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January Amtrak Credit Card Tour in Southeast

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January Amtrak Credit Card Tour in Southeast

Old 11-28-21, 01:59 AM
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kevmcd
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January Amtrak Credit Card Tour in Southeast

I just used some airline miles to get a flight into Fort Lauderdale on January 9th. My rough plan is to use the Amtrak Palmetto to explore a few cities in the Southeast (which I know nothing about). If you think this plan is crazy or if you have some dramatic improvements to it I would appreciate your comments (worst case I cancel the flight and get my miles back).


I need to be home on January 20th so my number of touring days is limited. I will only have the panniers on my bike long enough to get from the airport/train station to my hotel or airbnb and then I plan to do leisurely rides of about 30 to 40 miles a day on bike paths or country roads in the area and spend the rest of the day walking the streets and sitting in coffee shops. Cold weather doesn't bother me but I don't do blizzards, ice storms, 20+ mph winds, or all day downpours.


Revision A of my plan is a couple days each in Miami - Jacksonville - Savannah - Charleston.and fly home from Charleston. Is it possible to get a bicycle box in Charleston? There are a lot of train stops between Miami and Charleston and I can get off the train at any of them but my bicycle can only get off in cities with stations with baggage service which is a tiny fraction of the stops.


Any suggestions/recommendations?
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Old 12-01-21, 05:21 AM
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If you want to see and ride in central Florida there is an Amtrack train station in Sebring. We have a club that rides 5 days a week (no Tuesday or Thursday rides) starting at 7:30 am from the parking lot of the Trek Store Sebring, which is right on rt 27. Hit their website for a map.

Our typical rides are 40 mile loops out into the country at a 20mph pace. Friday we go a little slower (18mph) as the wives show up for Friendly Friday, Saturday is faster, 22, and Sunday we usually go longer, 60-80 miles.

So if you want to get a good look at the lakes, orange groves and cattle ranches in the middle of Florida and ride on quiet country roads, take the train from FLL or PBI up to Sebring and join us.


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Old 12-01-21, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by A350driver View Post
If you want to see and ride in central Florida there is an Amtrack train station in Sebring. We have a club that rides 5 days a week (no Tuesday or Thursday rides) starting at 7:30 am from the parking lot of the Trek Store Sebring, which is right on rt 27. Hit their website for a map.

Our typical rides are 40 mile loops out into the country at a 20mph pace. Friday we go a little slower (18mph) as the wives show up for Friendly Friday, Saturday is faster, 22, and Sunday we usually go longer, 60-80 miles.

So if you want to get a good look at the lakes, orange groves and cattle ranches in the middle of Florida and ride on quiet country roads, take the train from FLL or PBI up to Sebring and join us.


That is very gracious of you to invite me to ride with you. However, I think both my bike and I are 30 years older than the riders in your group and if I managed to keep up I wouldn't see much scenery other than the tire in front of me

I am interested in whether the Sebring station really allows the loading and unloading of bicycles. I have taken 3 trips with my bicycle on Amtrak and I haven't completely figured out which stations allow bicycles off and on the train but I assumed that a station needed to have checked baggage service which according to the website Sebring does not.
https://www.amtrak.com/stations/sbg

Here I am in June at the top of the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier Nat'l Park. I took Amtrak to Whitefish Mt. and camped at the park and road on Sunday when the road was still under pre-season repair and closed to cars.

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Old 12-01-21, 07:56 PM
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Most of the riders in our Sebring group are in their 60’s and 70’s, the one on the right is 74, two guys in the middle are 62 and 63, the baby holding the camera on the left is only 32 but he has 3 small kids at home so he rarely rides with us but when he does, it’s at 24mph for 2 hours!

I don’t know about getting a bike on the train at the Sebring station, I’ve never done it there.

There is a Facebook group called Sebring Cycling where you might ask if anyone there knows about getting a bike on/off the train in Sebring.

Last edited by A350driver; 12-01-21 at 08:00 PM.
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Old 12-05-21, 02:24 PM
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sebring fountain of youth

Looks like it will need to be my next lifetime to visit the Sebring Fountain of Youth.

I lost patience waiting for Amtrak to reply to my email questions so I went down to the PDX station and asked the clerk who was immediately able to give definite answers. I can get off and on the train in Sebring but my bicycle can not. I also took my tape measure with me to discover the secret dimensions of the Amtrak bicycle box which I would like to use on Alaska Airlines but I will have to check with them to make sure it isn't too big.

At times I think about simplifying the trip and simply rent bikeshare bikes in each city. But I think I would be much happier if I take my own bike. Florida looks like an amazing place to visit with a bicycle. I am excited about visiting Tampa and riding across the Courtney Campbell Causeway and riding the North section of the Pinellas bike trail. The scale of the distances in the Miami area was discouraging until I decided that the Tri Rail system may be the solution. Hopefully it is not like Portland where it can be very difficult to get a hook for your bike on the train and the conductors will kick you off when there are too many bikes.

Once again, thanks for the invitation.



[UOTE=A350driver;22326135]Most of the riders in our Sebring group are in their 60ís and 70ís, the one on the right is 74, two guys in the middle are 62 and 63, the baby holding the camera on the left is only 32 but he has 3 small kids at home so he rarely rides with us but when he does, itís at 24mph for 2 hours!

