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View Full Version : Plane, Train or car?



rashamon12
02-11-2017, 06:51
Ok so i am planning out how me and my buddy are getting to maine for our southbound hike this year 2017. We are trying to save cost so we really dont want to buy plane tickets but also understand it can be tricky with how big and heavy our packs will be. We also want to minimize the inposition on other people to drive us as well. Any input would be helpful because we could drive ourselfs but do not want to leave our vehicle parked there for months on end.

I was leaning twords trying to finding someone to come with us (from Pennsylvania) and than drive my car home after we are dropped off in maine.

rashamon12
02-11-2017, 06:57
also forgot to mention bus but my buddy seems anti bus.

Traveler
02-11-2017, 08:05
Ok so i am planning out how me and my buddy are getting to maine for our southbound hike this year 2017. We are trying to save cost so we really dont want to buy plane tickets but also understand it can be tricky with how big and heavy our packs will be. We also want to minimize the inposition on other people to drive us as well. Any input would be helpful because we could drive ourselfs but do not want to leave our vehicle parked there for months on end.

I was leaning twords trying to finding someone to come with us (from Pennsylvania) and than drive my car home after we are dropped off in maine.

Since 50% of your expedition is "anti-bus", why don't you hire someone you know to drive you up and bring your car back for you? That way you can make the trip according to your schedule and the costs should be similar to mass transit depending where you are in PA.

rashamon12
02-11-2017, 08:13
I was not sure of the cost of public transit since i never really had to rely on it. I know there are usually many options on bus lines as well. I guess for simplisity hiring someone would be best though the trick would be finding someone to take a few days off to drive up and back. Also what is the closest you can get to baxter park via car?

vdubb
02-11-2017, 08:17
Im in a similar boat here trying to figure the best way to get to Maine this June. I think Im going with taking an amtrak train from Chicago. It'll only be about $160 if I book soon and from what I've looked into, getting gear on the train wont be too much of a hassel. I plan on getting an old duffle bag to keep my pack/poles in and buy fuel once I get to maine. For me the train seems the best option, but if I could convince a loved one to drive me, (I've tried), I'd go that route instead. I hope this info helps somehow!

rashamon12
02-11-2017, 08:42
what kind of restrictions do they have on pack size and weight do they have on the trains. what i looked into it didnt seem that it would work out unless i dont bring any food with.

johnnybgood
02-11-2017, 10:11
Have you looked into car rental options ?
Drop off the rental in Maine and get shuttled to BSP.
Your best bet might be the Bangor Airport as they have more major rental service providers.
Check with them about shuttles to Baxter.
Maybe a larger group shuttle would be the cheapest option.
Lastly, car rental agencies are pretty liberal on amount of daily mileage allowable.

4eyedbuzzard
02-11-2017, 10:24
Ok so i am planning out how me and my buddy are getting to maine for our southbound hike this year 2017. We are trying to save cost so we really dont want to buy plane tickets but also understand it can be tricky with how big and heavy our packs will be. We also want to minimize the inposition on other people to drive us as well. Any input would be helpful because we could drive ourselfs but do not want to leave our vehicle parked there for months on end.

I was leaning twords trying to finding someone to come with us (from Pennsylvania) and than drive my car home after we are dropped off in maine.Okay, so exactly how big and heavy are your packs? Because if transporting them on a plane, train, or bus is a problem, I think you might want to take a closer look at trimming down the weight and/or volume of your gear.

vdubb
02-11-2017, 10:31
https://m.amtrak.com/mt/www.amtrak.com/baggage-guidelines-booking

RollTide
02-11-2017, 10:47
Too bad you aren't in Florida.... G4 flies direct from Tampa to Bangor for only $100 with your backpack.:banana

bigcranky
02-11-2017, 10:57
Amtrak is really easy for carrying on a pack. They don't have the restricted overhead space of an airplane. Make sure you reserve a seat, so you're not standing.

I'm thinking you could take the train to Boston, the bus to Portland, ME, then another bus to Medway, ME, then a shuttle to Millinockett and the AT Lodge, or just straight to the park. If you go public transit, the bus is just going to be part of that once you get past Boston.

You'll need to make camping reservations in Baxter *right now* for two nights, the night before and the night after your first day on the trail. Go make the reservations now, seriously.

Slo-go'en
02-11-2017, 12:47
I take Amtrak a lot and they really don't care much about pack size. My 65L pack fits in the rack above my seat. Any bigger and it would have to go in the luggage rack by the door. If you want to go by train, book as soon as possible for the best price. Don't expect to get much sleep, but it's a heck of a lot better then the bus. You can buy food and beer on the train, but it's really expensive. You can bring your own food and drink too.

The various options to get from Boston or Portland, ME are pretty straight forward and require bus and shuttle.

