We had a fabulous train trip from Whitefish to Buffalo. As these things are with three bikes and all our stuff, the logistics were a bit complicated but we pulled it off.
Our train left at 7:20am on July 17. Initially I thought we’d check our bikes, panniers and camping equipment in the night before, stay at a motel close to the train station and have an easy pack up on the morning we were to leave. But we found out that everything was booked solid or out of our price range. We decided to camp on our last night, check the bikes in and walk to the campsite. We booked a taxi to pick us up at the campsite.
Anna Sierra planned our menu for the two days we would be on the train – cereal, soy milk, oatmeal, sandwiches, cold pizza and pasta salad. She and I rode to the grocery store to pick everything up and drop it back at the campsite while Jasper and Derek packed the tandem.
I’m not going to get into the details, but Derek and I were pretty scrappy with each other over packing the bikes. Of course we resolved everything.
But I’m mentioning it here because people often ask us how we get along so well as a family travelling together on such a big journey. I think we all try hard to work together, to accommodate each other and to let stuff go, but sometimes some of us are just scrappy and we need to give each other a little space and a lot of compassion.
Check out the awesome suitcase Derek and Anna Sierra found for just $3 at a thrift store – a great way to store panniers and meet the baggage limit.
We loved riding through Montana. It’s the fourth largest state, but with a population just over 900,000, it is very rural.
We all gravitated to the observation car with its big windows and chatty atmosphere. Through a partnership between the National Parks and Amtrak, Rails to Trails volunteers provided historical, geographic and cultural commentary as we travelled through the landscape.
After a sleep, lots of delicious food and visits with other travellers, we arrived in Chicago for a 5 hour layover.
We checked our bags into the lockers and were ready to stretch our legs and explore the city.
Our favourite spot was Milenium Park, an incredible public space with outdoor concerts, rock climbing, walking, lovely gardens, an inviting wading pool and endless people watching opportunities.
After a good walk we were ready to get back on the train for another sleep. By 9:30 the next morning we would be in Buffalo, putting our bikes together and getting ready to ride to my cousin’s home in St. Catherine’s.