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Help I Fear Cities

Shaftsbury, Vermont
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Help I Fear Cities

We are coming into Minneapolis by train this summer as part of a larger trip. The train will arive there at 10:30 pm and I have to get to the airport to rent the car [only place that will let drive the car back home].

First can someone tell if I'll be able to get a taxi to the airport at that time of night?

Second should I stay by the airport that night and drive out of the city in the morning, or should I go north of the city a little for a hotel that night [we are heading north, and I don't like city driving]?

If we stay at the airport how is the trafic on a wed morning going toward Duluth and points north?

Saint Paul...
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1. Re: Help I Fear Cities

I am assuming you be on Amtrak in St Paul then at 1030pm. Yes you can get a taxi from there to the airport. Its not that far. I live close to the Amtrak station. When i go to airpost I, I go right down Fairview Ave to Hwg 5 which goes right to airport vs some long about way on the freeway.

Then personally I would stay at the airport hotel for the night. After a long day, by the time you get your car and all, vs looking for another place out of the city at night.

then for the morning, if you go early or later than rush hour, that would help avoid some traffic getting out of the city to duluth. when you get out of the 694/494 ring, you'll be north, where more of the traffic would be coming in.

Hope that helps,

Minneapolis...
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2. Re: Help I Fear Cities

I'm curious as to why you are picking the rental car up the night you arrive? You will be paying to park it at your hotel. If I may make a suggestion, there is a Best Western motel very close (about a mile and a half) to the Amtrak station in Saint Paul. It gets decent reviews on Trip Advisor: tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g43501-d95680-R…

Here is my suggestion: upon your arrival at the train station, get a taxi and take a short ride to the Best Western. Check in and get a good night's sleep. When you get up in the morning, the motel (so their website claims, at least) has a free shuttle. Perhaps they would take you to the airport for no charge, other than a nice tip for the driver, or course. You could then pick up your rental car and be on your way. That way, you aren't paying basically a day's rental charge for a car that you aren't using.

How far north are you planning to travel on your morning trip? If you wait until around 9:00 a.m., the traffic should be fine. You will probably run into road construction at some point; we have two seasons in Minnesota - winter and under construction!

As you will be arriving on the train from Chicago, the 10:30 time should be pretty close to right on. If you went to the airport to pick up your car, it would be in the neighborhood of 11:30 by the time you finished that procedure. If you want to do that, I would definitely recommend staying at a hotel near the airport. There are plenty of them; simply do a google search for msp hotels or mall of america hotels and you'll have plenty of suggestions.

I think, however, staying at the Best Western Bandana Square (it's part of an old train repair shed, so you'd be maintaining the train theme) would be a good plan. Why pay for a rental car at 10:30 at night, when you won't use it until the next morning?

I hope this helps. If you provide a little more information (how many are in your party, where are you going the morning after you arrive, what day of the week you arrive, etc.), I might have some other suggestions for you.

Shaftsbury, Vermont
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3. Re: Help I Fear Cities

For a little more info. There are two us traveling, my son and myself [he's the one who wants to try out train travel. We are going to Ely,MN. We will be arriving by train on the 19th of June a Tuesday I think. After a couple days in Ely,MN the two of us are driving home, planning a slow trip with lots of stops on the way [and avoiding any cities we can {sorry I'm a VT girl, we're still amazed by black top :) }]

Getting the car in the morning sound like a good idea, I just thought if we had it already we could get a real good start in the morning. I'll look at that Best Western though, it might not be a bad idea. Probably shouldn't try to do to much after getting off the train since even though it will be 10:30 your time, it will be 11:30 my time when we get there.

Can anyone tell I'm already getting nervous about this part of the trip. What are the chances of getting a bus out of your area to the Duluth area? Doesn't matter though I don't think I could get a car from there that the rental place would let me drive back to Vermont.

Marshall, Minnesota
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4. Re: Help I Fear Cities

I would also suggest the BW Bandana Square as well. Its a nice hotel with a good staff. Although, you may want to contact them directly about a late shuttle pick-up. Also look for some place close that will give you free pick-up for the rental car. Enterprise comes to mind. Also in the morning you can make a note of all of the scratches and dents on the car. I would take I-35W north, because I-35E has a huge construction project on it. Also take I-35 (I-35E and W merge north of the cities) to Duluth. You have a very pretty view of Duluth coming in. 35 becomes HWY 61 and you can see the north shore, very pretty up there. From there take HWY 1 north to Ely.

~JS

Ely, Minnesota
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5. Re: Help I Fear Cities

Only take Highway 1 if you don't mind lots of curves and not being able to go very fast. You might even encounter a moose along the way on this highway. It's a pretty drive on this highway, but lots and lots of curves.

Ely, Minnesota
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6. Re: Help I Fear Cities

Only take Highway 1 if you don't mind lots of curves and not being able to go very fast. You might even encounter a moose along the way on this highway. It's a pretty drive on this highway, but lots and lots of curves.

Deerfield, Wisconsin
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7. Re: Help I Fear Cities

If you hate cities, Minneapolis/St. Paul will make your head spin. I hate the traffic in the Twin Cities. It's almost as frustrating as traffic in the Chicago area. Not only is the traffic bad, but there is always construction.

Here's my suggestion to help you with the traffic issue. Get yourself a hotel in or near White Bear Lake, which is in the northeast portion of the metro area. It may cost you a handful of bucks with the cab ride, but it will save you the headaches in the long run. Both Enterprise and Hertz have locations nearby. Enterprise will pick you up from your hotel, however. Once you have your car, hop on nearby I-35E and head north. It's smooth sailing from there because you'll miss out on most of the traffic.

What are your plans after Ely? Do you plan on heading through Canada back home, or do you plan on driving through the northern U.S.? If you stay in the U.S., try to follow the Lake Superior loop as long as possible. (Highway 61 in Minnesota, then Highway 13 in Wisconsin, finally Highway 2 in Wisconsin and the U.P. in Michigan.) It's beautiful scenery, and you'll mostly only hit small towns.

Minneapolis...
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8. Re: Help I Fear Cities

White Bear? Why?

I think the Best Western Bandana Square option is a fine one. Don't waste money on $40-$50 cabs EACH WAY. Stay at Best Western and rent through Enterprise, but make sure they indeed will bring the car to you.

I have a contact/friend at Enterprise here who I could connect you with. Not the airport one but if they bring the car to you, who cares?

Minneapolis...
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9. Re: Help I Fear Cities

I think I read that White Bear post wrong, but I still think you can save money and stay at Best Western Bandana Square or that vicinity, rather than taking a cab out to White Bear from the train depot.

St. Paul to WHite Bear by cab will be a pretty penny, somewhere in the vicinity of $30-$40.

(That other figure was imagining to/from White Bear and Airport.)

Deerfield, Wisconsin
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10. Re: Help I Fear Cities

My suggestion for White Bear Lake was based on the fact that the original poster dislikes driving in the city. If she stays in WBL, she would be close to an Enterprise Car Rental and avoid a lot of traffic.