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First Multi-Modal Short Bike Tour

Old 06-18-18, 07:41 PM
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First Multi-Modal Short Bike Tour

I'm planning my first multi-modal trip:
day 1: bike / train / bike - warmshowers
day 2: bike / ferry / bike - camp ~ on Pelee
day 3: bike / ferry / bike / ferry / bike (across Ontario's southern most appendage)- camp (in Michigan)
day 4: bike - home!

Thought I'd see if anyone had any warnings for me. My biggest concerns are:
1. I get on the train in Toledo. The ONLY AMTRACK you can get in TOLDEO boards at 11:49PM. I'm off the train in Sandusky at 12:50AM, and got about 14 miles to my warmshowers host.
2. I can't reserve a ticket for the ferry from Sandusky to Pelee Island . The ferry leaves at 3:30, but I'll have quite a bit of time to get the ticket early.

I've been kind of gung-ho on this idea, although I was hoping to take the train from Ann Arbor to Chicago, then ride up into Wisconsin and take a ferry to Ludington, MI, then ride home. AMTRAK-Ann Arbor doesn't let one roll a bike on. I'd have to get to Lansing to roll on. And that'd be over a week trip for me. Now I've got it to 4 days ~ less time away from home!

The bike pictured below is pretty much what I'm taking. It works for me pretty well mixing dirt roads, paved roads, bike paths, and rail-trails.
Getting pretty geeked.
Any cautions or warnings are appreciated.

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Old 06-19-18, 05:45 AM
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The Amtrak sounds like a lot of fuss and bother for what looks like a 60-mile ride. And I can't imagine a WS host being happy with a pre-dawn arrival. Those would be my only questions. I would guess you're doing this because of difficulties with a safe bike route leaving Toledo.

I enjoy ferry rides with the bike. I lived near Puget Sound for a while and thought the San Juan Islands were heaven on earth. Have fun!
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Old 06-19-18, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus
And I can't imagine a WS host being happy with a pre-dawn arrival.
That was my very first thought.
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Old 06-19-18, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
That was my very first thought.
Jesus ditto.
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Old 06-19-18, 07:11 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus
The Amtrak sounds like a lot of fuss and bother for what looks like a 60-mile ride. And I can't imagine a WS host being happy with a pre-dawn arrival. Those would be my only questions. I would guess you're doing this because of difficulties with a safe bike route leaving Toledo.
Have fun!
The big problem I ran into was making a campsite reservation east of Toledo for just one night. Everything that allowed reservations required 2~3 nights. There is a state campground that has campsites that has same day / walk up sites. I thought about doing that. Riding the 60 miles before I have to get to the ferry is not a problem, assuming I don't run into any problems.

The warmshowers host made no objections, as I am just looking for a place to tent that does not involve trespassing (or making a 3 day site reservation!).

Looks like there is no issue cancelling the train at this point, and probably if I roll up to a full campground with only a one man tent I can get some sympathy and flat ground. So I'll mull the comments over.

As far as Jesus goes, I think he's cool with everything that doesn't involve breaking laws or dis-respecting other people.
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Old 06-19-18, 07:30 AM
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The decision may rest on whether you look forward to the train ride. Some people love trains as much as I love ferries (i.e., boats).

I've always had good luck bumming a campsite when I show up on a loaded touring bike. I've also gotten permission to "stealth camp" when sites are full. I guess some rangers realize cyclists are low-impact.

Is the WS host reachable on the first day if you make it a long one?
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Old 06-19-18, 08:20 AM
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Sounds like a great trip. I do share the others' concerns about that late night train and early morning arrival in Sandusky. Not a huge deal if your host doesn't care. But I would be concerned about the train schedule, which can frequently get out of whack. 1AM train plus 14 miles means, what? 2:30am arrival? And, I'm assuming this is 14 miles away from the ferry, which means you have to return by almost the same route in the morning. Train wouldn't have to be too late to make it make more sense to head straight for the ferry docks from the train station.

I don't know what mileage you have getting into Toledo, and I wouldn't suggest you try to plan too high of mileage days on your first tour. But it does seem like you're trading 60 miles of riding for 60 miles of train riding plus 30 miles of riding, half of which are in the middle of the night, and half of which are when you likely haven't had much sleep. Granted, the rest of that day should be largely ferry riding and camping, so that's something, but if you have the time and can find a place to sleep, I'd be tempted to turn that 60 mile train trip into another day or two of riding. Maybe a Warm Showers host in Toledo and an extra day of riding so that you can end up at the Sandusky host with time for a good night's sleep. Or I'd be tempted to spring for the cheapest hotel you can find near the train station, just so you can end your day when the train arrives rather than 2am rides through unfamiliar areas.

I think your plan will work as well. It's just that if it were me, it looks like the most stressful way to kick off a a cool trip.
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Old 06-19-18, 09:15 AM
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If you don't have the extra space in your panniers, I would carry a bag where you can stuff your water bottles and frame bag and even your tent. You may be required to hang your bike on the train. Hard enough with just the bike let alone with gear hanging off of it. You can stuff the extra gear into the bag before the train comes.
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Old 06-19-18, 09:17 AM
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Originally Posted by andrewclaus
The Amtrak sounds like a lot of fuss and bother for what looks like a 60-mile ride. And I can't imagine a WS host being happy with a pre-dawn arrival. Those would be my only questions. I would guess you're doing this because of difficulties with a safe bike route leaving Toledo.

I enjoy ferry rides with the bike. I lived near Puget Sound for a while and thought the San Juan Islands were heaven on earth. Have fun!
I would ask the WS host if I could just set up a tent in the backyard and not disturb them.
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Old 06-19-18, 07:36 PM
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thanks for everyone's thoughts.
you've got me re-thinking the train, since I was worried about it being late, and my getting to sleep even later. I'm always up for an adventure, but that could end up just sucking.
probably I'll cancel the train, plan on camping at Maumee Bay, contact a Toledo warmshowers-host as a back up, since I can't make a reservation.
Then I get 2 days of riding in: 75ish and 60ish. That'll be good, I think. I will lose one of my "modes" in my multi-modal trip. No big shakes.

ciao!
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Old 06-21-18, 11:35 AM
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I'm into multi-modal short touring, if you can get compact enough you can open a lot of interesting options - clicky.
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