWIW ALL stops in Iowa are LL.

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Old 03-05-10, 09:50 AM   #4
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I figure a Brommie or a BF NWT is the way to go because I can stuff it in a suitcase and call it carry on. That way I can get around the Limited Luggage stops. FWIW ALL stops in Iowa are LL.

Aaron
I got a NWT with LLama front fork. Put a 1.6 marathon supreme on the rear and 2.0 Big Apple on the front. 20" with 2.0 BA is still fast rolling but much nicer handling when hitting 1" rocks at 30mph going down hills. In retrospect a Big Llama so you can but a 2.0 BA on the rear would be worth it. Seriously building a 20" touring bike around those BA tires is worth it.
sorry for thread drift
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Old 03-05-10, 11:43 AM   #5
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You can send the bike as freight on Amtrak Express from A to C. I shipped my son's bike from NC to Boston, MA via Amtrak freight. IIRC it was less than $50. Amtrak even had the box for $5. I am planning a dream tour (mainly just in case I win the lottery) The tour is going to be via Amtrak and bike. I figure a Brommie or a BF NWT is the way to go because I can stuff it in a suitcase and call it carry on. That way I can get around the Limited Luggage stops. FWIW ALL stops in Iowa are LL.

Aaron
How did the logistics work out? Did the bike arrive on time or is it necessary to ship early to be sure? Any idea how long will they hold the bike at the destination?

I am considering using Amtrak Express to get our bikes to the San Diego and home from Oregon. We may be flying but have not completely ruled out traveling by Amtrak in which case we would check them when we board.
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Old 03-05-10, 07:22 PM   #6
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How did the logistics work out? Did the bike arrive on time or is it necessary to ship early to be sure? Any idea how long will they hold the bike at the destination?

I am considering using Amtrak Express to get our bikes to the San Diego and home from Oregon. We may be flying but have not completely ruled out traveling by Amtrak in which case we would check them when we board.
They held the bike at the station until he picked it up the next day. I don't recall the ship time, but they did tell me up front when they expected it to arrive at the station in BOS. I guess as long as the train isn't running late it will be there on time. I have also done the bike as checked luggage and it arrived when I did. LOL

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Old 03-05-10, 10:39 PM   #7
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LCI, you would likely enjoy the ride from Flagstaff to Kingman, but Needles to Barstow is a long stretch of flat boring desert.
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Old 03-05-10, 10:47 PM   #8
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Another idea would be to just mail your bike to Absolute Bikes in downtown Flagstaff, and they would have it ready for you. It's about a 5 minute walk from the Amtrak station to the bike shop.
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Old 03-06-10, 08:53 AM   #9
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They held the bike at the station until he picked it up the next day. I don't recall the ship time, but they did tell me up front when they expected it to arrive at the station in BOS. I guess as long as the train isn't running late it will be there on time. I have also done the bike as checked luggage and it arrived when I did. LOL

Aaron
So you actually knew when it was going and pretty much which train it would be on?

I really like the idea of the bike being in a huge box so practically no assembly or disassembly are required. It means it being able to be ridden into the station and and packing in minutes. It also means picking it up and riding out of the station with practically no wrenching. The one time I used amtrak on tour I found the packing/unpacking to be way less hassle than packing a bike for shipping by UPS or FedX. The exception was when I used the shipbikes.com box which also requires very little disassembly. The thing is that then you have to ship the $100 box between your start and finish points.
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Old 03-06-10, 12:37 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
So you actually knew when it was going and pretty much which train it would be on?

