Category: Travel

Amtrak’s Empire Builder: The Train that Deserves Better

Amtrak’s Empire Builder, the only intercity rail service in Minnesota, will be reduced from daily to tri-weekly service beginning in October due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. I decided to take it one more time before the cuts went into effect, as there’s no way of knowing how long it’ll be before daily […]

An EZPass Transponder

E-ZPass Electronic Toll Collection Comes to Minnesota

Nationwide Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) Interoperability has been an elusive goal for some time. In practical terms that would mean you’d be able to use your MnPASS transponder to pay tolls on a road trip to Chicago or in your rental car in Florida, and in turn, residents of those states would be able to […]

Notes From the Minnesota Statewide Passenger Rail Plan Meeting

On Jan 7, a meeting on the Minnesota Statewide Passenger Rail plan was held at the McColl Pond Environmental Learning Center in Savage, and streets.mn was invited to join other local media outlets and elected officials to hear about updates to the plan. No one else from streets.mn said they were going, so, because I […]

NLX train

Reader Survey Results: Economics of Amtrak from Minneapolis to Duluth

On March 27, we posted about the numbers surrounding the proposed $600 million investment to bring Amtrak rail service along a corridor between Minneapolis and Duluth. Many of you shared your stories of rail and bus travel, and many expressed a deep appreciation for the comfort and conveniences of travel by rail. To learn more, I created a […]

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Trip Report: Amtrak Empire Builder Chicago-St. Paul

How about the train? Way back in December I had already planned most of my 3-month summer tour of Europe, but I hadn’t decided on how I would return home. I narrowed my options to a flight from Europe directly to Minneapolis (boring, but the quickest), fly from Europe to Chicago and then Amtrak to […]

two hammocks, a tent, and a bike leaning against a tree.

Bikepacking Is Great

I went bikepacking again! That makes Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend, the perfect bookends to summer for bikepacking. Our destination this time was a hike-in site at beautiful Afton State Park. We weighed the pros and cons of taking such a roundabout route, and decided that this route was better than the one […]

My First Bikepacking Trip! Part 3 of 3

Start at the beginning, with My First Bikepacking Trip! Part 1 of 3 (which also has the map of our route), and then read the middle, My First Bikepacking Trip! Part 2 of 3, before this one.  We woke up at sunrise with trumpeter swans and many nice songbirds greeting the morning. We needed to be on the […]

my bike is laying on its side near a tree, taking a nap.

My First Bikepacking Trip! Part 2 of 3

Here is Part 1 in the series.   We took the first Northstar headed out of town, at the crack of 11 am. We just barely made it to the platform in time: I had to rearrange some of my pack, and it took us a couple tries to find how to get down to the station from […]

My bike, all packed up!

My First Bikepacking Trip! Part 1 of 3

We were looking for a camping trip to take over Memorial Day weekend, one that could get us into the woods and out of the city. Ideally, one that would put us a fair distance away from anyone else at all. But, we didn’t want to rent a car just to park it for a […]

What the North Star Can Learn from the Lone Star

This past week I attended a conference in Austin, Texas. I had only ever been to cruddy parts of Texas before, but was excited to see a city I had heard great things about. People told me about the great music scene, amazing food, and beautiful parks. I knew they have bike share and had […]