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Messages - staehpj1

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The answer varies with the location.  In general I have been offered use of a bathroom, but if not I usually do not ask.  If in town there is usually a gas station, convenience store, or fast food restaurant with a bathroom nearby.

Not to get to graphic, but the various uses of the restroom are handled as follows:
  • Urination - If there is no obvious answer I just improvise.  Finding an unobtrusive spot is not usually a problem.  If you find it unacceptable to go on the ground where you are you could use a bottle and dispose of it later in a suitable location, but I have never felt the need to bother with that.
  • Defecation - I usually need to do this after I am on the road so it seldom a problem for me during  impromptu camping.  The majority of the time I find indoor facilities in the morning.
  • Washing up - If there is a shower or sink available I use them, but a quick wipe down with a damp cloth suffices when they are not.
  • Teeth - I can get by with a few ounces of water to rinse after brushing.

General Discussion / Re: Where to go when there's no place to go?
« on: March 01, 2014, 12:49:13 am »
Often, nobody will bother you if you pitch a small tent in a highway rest area. If there are no bugs out, you can even just roll out your sleeping bag on a picnic table, it's no different from anyone parking their car to sleep. I've also devised a way to set up my tent as a more inconspicuous bivy sack when there are lots of mosquitoes.

Inconspicuous is good.  Pitching a tent is way more likely to get you run off.  Your improvised pitch as a bivy sounds like a big improvement in that regard, but a bug bivy weighs something in the neighborhood of 7 ounces and it looks like you are just in a sleeping bag to the casual observer.  When staying in rest areas or roadside picnic areas I cowboy camp when that works, slip into the sleeping bag if it gets chilly, and slip into the bivy when it gets buggy.  I usually have a little tarp an pull it over me if the rain starts.  The whole shelter setup weighs under a pound.  I like it well enough that I seldom take the tent any more.

I have never been unable to find a place to camp and I have toured fairly extensively if only in the US.

To the OP.  It sounds like you want to stay in a camp ground for an overnight trip from home.  If there are none in range another option would be to drive or take a bus or train to a starting location.  This is likely to allow a wider range of attractive riding opportunities.

Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route
« on: February 27, 2014, 04:50:55 am »
Any thoughts to when this route becomes snow free? This year or average?

Hopefully Casey will reply.

My plan is to go mid June unless that looks way too soon at the time.  I think that may be a bit early most years.  I am retired and driving out from the east coast though so I can adjust my departure at the last minute, hang out for a week or even two trout fishing, or do some side trip to kill time.

I have had forest fire smoke to deal with for my bigger trips the last couple years and am getting gun shy about that, hence a desire to start early in the season.

General Discussion / Re: transam tour
« on: February 26, 2014, 03:13:59 am »
Thank you everyone for your input so camping it is and no motels.  And yes I will be going solo and yes I will be leaving astoria OR. And flying or train back from the East coast.

Sent from my SCH-I605 using Tapatalk

Have a great trip.

I think you will find that camping without using motels much is pretty easy on the TA.  A lot of the time you can get under a roof or get a shower without getting a room.  Town parks often had picnic pavilions and on the TA we tended to sleep under them when we could.  Also there were showers at a few of the town parks that had a pool.  Additionally a few churches put us up as did some hosts.

I seldom use them, but locating hosts via is another possibility.  My only problem with them is that many hosts want at least a couple days of notice and I take it day by day or hour by hour not deciding where to stop until I am there.

General Discussion / Re: transam tour
« on: February 25, 2014, 11:42:38 am »
You may be correct that he needs that much, but it definitely is not a slam dunk and is dependent on his choices.  Even on trips where I stayed in motels fairly regularly I have never averaged anything even remotely close to $100 a day.  On trips where I got frequent rooms and ate in diners a lot and generally felt like I was splurging quite a bit, I still have always averaged under $50 per day for food, drink, and lodging.

Also as I previously mentioned, it is especially easy to go cheaply on the TA where it is extremely easy to find free places to camp, where you are likely to be able to stay indoors for free fairly frequently.  The maps list quite a few places to stay in churches or with hosts and I have generally met folks who offered hospitality now and then.  Most of the way staying in town parks for free is not a problem.  It seemed to only be iffy within a few hundred miles of the coasts.

Well, the OP is traveling alone and planning on hotels a couple of days a week and that implies eating most meals out.

Not sure why you say that implies eating most meals out.  Breakfast is often free with a room.  Lunch and snacks on the road can just as easily be from a grocery regardless of where you stayed.  Dinner may be more likely to be at a restaurant the two days a week he is in a motel, but the other 5 days a week it is likely to be in camp.  In much of the middle of the country, rooms can be had for under $40 a night if you choose carefully.  I know that I would try to pick nights where the room was cheap to stay in motels.

General Discussion / Re: transam tour
« on: February 25, 2014, 09:46:48 am »
Just to clarify...  Yes I too have spent that much for a day here or there on one tour or another.  Spending that much as a daily average for a month or more in another thing entirely.

Routes / Re: Idaho Hot Springs Mountain Bike Route
« on: February 25, 2014, 09:31:33 am »
I just ordered mine. Now to start planning.

Mine are on the way too.  I can't wait.

General Discussion / Re: transam tour
« on: February 25, 2014, 07:25:40 am »
Allowing $100/day for everything (hotels, camping, food, etc.), based on your schedule, a 60 day trip will cost you $6000.

