I mean, who would have thought you could get to either end of the state by train, and across it well? For a last-minute bike tour on a super tight schedule, this state ended up being this amazing, accessible spot with temps just warm enough to sleep comfortably outside. And when I say last-minute, I mean I planned the trip with JP Bevins of No Life Like This Life over text four days before he arrived in Chicago on his train from NYC.
That said, planning to take a bike on one train, ride across a state, and get it onto another train can be a little crazy.
Until Amtrak gets it together and adds roll-on service to every train, bringing a bike involves knowing the individual line's checked baggage policy, which stations handle checked baggage, and making sure your bike fits in cardboard bike boxes sold at the station, and also making sure you're at your departure station early enough to guarantee your checked baggage makes it on the same train as you. Amtrak doesn't have it written in their baggage policy, but after arriving without my bike back during SSCXWC2013 I learned that they only guarantee your luggage arrives within 48 hours of your arrival. Not that I'm venting or anything...
Luckily, through my tribulations I've got the system down, and confident our bikes would meet us in Kansas City we were able to watch the snow disappear as we traveled south, passing through the small, unique towns of the midwest with the best seat-row companion ever.
Arriving in Kansas City, our confidence wasn't left for nothing and two big, brown boxes were rolled into the station.
We splashed out on for the second-cheapest motel after reading multiple reviews saying the absolutely cheapest motel suffered from, apparently, an insanely wide-spread ant problem. Ant-free, we both passed out immediately in an attempt to be well rested for the next three days and three hundred miles on the Katy Trail.