Wednesday, September 21, 2016

We Took Our Full-Sized Bicycles on Amtrak

In our previous car-free. multi-modal trips on Jefferson Lines and Amtrak, Roberta and I have taken our Brompton folding bikes which are treated as luggage. Some of our friends have asked us about bringing full-sized bikes on buses and trains. Sadly, the rules are not as easy for full-sized bikes, but that is starting to change.

Roberta and I had an opportunity to try out the new bike service on Amtrak's Empire Builder on Monday. The cycling advocates, dignitaries were on hand at Union Depot to launch the new service (Star Tribune article here).

Roberta and I have full-sized bikes we use to get around the Twin Cities. Roberta has a stylish Linus bike she got from the Calhoun Cycles, now Perennial Cycles in Minneapolis, and I have a bike built by Lowertown Bike Shop, now located here in Union Depot. It felt really different to wheel our full-sized  bikes through Union Depot to the Amtrak platform. We lifted our bikes up to the baggage at the front of the train and walked back to our car. near the back of the train. The train waits a long time at the MSP stop, so we had plenty of time.

We got off at Red Wing, one of our favorite Amtrak destinations. The platform at Red Wing is not long enough to allow passengers to walk from their car to the baggage car. That may change (there are a lot of improvements in the works for Amtrak service in the Midwest).

For now, if you are planning to take your full-sized bike on the train, it's a good idea to call Amtrak and make sure they have that service at your destination. Be sure to read Amtrak's bike policies.

Dignitaries and bicyclists in the waiting room at Union Depot.

Cyclists put their bikes on the baggage cars on the UD platform. 

One last photo and the journey begins!

Nice, new bike infra on Red Wing's waterfront.

Roberta and her bike on the Cannon Valley Trail.

Roberta's quick sketch of Barn Bluff in her journal.

My journal sketch of Barn Bluff.

Me and the spectacular view atop Barn Bluff.

Mocking on the Mississippi.

New store in town (logo & book by the awesome Kevin Cannon).


Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Duluth by Bus & Brompton

We haven't been traveling much in Minnesota this year because we've had to do a lot of family-related travel to NYC and LA. Robert and I are also deep into non-sketching, non-travel projects. Roberta has a new painting studio in the Northern Building and she hopes to be ready to show her recent work at the Saint Paul Art Crawl this Fall. I'm finishing the second book of Bicyclopolis. But, we did manage last month to take a Jefferson Lines bus up to Duluth for four days. We had a lot of fun bicycling and sketching in Canal Park and elsewhere.

Click on the sketches to make them bigger:

Roberta's sketch of the lift bridge and lighthouse.

Canal Park by Roberta.

Roberta's sketch of me and the rocks. The water had turned brown from flooding.

Canal Park attraction.

More rocks by me.

My favorite sketch.

I snapped this photo of my Brompton on the shores of Lake Superior:

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Trip Out West, California & Nevada

Every year about the time Winter tightens its icy grip on Minnesota, Roberta and I visit family living in warmer climes. This year, we boarded a jet plane with our Brompton bikes packed wrapped safely with Roberta's garment bags inside Brompton "B" bags. We prefer traveling by bus and train, but we didn't  have enough time to schedule a leisurely excursion on Amtrak's Southwest Chief as I did in 2014.

Our first stop was San Clemente where we did the following sketches on and around the San Clemente Pier. As always, click on the sketches to make them bigger:

Roberta's awesome sketch of the town around the station & pier.
Another sketch by Roberta of the view of the ocean from the station.

Sketches in my journal from the pier.
Awesome coffee and breakfast at La Gallette Creperie.
The iconic tower on the pier.
After a few days, we took the Metrolink Los Angeles. We took a bike trip to Venice via the Metro "Expo" line and the Ballona Creek Trail. I did this sketch on the train of another bicyclist sitting next to his bike:

We didn't have much time to sketch on the trail, so I took this photo:

Roberta and her Brompton on the trail.
We took a Greyhound bus from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. Greyhound has excellent service between the two cities. The cafeteria in the Los Angeles Greyhound station had really tasty Mexican food.

Vegas isn't a great town to bike in, so our daughter chauffeured us around. Fremont is a good place to walk with lots of fun places to sketch outdoors, but the weather was cold and windy. We found a nice coffee shop, The Beat on Fremont with big windows where we did these sketches:

Roberta's sketch of the El Cortez across the street.
Denizens of The Beat.
Page from my journal.
The next day was warmer, so we drove to Red Rock Canyon a really great place to hike and sketch:
My sketch of people taking photos of each other.
Roberta's awesome sketch of Red Rock.
Our vacation came to an end and as we boarded our plane at the airport, we glimpsed (and sketched) an occurrence that reminded us of the saying "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas":
My sketch of the intestinal discomfort of one overindulgent visitor at the departure gate.