Author Topic: First tour for Brits in US  (Read 1985 times)

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Offline a j stock

First tour for Brits in US
« on: October 19, 2012, 07:01:11 pm »
Hello all,

We've not been to the US before. Me and Mrs Stock are thinking about a cycle camping trip in in June 2013 lasting about a month. We're happy to link up different areas by using Amtrak if this adds to the experience.

As a couple in the late fifties we're used to 50 miles a day and have done Lands End - John O'Groats in the UK and Canterbury to Rome (1200 miles) this year. A section of the Pacific Coast looks good as does Yellowstone/Grand Teton. We also get the impression that just turning up at a campsite and asking for a pitch for the night and a shower is not always as straightforward as we're used to.

As complete beginners in the US some recommendations/advice would be really helpful.  Ta.

Offline jamawani

Re: First tour for Brits in US
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2012, 10:03:05 pm »
The United States is a primitive country - so come prepared.

June is iffy in the Northern Rockies.  I have lived in Wyoming for many years - including Jackson - and have skied on fresh snow in June more than once.  The unsettled weather usually ends around mid June.  Also, 50 miles per day can be too little in parts of the West between services.  Be prepared, on occasion to do more or to rough camp in remote areas without much.  Plus, Amtrak offers service with baggage handling to very few locations.

I might suggest starting by riding from San Francisto to L.A. - then catching Amtrak overnight to Santa Fe and riding thru the pueblo country of northern New Mexico and the Colorado Rockies - then flying out of Denver.

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: First tour for Brits in US
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2012, 01:42:17 am »
We also get the impression that just turning up at a campsite and asking for a pitch for the night and a shower is not always as straightforward as we're used to.

What do you mean by this? Are you referring to official campsites that you pay for? Government run or private?

I've done quite a bit of touring in the States and the basic protocol at most publicly-run campsites is show up and pay for a spot. Depending on where you are (say, the Oregon Coast), you may find sites specifically reserved for cyclotourists at a lower cost, known as "hiker/biker sites". Some campgrounds won't turn away touring cyclists even if the campground may be technically full. Then the park ranger/camp host will let you camp in an unofficial camping spot for the night. And some campgrounds don't have hiker/biker spots and will turn away cyclotourists. In my travels these tended to be privately run campgrounds (RV parks and the like) but I've heard of some state parks turning cyclists away too. It's best to do a little research on the campgrounds in advance, if you can. And you can always hope the park ranger/camp host will take pity on you.

Offline PeteJack

Re: First tour for Brits in US
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2012, 11:25:07 pm »
Quote
We also get the impression that just turning up at a campsite and asking for a pitch for the night and a shower is not always as straightforward as we're used to.


I've just got back from four months in the UK and found camping a major pain at least in the North of England. Over here if there is no obvious campsite in a small town go to the fire station and explain your predicament. A couple of times they've let us stay inside the station! Other times on a patch of grass next to it. Otherwise go to the town hall and ask (get there early enough) I've camped on the lawn in front of court houses before today. The aforementioned were of course free.
And there's almost always somewhere to get breakfast that opens at 6 am. Americans are notoriously early risers

Online John Nelson

Re: First tour for Brits in US
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2012, 12:46:46 pm »
I've shown up late at a lot of campgrounds, and have never been turned away. Even if the campground is full, they figure something out, especially if you make it clear that you don't need a numbered site. Prices range anywhere from free to $50. I would estimate that showers are available at more than half, lakes or rivers call fill in at quite a few more, a sink-bath at most others, and you'll only have to go to bed dirty at a few.

50 miles a day is enough in most places, but you should be flexible enough to put in up to 80 occasionally, especially in the west. On the other hand, campground fees are typically less in the west. The ACA maps are great for finding places to stay.

Offline a j stock

Re: First tour for Brits in US
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2012, 05:04:21 am »
Thanks for the feedback.

In reply to PeterJack: As a Northerner myself, I can understand your frustration if you were trying to find somewhere to camp in the Pennine area; particularly if you were close to the Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield sprawl. 

Offline johnsondasw

Re: First tour for Brits in US
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2012, 01:12:09 pm »
If you choose to do the Pacific Coast route, you will have no trouble finding campgrounds.  Also, they will be very cheap in Oregon and California in the biker sites, and always have showers for a low fee.  I know that in the past few years, some of them have been closed due to financial problems, but there are so many it should not be a major problem. Ore and Calif are best; Washington is not set up so well.
May the wind be at your back!

Offline Westinghouse

Re: First tour for Brits in US
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2012, 02:32:29 pm »
I would suggest the pacific coast. It's a great ride with terrific scenery. It's quite hilly. Pack light and gear down. There are state parks, hostels, and motels. It's about as close as you're going to get to "ideal for cycling" in the United States IMO.

Offline mcmoonter

Re: First tour for Brits in US
« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2012, 08:10:58 pm »
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/pacificcoastandcascadescircuit

Try the Pacific coast or even just a part of it. Check out my blog.

I camped all but my last night in the Cascades after bing caught in a blizzard. No chance of that on the coast. State parks have hiker biker sites, just show up. The Oregon ones all had showers and charged $5 a night, most of the ones in California had showers too, prices were similar. Some in Washington did have showers, sow didn't, they were generally $12 a night.

Check out the other blogs on Crazyguyonabike.com, there is a lot on information there.