This summer I'd like to take the Amtrak from Cincinnati, OH to Holland, MI, by way of Chicago, and I'd like to take my bike. Help me figure this out.
Probably some time in July, I'd like to visit from friends in Holland, MI. Partially because of the price of gas, partially because I'm familiar with Holland and I know it's bikeable, and partly because, uh, I think it'd be kind of fun to take a train, I'd like to take the Amtrak, and bring my bike.
A search for train schedules on the Amtrak website shows that the train would probably leave Cincinnati about 1:10am, get into Chicago at 10:35am, leave Chicago again at 5:45pm (bonus! 7 hours of free time in Chicago!), and get into Holland at 5:45pm. Essentially reverse and repeat on the way back, with the train leaving Holland at 8:20am and getting into Cincinnati at 3:17am.
I guess I'm sort of trying to figure out if this is feasible/if there's any reason this would be a really bad idea, assuming: a) while I've been on a train before, I'm not an experienced train traveler, and b) I'm a 5'2" 21 year old female.
But I mean, I can take care of myself. I guess my concerns more specifically are:
1) How difficult will it be for me to get the bike on and off the train (yes, I've seen this
on the Amtrak site.)
2) Surely there's somewhere at Union Station in Chicago I can check a bike for 7 hours, right? Will that be complicated/expensive?
3) Ought I be concerned at all about boarding/leaving the Amtrak at 1:00am or 3:00am? I guess I'm asking about the general sketchiness of Amtrak stations, especially really late at night.
Thoughts? Suggestions? Thanks Askmefites!