Michael “Skeeter” Pilarski has set up an Amtrak Group Discount. Here is the scoop in his words:
AMTRAK TO NAPC. Let Amtrak do the driving!
We have arranged for a Convention Fare Discount from Amtrak for participants traveling to and from NAPC.
The 10% discount (15% for seniors) applies to people traveling between the dates of August 26 and September 3 (those are departure dates, and not arrival dates). We need a minimum of 20 people to sign on to the group trip to get the discount rate but this adds up all people coming from anywhere in the US. We hope to get more than that from the Pacific Northwest alone. Amtrak travel is less of a carbon footprint than flying or driving private cars. It also gives you a chance to travel and network with other permies.
Amtrak offers a 10% discount off the lowest available rail fare to Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN between the above dates. Includes travel up to three days prior to the convention start date and three days following the last day of the meeting. To book your reservation call Amtrak at 1 (800) 872-7245 or contact your local travel agent. Please refer to Convention Fare Code X33T-908 when making your reservation a 10% discount has been approved. (listed under the North American Permaculture Conference). Conventions cannot be booked via Internet. This offer is not valid on the Auto Train and Acela service. Offer valid with Sleepers, Business Class or First Class seats with payment of the full applicable accommodation charges. Fare is valid on Amtrak Regional all departures seven days a week, except for holiday blackouts.
You can change the departure date of your reservation right up to the last minute, although they do recommend at least 24-hour notice. If you make a change that falls outside the August 26-September 3 window, then your new reservation would not receive the discount and you’d pay the regular fare.
To check on ticket prices from your location visit: http://tickets.amtrak.com/itd/
Mention our Convention Fare Code X33T-908
The number to call to make a reservation is 1-800-872-7245.
Group travel to NAPC from the Pacific Northwest via Amtrak.
Amtrak’s eastbound train “The Empire Builder” leaves Portland, Oregon at 1:40 pm daily. It’s sister Empire Builder leaves Seattle, Washington at 1:30 pm daily. The two trains connect up in Spokane and leaves Spokane at 10:30 pm.
I am proposing that those people attending just the main NAPC conference leave Seattle and Portland on August 26th. Other permies can get on in Spokane later on the 26th. The combined Empire Builder train picks up passengers in Sandpoint, Idaho at 11:35 pm on August 26 and in Whitefish Montana at 4:46 am on August 27.
Of course the Empire Builder makes all of the usual Amtrak stops between its westernmost terminals of Seattle and Portland to Spokane and points east to Minneapolis. We expect the main contingents to get on in Portland and Seattle with additional people getting on board in Wenatchee, Spokane, Sandpoint, Idaho and Whitefish, Montana.
The train is scheduled to arrive in Minneapolis/St. Paul at 7:52 am on August 28th.
The east-bound Empire Builder is notoriously late getting into St. Paul due to tanker and coal traffic in eastern Montana and the Dakota’s. But at least we will all be late together.
The cost of regular fare from Seattle or Portland is $165 one-way or $330 round trip. People using our group rate get a 10% discount (15% if over 62 years old).
The west-bound empire builder leaves Minneapolis/St Paul station daily at 10:31 pm. (the group return trip date will be determined by group majority. I assume it will be on September 1, unless a significant number of people want to stay longer to attend post-NAPC events. Some of you may want to attend the pre- or post-NAPC activities and so travel earlier or later than the folks attending just the main NAPC.
One-way tickets to Minneapolis from a number of other hub cities.
Washington DC $214.
New York $246.
The Empire Builder westbound leaves Chicago Union Station at 2:15 pm daily and is scheduled to arrive at the St. Paul/Minneapolis station at 10:03 pm. A trip of 7 hours and 48 minutes.
Chicago is the main US Amtrak hub and all Amtrak trains going to Minneapolis (with the exception of the eastbound Empire Builder) pass through Chicago. Theoretically all permies taking the Amtrak to Minneapolis (from points other than the Pacific Northwest) could rendezvous in Chicago and take the same train.
We need to have a way for train travelers to find out who else is going from their bioregion and when to maximize travel networking opportunities. We can also post tips for train travelers to which anyone can add. Stay tuned to this section of the NAPC website for updates.
TIPS FOR AMTRAK TRAVEL
I have done two round-the-US Amtrak trips in the last several years. Regular coach seat.
- Amtrak is a great way to see the US. I was glued to the window for most of the trip when awake, although I did some reading and computer time. I had an article in the Permaculture Activist on one of the trips.
- Bring earplugs (and spares). I didn’t use the eye patches but that might be helpful to some.
- Food: Bring a carry-on satchel with travel food that you like. Train food is expensive. There is a dining car for those who wish. There is a snack foods bar in every train where you can get coffee, tea and hot water. Some trains charge you for hot water and some don’t. I bring my own tea bags and pay for the hot water if I have to. Some trains won’t let you eat your own food in the snack bar section, but others will. You can eat your own food in the observation car deck or at your assigned seat.
- A light pillow and a light blanket are handy especially in colder weather.
- At night when most people are sleeping it is sometimes possible to find an empty seat in another location to sleep in if you have a particularly noisy neighbor.
- I am okay with sleeping in my coach seat. I did notice that late at night, some passengers sleep lying down on the observation car seats. A few people stretch out on a pad on the observation car floor in front of seats.
- Politeness and good humor are always an asset.