I really like the idea of the bike being in a huge box so practically no assembly or disassembly are required. It means it being able to be ridden into the station and and packing in minutes. It also means picking it up and riding out of the station with practically no wrenching. The one time I used amtrak on tour I found the packing/unpacking to be way less hassle than packing a bike for shipping by UPS or FedX. The exception was when I used the shipbikes.com box which also requires very little disassembly. The thing is that then you have to ship the $100 box between your start and finish points.
Yes they told us which train it would be on. Amtrak has bike boxes for sale $5. They are HUGE I ride XL bikes (as does my son) and all I have had to do with our full sized bikes is loosen and turn the handle bars and remove the pedals. I have read of a few people that had to take the handlebars off for one reason or another. I don't know about you, but pedals and handle bars is less than 5 minutes from riding in to ready to go in the box. Call the train station that you plan to leave from and make sure they have boxes available. I have gone out of SAV, CHS, FAY and RIC and they have all had boxes available. These are all East Coast stations and served by The Palmetto and the Silver Meteor trains. When I shipped my son's bike I know it had to be transferred in either DC or NYC. It came into BOS on the NE Regional. I don't know if it left FAY on the Palmetto or the Silver Meteor.

Aaron
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Old 03-06-10, 02:23 PM   #11
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Thanks Aaron, that is helpful. I am a bit more concerned on this trip since it will involve 3 train changes to get from Baltimore to San Diego (One could be eliminated if I drive 50 miles to Washington DC to drop it off and another if I am willing to start in LA rather than San Diego). At the other end it is probably one less train depending on where we decide to head home from. I figure extra handling equates to extra risk of damage which concerns me more at the beginning of the trip than at the end.

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Old 03-06-10, 02:57 PM   #12
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How did the logistics work out? Did the bike arrive on time or is it necessary to ship early to be sure? Any idea how long will they hold the bike at the destination?
When I had my bike shipped on Amtrak from Tucson to Sacramento, it took 3 or 4 days to get there as opposed to the 2 it would take a person to ride the same trains. I guess the bike couldn't make the ridiculous 15 minute connection in Los Angeles. I shipped the bike so that it would get there several days early to allow for it being late, but it arrived the day they said it would, so that may not have been necessary. They told me they would hold the bike for 2 days free of charge and then after that it would be $3 per day. When I went to pick the bike up 4 days after it arrived, I asked the luggage guy how much I owed since it had been there 4 days. He told me it had been there only 2. When I told him again it had been 4 days, he told me "It's been here 2 days, got it?" and gave me that look of not wanting to have to fill out the paperwork and collect the money from me.
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Old 03-07-10, 11:58 AM   #13
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you would likely enjoy the ride from Flagstaff to Kingman, but Needles to Barstow is a long stretch of flat boring desert.
Oh, yes, I'm aware of that - that's part of the draw, though, believe it or not!

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Another idea would be to just mail your bike to Absolute Bikes in downtown Flagstaff, and they would have it ready for you. It's about a 5 minute walk from the Amtrak station to the bike shop.
Hmmm, not a bad idea. Only problem is that the train arrives at 6 AM (5 AM after the time change) so there would be some waiting until the shop opens. Any good breakfast places open that early within walking distance?

BTW, according to the Amtrak 1-800 number there is freight service from Los Angeles. They gave me another number for the freight service for more details, though I won't be able to check until normal business hours.

I'll be logging my tour here: http://www.trackmytour.com/1464
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Old 03-08-10, 08:52 PM   #14
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the train arrives at 6 AM (5 AM after the time change) so there would be some waiting until the shop opens. Any good breakfast places open that early within walking distance?
Yes, there are several choices as the train station drops you off right in downtown Flagstaff. The 'Downtown Diner' at 7 East Aspen Avenue opens at 530AM but the food is below average. If you have a big appetite and like breakfast burritos then 'Martans Burrito Palace' (aka Mart Annes Cafe) at 10 North San Francisco Street is a must. I don't know what time they open though. Maybe you could talk the bike shop into opening early for you.

Link to bike shop :
http://www.absolutebikes.net/flag_frset.html

Link to Flagstaff visitor info :
http://www.flagstaffarizona.org/index.html

Link to Arizona bike map :
http://www.azbikeped.org/images/Map2...0409_side1.pdf
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