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St. Paul/Minneapolis & Amtrak Info needed

Old 04-14-12, 11:37 AM
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Tandem Tom
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St. Paul/Minneapolis & Amtrak Info needed

Anyone familiar with the Amtrak station in the Twin Cities? My wife and I are planning to ride the ACA North Lake Route and would arrive in the Cities with 2 bike boxes a box with our BOB trailer and assorted panniers. Would like to know how large the station is as ,per the Amtrak website, no baggage carts are available. Might fabricate a one use cart with cheap casters and include it in one of the boxes.
Also any hotel/motel inf close to the start point would be also appreciated.
Thanks!
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Old 04-14-12, 12:41 PM
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I live in Minneapolis and have taken the Amtrak back and forth to Milwaukee a few times. The train station is of a decent size (will have a terminal, taxis waiting). It is in a bit of an old industrial part of town (warehouses and the like) with a nearby commercial corridor on University Ave. There isn't a lot in the area for travelers and it is a bit gritty. When I've come in, I've had to walk a decent distance from the train to the terminal. It wasn't noticeably long, but it is obvious that this is the old railyard part of town and the train station is a bit of an afterthought - and it could seem long with all your gear. If I were hauling a bunch of stuff, I would get or improvise a cart. It is big enough where I'm surprised they don't have carts...I might give the station a call and talk to a human being to check on that. I want to say there were carts, but it has been a few years.

The North Lake Route is not one I've heard of here, so I googled it. It looks like it says it terminates near the airport, makes use of the River Trails, and connects up to Willard-Munger trail. The Willard-Munger is a ways off (about 80 miles, I think). So, I'm not sure of your start point in the Twin Cities. I wouldn't let this worry you if you have a route (the Twin Cities has a million bike trails and what not) - but, I don't think there is any North Lake Route signage or anything like that. If you give a little more info on the start point, I could give my local opinion. Certainly, either the University-area (near the U of M, about 2 miles from the train station) or downtown Minneapolis are along the river and the river trails. So, any hotel in those areas wouldn't be far from that.
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Old 04-14-12, 01:42 PM
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I appreciate your response and I will dig out my maps tonight and look at them more closely. Any chance I could email you? Thanks Tom tnorton770@gmail.com
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Old 04-15-12, 10:19 AM
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Tom the station does have baggage carts inside. Amtrak will unload your boxes and you can pick them up in the baggage claim area just like at any airport.
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Old 04-15-12, 01:06 PM
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Thanks for info re;Baggage carts. The Amtra site says they do not have them.
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Old 04-16-12, 12:03 AM
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Originally Posted by vins0010 View Post
The North Lake Route is not one I've heard of here, so I googled it. It looks like it says it terminates near the airport, makes use of the River Trails, and connects up to Willard-Munger trail...
I think the OP is referring to Adventure Cycling Association's (ACA) North Lakes Route:
https://www.adventurecycling.org/routes/northlakes.cfm
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Old 04-16-12, 05:33 PM
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Hi Tandem,
I live in the NE suburbs of St Paul (White Bear Lake) when are you planning to travel?
Keith
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Old 04-16-12, 09:59 PM
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In the ACA's description of the North Lakes route this statement is incorrect. The Willard Munger Trail is no where near Mpls or St. Paul.

If you are beginning in Minneapolis-St. Paul, you can conveniently start the route by biking right out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport onto bike paths along the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. The route uses city streets and connects with the Willard Munger State Trail, a beautiful bike trail that leads you out of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. You'll cross the St. Croix River into Osceola, Wisconsin
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Old 04-17-12, 12:21 AM
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Originally Posted by oldride View Post
In the ACA's description of the North Lakes route this statement is incorrect. The Willard Munger Trail is no where near Mpls or St. Paul.

If you are beginning in Minneapolis-St. Paul, you can conveniently start the route by biking right out of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport onto bike paths along the Minnesota and Mississippi rivers. The route uses city streets and connects with the Willard Munger State Trail, a beautiful bike trail that leads you out of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. You'll cross the St. Croix River into Osceola, Wisconsin
Actually, the ACA is correct -- that's because the Willard Munger Trail (confusingly) has at times referred of a number of separate sections. The best known segment is from Duluth to Hinckley, but there's also a segment that used to be called the Boundary segment (not paved), and there is the Alex Laveau segment that extends south and east of Carlton. https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_tra...ger/index.html

And then there is the Gateway State Trail Section of the Willard Munger Trail which goes right out of St. Paul (which is what the ACA is referring to). Here is one link: https://www.traillink.com/trail/willa...-segment).aspx

Here is another with a map: https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/state_tra...way/index.html

Anyway, the Amtrak station would not be a difficult place to leave from, there are a fair amount of side streets to get you to the Gateway Section of the Willard Munger Trail, if you prefer to call it that, but it seems a bit of a mouthful and most references are to the Gateway Trail, hence the confusion.

There is a Days Inn on University Avenue only a couple of blocks south and east from the Amtrak station. For food, Keys Restaurant is less than a mile away to the west at 767 Raymond. Delicious meals each time I've been there, though it's been a while. And there's an excellent Ethiopian Restaurant called Fasika's about a mile east of the Days Inn just north of University on Snelling.

Last edited by OldZephyr; 04-17-12 at 12:26 AM.
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Old 04-17-12, 05:18 AM
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Thanks for ALL the info!
We have definately decide to use Amtrak to get to up to the Cities. We live in Cleveland and it is much cheaper than a one way car rental. Just have to leave Cleveland @3AM!
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Old 04-17-12, 08:32 AM
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OldZephyr thanks for the clarification. Confusing!
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