This is a multi-part trip report. If you haven’t already, you should start at the beginning. Remember that you can click on any of the photos to see larger versions of them.
After a tour of the Least Private Men’s Bathroom in the State, we all sleep well and get up in the morning right on time. The ride across town to the Amtrak station takes about twenty minutes. The station here is unstaffed, so we just sit outside until the train arrives.
The conductors and attendants help us lift our bikes onto the train and park them right at the end of our passenger car. We’d wondered if we’d be allowed to leave the panniers on the bikes, and sure enough, we were. The bikes are even in the same car we’re in, making it super easy to get to all our stuff.
I’m in a window seat, and Bryan and Mandy are sitting together behind me. They had train pizza for breakfast, and I just ate snacks from my bag and a $2 Pepsi. The woman who got off in Jeff City was friendly – she told me all about the worst trip she ever took (to Branson, with her ex, and her mother, and her small son, and she was pregnant – there were no hotel rooms, and traffic was awful, and she was furious the whole time.) Then we talked about dogs, and dog health problems, and food while traveling. Now that she’s gone I’ve settled into my seat, put lotion on my feet, replied to some emails. I can hear Bryan and Mandy talking quietly behind me, playing Othello, and I think I’ll take a nap in a little bit. I could stay on the train all day. I love the train.
We get off the train in St. Louis and negotiate the elevators and walkways with more facility than we had earlier this week. We’re quick learners! We leave the bags on the bikes on the light rail trip. They’re more cumbersome this way, but still easier to handle than a lighter bike and a giant duffel. We’re getting on the light rail at different doors now, which means that other people with bikes get on to ride with each of us. Mandy has a bike-related conversation with a scruffy bike commuter in a City Museum staff shirt, and I ride with a guy on a shiny new Specialized hybrid. We have a little trouble on city streets today – Mandy’s tired, and that doesn’t work well when the pedestrian lights don’t work – but we get to Forest Park without major incident and ride across the park and through a few more streets to our hotel.
The room’s really nice – we got a suite so as to have more room to store bikes, but really it’s one really big hotel room, with a couch and big armchair and wet bar area in addition to the usual hotel room stuff. By the time we get here we’re all tired and frustrated and hot. And hungry. We roll the bikes into the room, give Mandy some headache medicine and some Jolt gum. She lays down while Bryan and I head downstairs to find some food.
Immediately after eating, we leave the room to ride back across the park, catch the light rail, and ride to Schlafly’s to eat again – we’re meeting Bob and Jo Ann Osburn for supper. We have a nice visit (and a good meal) before heading back to the room. We’re getting so much better at this – the bikes are lighter now with our panniers left in the hotel room, and we’re all confident and quick about getting on and off the train. We’ve figured out the most direct route through the park on the bike path. Mandy and I make a brief trip to the super crowded hotel pool, and now we’re back in our nice suite, taking barefoot showers and getting ready to sleep in the first clean beds we’ve had in more than a week.