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Amtrak – Getting from Keokuk to Ft Madison

First-timer here

So I’m planning to Amtrak from Chicago to Omaha for the start…the closest station for the return is in Fort Madison which is a 2.5 hour bike ride from Keokuk, except, I’m not planning to ride self contained. Any thoughts about how to get my junk from Keokuk to Fort Madison? Try to get a taxi there and back to drop my junk at the Amtrak station and then ride my bike back up? What’s the likelihood i can find a charter operator to make that run? Any other thoughts?

11 Replies

LawnchairMan, January 29, 2019 at 8:11 pm

It looks like there is one car rental company in Keokuk; Rairco. I would call them to see if you could rent one way to fort Madison. Another thing you could do is ask a local for help. Pay them for gas and their time. Iowans would probably do it free. Maybe contact Keokuk chamber of commerce for suggestions.


BillSpriggs, January 29, 2019 at 9:10 pm

I’ve taken Amtrak west from Burlington, I don’t think Amtrak goes through Fort Madison.


Herschel, January 31, 2019 at 8:17 pm

Yes, the Southwest Chief has a stop in Ft Madison. We will be travelling from Keokuk through Ft Madison on our way home after the ride. I am sure we could haul another rider and gear. The problem is it looks like the train leaves Ft Madison at 10:50 AM. so you might have a day layover.


Larry Klaaren, January 31, 2019 at 9:02 pm

There are a few bike clubs in Chicago that run a bus to the start point for less than an Amtrak ticket. I can drive 100 miles and still be in the Chicago suburbs so where you live makes a difference. Bike Illinois (or Bicycle Illinois) runs a bus from downtown that you could get to by Uber or Metra. Google Illinois RAGBRAI. You might email some bike clubs and see what their members do.


Eric olson, January 31, 2019 at 9:19 pm

I live on the Northside, so in Chicago I’ll take the brown line to Union station. Round trip with the bike is going to cost me $120 on Amtrak and I won’t have to sit on a bus on the Eisenhower which sounds like the 7th level of hell to me.

Also, maybe I’m a weirdo, but I think train travel is awesome and travel by charter bus is awful.

It sounds like worst case scenario I can try to hitch a ride with a fellow rider who is already headed my way to fort Madison.


Eric olson, January 31, 2019 at 9:32 pm

Actually…I think that gives me another option. If I can find someone headed back to Chicago that I could just send my gear with I’d happily ride to fort Madison without my bag and tent… That seems extremely doable.


Phil Stearney, February 1, 2019 at 5:07 pm

No promises yet, but I like the idea of Amtrak. My wife said she may be able to pick me up in Keokuk at the end of the ride. So tentatively, I may do Amtrak out to Omaha (your idea), Uber to Clinton / start location, tent/sleep that first night, ride seven days, and my wife would pick me up in Keokuk. With your bag and tent. This will be my second year. Last year was my virgin ride. What a blast. This year probably going solo (not a team) and just using the Ragbrai truck…no firm plans yet but if your interested let’s keep in touch. Phil


Herschel, February 1, 2019 at 8:29 pm

If you want to ride back to Ft Madison from Keokuk then look at the Illinois side of the river. Prettier ride and less traffic.


Eric olson, February 1, 2019 at 8:57 pm

You said Uber to Clinton…I thought the ride was starting in council bluffs? The last time it started in council bluffs it was *just* across the river from Ohmaha you could even walk your bike and gear accross the pedestrian bridge


Phil Stearney, February 2, 2019 at 7:14 am

Oops. I did mean council bluffs – sorry for the confusion. The Uber idea is only because I didnt know where we are camping on day zero (Saturday) in council bluffs – if we are right on the river that would be perfect.


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