I donít know about getting a bike on the train at the Sebring station, Iíve never done it there.

There is a Facebook group called Sebring Cycling where you might ask if anyone there knows about getting a bike on/off the train in Sebring.[/QUOTE]
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Old 12-06-21, 02:36 PM
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Yeah, there are some great places to ride down here but the drivers are pretty bad (old!) so you really have to watch out especially when getting out of the city to get to the safer trails and back roads to ride.

And remember it’s still warm down here, 83 today! It was 64 at 7am when we started our 62 mile ride this morning and quite foggy but by 9am the sun had burned off the fog and it got warm, quick!
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Old 12-12-21, 03:55 PM
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If you have time, the Keys are nice. The last time I flew into Key West and rode to Miami. There is a rail trail from Miami to Homestead, and you can use the Trirail to connect from the airport. Stayed at a brand new Fairfield Inn in Homestead. The ride from there to Key Largo is OK, but the rest of the Keys are really nice for touring. If you can’t get a reservation at a state park, they are very accommodating to cyclists. Just call ahead and tell them you are coming so they can save space for you.
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Old 12-12-21, 04:01 PM
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Also, you can take a ferry from Key West to Ft. Myers, which will save a ton of time. Just don’t plan to stay in Key West unless to want to spend $500 a night for a hotel or camp for $100 a night.
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Old 12-12-21, 06:14 PM
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The Keys are what inspired me to plan this trip in the first place. But as I read more I saw a lot of mixed reviews on the bike trail complaining about traffic noise from the road adjacent to the trail If I road the Keys I would like to do it one way the way you did. The ferry sounds fun, but Ft Myers looks like a dead end for me given my schedule.

I was planning to use one of my 3 days in Miami to do a bus tour of the Keys. It looks like there are a lot of options and maybe multiple options that would let me take my bike with me.
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Old 12-13-21, 08:16 AM
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Originally Posted by kevmcd View Post
I am interested in whether the Sebring station really allows the loading and unloading of bicycles. I have taken 3 trips with my bicycle on Amtrak and I haven't completely figured out which stations allow bicycles off and on the train but I assumed that a station needed to have checked baggage service which according to the website Sebring does not.
https://www.amtrak.com/stations/sbg

Here I am in June at the top of the Going to the Sun Road in Glacier Nat'l Park. I took Amtrak to Whitefish Mt. and camped at the park and road on Sunday when the road was still under pre-season repair and closed to cars.


Checked baggage service is not always needed. Depends on the service and the station. I used the Vermonter carry on service back in September to go from Philly to St. Albans, VT for the start of a tour. It was my third time taking a bike on the Vermonter. Last year I used the Pennsylvanian train-side checked service to go from Philly to Pittsburgh for the start of a tour.

Bring Your Bike Onboard the Train | Amtrak

If the service says select stations only, the easiest way to determine whether you can take a bike on and off between two points when there is train-side checked and carry on service is to go through the process of booking a fake trip. out into the future. If he website allows you to add a bike then you know you can get off and on with a bike between both points.

I have ridden up to Logan Pass four times. Have always started from Sprague Creek Campground near the lodge. The last time (2017), the road was still closed to cars when I started out around 5:45 a.m. I was told the day before that it was highly unlikely that it would open to cars all the way the next day. Got to the closure point at Avalanche Campground, went around the gate and took my time climbing. Just before I got to the Loop I heard a vehicle behind me. Two rangers pulled up in a truck and told me the road had just opened all the way and hat I had to summit by 11 a.m. Disappointing, but I still enjoyed the ride. Unfortunately, the trails at the top were still covered in snow so no hiking was possible.
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Old 12-13-21, 03:23 PM
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Not sure how Ft. Myers is a dead end. From there you can ride up to Tampa and catch the Amtrak Palmetto. Seems just about right.
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Old 12-14-21, 05:46 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Not sure how Ft. Myers is a dead end. From there you can ride up to Tampa and catch the Amtrak Palmetto. Seems just about right.

I am trying to optimize my limited days for peak scenic value. I need to be back home after 10 days as I have been assigned pet sitting duty for my daughter's young labradoodle and there is no wiggle room on that commitment.


My definition of a "credit card tour" is no sleeping bag, tent or stove so a night in Key West is not in the budget. I expect it would take me 2 days to ride from Ft Myer to Tampa and I haven't found much information on the roads or scenic attractions along the way so I will probably stick with my current plan.


The West Palm Beach trails and the Pinellas bicycle trails both have extensive good reviews so at this point my route out of Miami will be to Tri-rail or Amtrak to West Palm Beach from Miami Airport (early morning), ride a couple hours in West Palm Beach, then Amtrak from West Palm Beach to Tampa. After spending a night in Tampa I will ride across the causeway to Clearwater and spend one or two nights there exploring their bike trails and islands.
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Old 12-29-21, 07:31 AM
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Wiggle

Originally Posted by kevmcd View Post
there is no wiggle
There's always lots of wiggle with a labradoodle.
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Old 12-31-21, 10:21 AM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
Not sure how Ft. Myers is a dead end. From there you can ride up to Tampa and catch the Amtrak Palmetto. Seems just about right.
Some good local insight on the ride from Tampa (Bradenton) to Ft Myers just got posted in the Touring forum
Florida Route
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