Getting someone to drive you is a good option. Depending on where you are in PA (west end or east end), you might be able to do it in one long drive. In that case, you would drive to the park entrance at Abol Bridge and spend the night at the campground there, as you'd get there late.

Keep in mind the mountains of Maine and NH are getting a LOT of snow this winter (another 18-20" this Sun/Mon yippee!) so you might not want to start too early in June this year. Which reminds me, I need to go out and shovel the driveway again so I can get some bread and milk before this next Nor'easter shows up tomorrow.

rashamon12
02-11-2017, 18:07
thanks for all the input. As for my pack weight it is 31.2lbs i am on a fixed budget so i had to sacrifice some weight for more durable and cost effective items.

jj dont play
02-11-2017, 18:10
Your sobo so it's a little diff but... I flew to Atlanta for my NOBO. Stayed at hiker hostel . Mom met me in Maine and we took the train together back south to New Orleans. The train ride was pretty epic and added to the awesome experience on the thru hike. Plus got to hit DC which I skipped when I had hit HF on the trail, and also got to hit Boston.
Work a long train trip in somehow!


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rashamon12
02-12-2017, 03:20
originally i was leaning twords train but was unsure of bag allowances cost and once in maine how i would actually get to the park. I do think it would be a rather awesome thing to be able to also enjoy a train ride there and back.

Slo-go'en
02-12-2017, 11:57
originally i was leaning twords train but was unsure of bag allowances cost and once in maine how i would actually get to the park. I do think it would be a rather awesome thing to be able to also enjoy a train ride there and back.

The problem with the train is it really doesn't help you much. There is limited service in PA. The only stops are in Pittsburg, Harrisburg and Philly. The Pittsburg route goes to DC, where you'd have to transfer to another train to Boston. The Harrisburg/Philly route goes to NYC, where you'd have to transfer to get to Boston, then another transfer to get to Portland, ME (which requires walking from one train station to another, located 3-4 miles apart). You can only get to Portland, ME via Harrisburg or Philly. The timing for getting to Portland from Pittsburg doesn't work out. The price for Harrisburg to Portland, ME is currently $131. This trip leaves Harrisburg at 5:55am and arrives in Portland, ME 8:50 PM - but these trains are often late. Depending on where you live, getting to Harrisburg in time for the 6am train might be a problem without spending a night in town.

If you book the same trip on Greyhound, (Harrisburg to Portland) it costs $57 and takes 15 hours and 30 minutes. (leave 8:25 PM, arrive 11:55 AM the next day).

So, the train gets you to Maine quicker, but too late to go any farther. The bus is cheaper and arrives early enough you could possibly get the rest of the way that day, but you'll not get much sleep on that trip. Tough choice.

rashamon12
02-12-2017, 14:29
getting to harrisburg is no issue i am not too far away so i mean i can get there either way. I think another big thing is the fact that you have to schedual when you are going to be camping in Baxter and with all this snow they are getting i dont know if they will be open when i want to start. that then makes it harder to schedual when to get these tickets or person to drive my car back.

Deacon
02-12-2017, 14:52
Depending on where you are in Pennsylvania will determine the best train access. If you are toward the western end and North of Pittsburgh, you can pick up the train to Boston in Erie PA, or in Rome NY, or Schenectady NY. That's the no. 49 train, or the Lakeshore Limited.

Otherwise the train through Pittsburgh is a little more roundabout as you'll have to go through Washington (great restaurants in Union Station).

If you go to Amtrak.com, or call 1-800-AMTRAK, you can order a free catalog that shows all the train routes and schedules.

bigcranky
02-12-2017, 15:28
getting to harrisburg is no issue i am not too far away so i mean i can get there either way. I think another big thing is the fact that you have to schedual when you are going to be camping in Baxter and with all this snow they are getting i dont know if they will be open when i want to start. that then makes it harder to schedual when to get these tickets or person to drive my car back.

Given how the reservation system works at Baxter, it's easier to make the camping reservation at the park first (call now!) and then make your travel reservations once you have the camping reservation. Probably safe to schedule a mid June start.

TwoSpirits
02-12-2017, 15:29
Amtrak also has a good, easy to use app.

I took the train(s) from Indianapolis to Bangor, then a bus to Portland, another bus to Medway, and then the folks at the AT Lodge shuttled to Millinocket. The trains & buses make for a long and tiring trip, and you don't get to Medway/Millinocket before 7pm, so staying at the AT Lodge for the night and taking advantage of their SOBO special is the way to go.

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TwoSpirits
02-12-2017, 15:36
Amtrak also has a pretty good policy for changing reservation dates I think...so if you find that the Hunt Trail isn't open yet and you have to change plans by a few days, it's pretty easy to do (not at all like the airlines.)

