Train to Portland (next week)

We’re finally taking a bike-train trip! The littles and I will ride the Amtrak Cascades to Portland next week. If you’re in the area, come to a bikey family playdate:

Tuesday, December 6th
3:00-5:00 pm
Sewallcrest Park
SE 31st Ave & Market St, Portland, OR

King Street Station is pretty nice. I’m mostly basing that on the state of the bathroom. I especially like that theres a very large sitting room in the ladies room so I was able to wheel the bike in there and leave it for a moment while the boys used the facilities. Probably not the best idea to leave one’s bike unlocked in any location of any train station so I won’t do it again.

Naturally, I forgot to time how long it took to get to the train station so that part of the test run didn’t work so well, but it was good to get a lay of the land and purchase tickets in advance. Since I’m using the Chinook Book free kid coupon, I don’t think I could have purchased them online.

I haven’t had a chance to figure out any of the logistics yet, but I did think to ask what the bike accommodations are and learned bikes hang vertically from hooks on the train. I’m not sure how I’ll get the bike up there, given past failures: trying and failing to use the tilted bike rack at Whole Foods, and trying and failing to get the front wheel over the bike fence at Pike Place Market. Should be interesting. I’m not ready to think about how I’m going to pack three people’s worth of stuff into two little bags.

Riding to the train station I was reminded of a Seattle Bike Blog commenter’s complaint about the 2nd Avenue bike lane. I started in the offending bike lane, but when I saw another bike riding on the other side of the street in the Bus Only lane, I did the same. The bus lane is next to the parked-car-free curb and I didn’t see one bus our entire time on the street. The bike lane, however, is next to a solid wall of parked cars. Given the slight downhill slope, I was moving faster than normal which makes the “door lane” scarier. At my incredibly slow uphill rate, I can see into each car and am warned if the driver is inside and might swing the door open into my path.

11 thoughts on “Train to Portland (next week)

  1. Jealous! The baggage handlers will lift your bike up into the bike car and hang it, in my experience. They prefer not to have us folks up in their baggage car.

  2. Ask for a Red Cap at the ticket counter they will help you with your baggage so you can handle the bike and kids. Not sure if they accept tips but best to have one just to be sure. When getting the seat assignments you can request one of table seats, water side if you can get one.

    Watch for sea lions just after steilacoom boat moorage.

    Have fun, tear it up!

    • I totally forgot to ask about help (probably because we left home 40 minutes late, as always). Forgot about seating, too, but we’ve ended up on the right side! What a great view.

  3. Oooh ooooh that park had the best corkscrew slide. Kids would a get little banged up shooting out the bottom, super super fast slide that one, bring a catchers mitt.

    Man I hope it’s still there.

  4. I am inviting my Portland friend to go as my surrogate. I hope she (and her three children under 5) can make it!

    This also reminded me to check into the possibility of taking a bike on the train to NYC…do they allow long tails? I read the Totcycle fiasco on trying to take their Madsen on the train and it didn’t look pretty, although it was a hilarious read. I would have been him in that story and Brent his wife :) I should stop thinking I can do anything I want to do.

    • You know I think the Empire Builder route allows bikes but there is misinformation within/between Amtrak employees and whether the bicycle needs to be boxed or not. Once that hurdle is addressed there is the staffed/unstaffed stops that limit your final destination. I’m sure once to Chicago it’s more accommodating due to the denser and closer population zones.

      I have watched the bike box, no bike box drama play out a few times and every time plenty of foot stamping on both sides but eventually the passengers were treated like valuable customers and were accommodated and allowed to board even if it was last minute.

      Never stop dreaming whats possible without driving a car there besides the real magic can be between the points A and B

      • Thanks, we live in WV and will pass through DC. It’s worth a call, but I would hate to get to the station and be told no despite what they say on the phone. Looking to rent something once we are there, is another possibility. My husband said he doesn’t want to bike NYC with children, but I am far more adventurous (or crazy).

  5. Ooh! I can’t wait to hear all about your trip! Yay!

    PS Why does Whole Foods make such weird bike racks? Our new local Whole Foods has an AWFUL bike rack that makes all the bikes tip over. :(

    • So far, so good! Aboard the train, enjoying the slow, free Wi-Fi. I’m sure those Whole Foods racks are local and sustainable and cost more than racks at any other grocery store ;)

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