Do you actually ever spend that much per day on a multi-week or multi-month tour?

I guess I am a cheapskate, but I have a hard time imagining anyone spending close to that much on the Trans America unless they are credit card touring and even then I think I could go cheaper.  I could maybe see that budget in the east if staying in campgrounds and motels, but on the TA there was a ton of free places to stay, inexpensive food, generous hosts, and cheap motels.  That is one reason I don't tour in the east other than for a portion of a coast to coast tour.

On the other hand 60 days is a fairly tight schedule.  That is averaging about 70 mile days,  I'd allow a bit more time unless travelling fast and light with few or no rest days.  For me 60-ish mile days are about right for heavy touring or difficult terrain like maybe the Sierra Cascades.  For light touring on the TA I might do more like 70 mile days.  If pushing it and/or travelling really light 80 mile days may be the way to go.  Others may travel faster or slower, but as a moderately fit 62 year old, I think I am fairly typical in my daily mileage for any given type of ride.

General Discussion / Re: transam tour
« on: February 25, 2014, 04:48:26 am »
I think we averaged something under $5 per night, but we only paid for a room once out of the 73 nights.  We stayed for free the majority of the time.  We were invited to stay with hosts with some regularity.  I think I spent about $2000 including, food, campsites, beverages,  airfare, a new bike, racks, panniers, and a few gear items I didn't already own.  So eliminating gear, bike, and airfare I was well under $2000, and probably about $1500.  That was 2007 though.

So yes if you are fairly frugal don't drink a lot of alcohol, and generally have simple tastes, you can easily get by on $2K, but some folks easily spend twice that or more so I can't really say what YOU need.

Gear Talk / Re: Bob Yak Trailer? XCountry tour, thoughts?
« on: February 24, 2014, 03:32:54 am »
I'd sure like to see her gear list.  I have been backpacking for years and sure can't imagine a base weight that low.  Even for an Ultralighter.

That weight sounds very possible, even pretty normal to me.  I have gone with similar weights on a few trips without even going crazy with a lot of super expensive gear.  I posted some notes on some of my experiences with ever lighter packing at:

I have found that going light is liberating in more ways than just having a lighter load.  There is also the simplified lifestyle and the lack of extra stuff to dig through.It may not be for everyone, but for those who it suits it is a great way to go.

Gear Talk / Re: Retiring, getting into self contained touring
« on: February 22, 2014, 09:43:24 am »
Try a recumbent !!!!

The key word there is "try".  Don't buy one without trying first.  Some folks love them and some do not.  Riding one is very different from riding a diamond frame.  You may love it but do not assume that will be the case.  I tried one and was totally unimpressed, I'd ride one only if I could no longer ride a diamond frame.

Gear Talk / Re: Bear Resistant Canister
« on: February 21, 2014, 04:41:49 am »
One tip on knowing where bears are likely to be a problem...  Look at the trash receptacles and dumpsters, if there just regular trash cans with normal lids with no attempt at critter proofing you can usually assume that bears and racoons are not a big problem there.  If the dumpsters have unlatches lids you can usually assume the same.

Of course asking is a good idea too.

BTW, I think we stayed in places that had bear problems a good bit more often than John apparently did, maybe about twice as often.  Also at a camp in Toronto Lake SP in Kansas we were raided by racoons when we left our food un-hung.  We should have know better because there were metal poles for hanging stuff.  That all said I still do not recommend a bear canister for the TA.

Gear Talk / Re: Bear Resistant Canister
« on: February 20, 2014, 05:57:55 pm »
Bear canisters almost always fail cost/benefit, not just $, but utility.  You'll be in bear country as soon as you are in the Rockies, grizzly territory past the Great Basin.  Most campgrounds have food lockers, those that don't have trees you can suspend your food and toiletries in - for the 2-3 days at most this will be necessary.

I agree.  We didn't carry one on the Trans America and didn't miss it.  There were bear lockers most of the places where we felt like we needed one.  I only recall one night with bear problems, no place to hang our food, and no bear locker.  We improvised by putting our bear bag inside the shower room at the private campground where we stayed.  Bear canisters are pretty heavy so I avoid carrying mine unless it is really necessary.  Even when backpacking I only carry mine where required to do so by park regulations.

General Discussion / Re: "Protection" necessary?
« on: February 18, 2014, 05:03:58 pm »
However, if you are planning on riding in CA and OR, neither of those states are particularly gun friendly, and neither honor any other state's CCW permits.

Additionally, there may be other places where having a firearm could be problematic.  You may want to enter some federally owned building in a national park or a post office, or what ever where it is illegal.  Also there may be towns where it is illegal.  You may want to stay with hosts.  I would feel uncomfortable carrying a firearm into someone's home without knowing they were OK with it and it is not a subject that I would care to broach with a new acquaintance who invited me into their home.  Leaving a firearm out on my bike does not seem like a good idea to me.

Then there is the weight.  Guns, even small ones are kind of heavy and I worked long and hard to get my gear weight as low as possible trimming ounces everywhere I could.

No matter what option you choose, the best defense of your person is situational awareness and not being oblivious to what is around you.


General Discussion / Re: "Protection" necessary?
« on: February 18, 2014, 12:57:26 pm »
I own a variety of firearms, but have never carried one when touring.  I definitely do not consider it necessary.

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