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rashamon12
02-12-2017, 16:20
well i found some people who will drive us up there so now i will just have to find a way home from georga. Prolly a train because my buddy said he would rather hitch-hike with axe weilding murderers than take a bus. lol

Slo-go'en
02-12-2017, 16:35
well i found some people who will drive us up there so now i will just have to find a way home from georga. Prolly a train because my buddy said he would rather hitch-hike with axe weilding murderers than take a bus. lol

It will be easier to get home from GA via train then to ME via train. Yea, long bus rides are no fun, if it's more then an overnight, I find another way.

rashamon12
02-12-2017, 16:39
well we are in no rush to get home or even on the trail. my buddy will be leaving his job when we start and my boss said i will have my job whenever i get back so we have no time crunch at all. Personally i never minded train rides. a bus i never really enjoyed tho.

bigcranky
02-12-2017, 18:30
By the time you get to Georgia, you'll be able to figure it out pretty easily.

rafe
02-12-2017, 21:12
I've taken Amtrak to and from section hikes, pack has never been a problem.

AfterParty
02-12-2017, 22:22
I have never taken a train so I plan to do this.

rashamon12
03-31-2017, 12:59
Just so everyone knows I will be getting a ride to maine and than either getting a train home or having some friends in the south bring me home.

Sandy of PA
03-31-2017, 16:16
The Crescent from Gainesville to Washington DC, then whatever train is needed to get to the part of PA you are from, for me The Capital Limited to Connellsville, PA. I used Ron Brown to get to the train station, easy peasy!

Riocielo
03-31-2017, 18:01
If you take Amtrak, leave plenty of wiggle-room in your schedule. We took it from Birmingham to NYC once. The train was almost four hours late arriving. And as an added bonus, the toilets weren't working in our sleeper car. [emoji52]

Beside that, it was a nice experience.

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BillyGr
04-01-2017, 15:01
Seems that is an issue with many of the longer train trips (being behind, that is).

The shorter ones (like we have here to/from NYC) aren't as much issue, but it's always wise to book one that is ONLY an Albany-NY train, rather than part of a train coming from further away like Chicago or Montreal.

erieite
04-01-2017, 17:35
where are you in Pennsylvania. I have taken Amtrak and enjoyed the ride. I have heard people talk about delays but i haven't experienced that in useing Amtrak.

bigcranky
04-02-2017, 08:30
We took the train from DC to Vermont and back for a Long Trail hike, and it was within 15 minutes even with a track issue on the way back. I had a 12 hour train ride from NYC to Greensboro last month and it was on time to the minute. Yeah I know Amtrak can have delays but so can flights.

PennyPincher
04-06-2017, 19:41
I was not sure of the cost of public transit since i never really had to rely on it. I know there are usually many options on bus lines as well. I guess for simplisity hiring someone would be best though the trick would be finding someone to take a few days off to drive up and back. Also what is the closest you can get to baxter park via car?

PA to ME is only about 15 hours depending on where in PA (I guess if you are in the Western part it could be much longer?) you are. So a long weekend of driving. That would be a really good friend! Of course you could sweeten the deal with a stay in a nice place for them or some thing.

As for how close you can get to Baxter. You can drive to the campsite at the bottom of Katahdin and sleep there the night before you start your hike.

PennyPincher
04-06-2017, 19:46
what kind of restrictions do they have on pack size and weight do they have on the trains. what i looked into it didnt seem that it would work out unless i dont bring any food with.

How big is your pack?!

My pack will be 17.5 lbs plus the cover I bought for it while traveling. This is with 4 days food and doesn't include some of my things I would have in the backpack but will instead have with me in my seat on my bus. My food is very light so I am only carrying about 4lbs of food, most people would be at 8 pounds for 4 days or so. Even if I had my old tent and sleeping bag and "normal trail food" my backpack would only be about 25 lbs. Maybe add a few more pounds for more cold weather situations so 30 pounds?

PennyPincher
04-06-2017, 19:48
Have you looked into car rental options ?
Drop off the rental in Maine and get shuttled to BSP.
Your best bet might be the Bangor Airport as they have more major rental service providers.
Check with them about shuttles to Baxter.
Maybe a larger group shuttle would be the cheapest option.
Lastly, car rental agencies are pretty liberal on amount of daily mileage allowable.

Worst idea ever. Renting a car one way is expensive! They nail you for not returning it to the same place. even where I live we have multiple locations for the same rental agencies and if I try to rent from one and drop off at the the location, I get seriously upcharged.

Deacon
04-07-2017, 14:30
Worst idea ever. Renting a car one way is expensive! They nail you for not returning it to the same place. even where I live we have multiple locations for the same rental agencies and if I try to rent from one and drop off at the the location, I get seriously upcharged.

Right. There's usually a $250 fee for not returning the car to the original pick up point.