Best Laid Plans: Getting To and From Minneapolis

There's only one train a day from Chicago to the twin cities, and at the earliest it arrives at like 10:30pm. Wanting to arrive somewhat earlier to enjoy a dinner before the next day's riding plans, I hatched a scheme to ship my bike by Amtrak (still the cheapest way to ship a bike by the way) Thursday, and take the afternoon Megabus (one of five that run per day) up on Friday. The beauty of it is that both Megabus and Amtrak pull into St. Paul's new public transit terminal. If everything went smoothly, I'd arrive at 8:30 with my bike already sitting at the Amtrak office, ready to pedal off to a nice dinner somewhere in Minneapolis. As you can guess from the header, something went wrong.

There's differences, of course, in taking the bus versus taking the train. Let's just say if one option costs a third of the other, expect to be going without some amenities. I tried to keep that in mind as we sat in a hotel parking lot, forty minutes outside Chicago, the driver explained our reverse-Speed situation in which the bus wasn't able to go over 50mph. So we waited for a replacement bus, but by the second hour of sitting and waiting it was clear we could have just kept going at 50mph and made it to St. Paul by the same time we would now be arriving in a new bus. Bus drivers aren't easily persuaded by math and logic though, and I felt a deep irony in finally arriving at exactly the same time as that day's train.

You can't let things like that upset you. It all worked out, I got to have an amazing day of riding, and then the next morning I cruised through a foggy St. Paul to catch the train home. The fog hovered of the landscape, largely dominated by the Mississippi, the entire ride back. We made it through to a foggy Milwaukee before the last bit of light was gone.