Author Topic: Camping on the TramsAm  (Read 1082 times)

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Offline fleaw

Camping on the TramsAm
« on: April 08, 2013, 04:50:51 pm »
Hi;
7 of us are planning on doing the TransAm next year. We are planning on taking a van with us, with each person driving every 7th day. Will Cyclist-Only Camp Spots allow us with the van? Also, how much problem would it be to take 2 well-behaved dogs with us in the van? Thanks in advance for any advice.

Online John Nelson

Re: Camping on the TramsAm
« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2013, 06:50:13 pm »
Regarding the van: some yes, some no. The dogs might limit you further.

Most churches, fire departments and town parks probably won't care if you have a van, and probably will be okay with the dogs, although they likely won't let you bring them inside.

Private homes and Warm Showers hosts will be on a case-by-case basis. Be considerate and make sure you call ahead, tell them about the van and dogs, and give them an easy chance to say no. Some of these people may feel that a van-supported group doesn't need their support as much as others, and many are not equipped to handle your dogs.

Hiker/biker sites in Yellowstone and Grand Teton are not available to those with a vehicle. An individual site will be cheaper for you anyway than seven times the per-person rate, although you face the possibility of a full campground. Send the van ahead early to reserve a spot.

I would guess that 90% of the cyclist-only camping spots will still be available to your van-supported group. You might miss out on a few more because of the dogs. You can send the van ahead to check things out. With seven of you, motels will become a pretty inexpensive alternative.
« Last Edit: April 08, 2013, 06:52:59 pm by John Nelson »

Online staehpj1

Re: Camping on the TramsAm
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2013, 04:04:15 am »
Hi;
7 of us are planning on doing the TransAm next year. We are planning on taking a van with us, with each person driving every 7th day. Will Cyclist-Only Camp Spots allow us with the van? Also, how much problem would it be to take 2 well-behaved dogs with us in the van? Thanks in advance for any advice.
What John said is about right.

We had a friend who had a pickup camper and a dog along on the TA and they stayed in town parks a lot.  Hiker biker sites in parks they were not allowed.

Something to consider...
Not saying what you should do, but having a sag vehicle in the mix changes the experience in some very fundamental ways.  If you are sure you are OK with that, fine, but it would spoil the experience for me in many ways.

Online DaveB

Re: Camping on the TramsAm
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2013, 07:44:07 am »
[Not saying what you should do, but having a sag vehicle in the mix changes the experience in some very fundamental ways.  If you are sure you are OK with that, fine, but it would spoil the experience for me in many ways.
I agree.  The van and the dogs would remove all spontaneity and your ability to explore at a whim.  You will be locked into a pretty much fixed route and a predetermined destination each day.   I think the dogs are going to be more of an impediment than you imagine.  What you consider "well behaved" may not meet everyone's definition. 

Online John Nelson

Re: Camping on the TramsAm
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2013, 08:25:15 am »
For me also, the trip would be diminished by the van. But plenty of van-supported cyclists have a great time. To each his own.

A van can save a lot on up-front equipment costs. You don't really have to worry about stretches with lack of food or water. You're not constrained to eating what's available along the route, since the van can go off-route to pick up food. You can quit for the day in the middle of nowhere since the van can shuttle you to where you will stay for the night. The van can stay behind and pack up, allowing the cyclists to get out earlier. It can travel ahead and make all the arrangements for food and lodging. It can shorten the trip by allowing the cyclists to ride much farther in a day. It can detect problems on the route and scout out detours. It frees you up from worrying about most mechanical and physiological breakdowns. It provides emergency shelter during storms. The van driver can take care of daily chores such as laundry and shopping.

A van solves many problems, perhaps too many. It can turn an epic adventure into a series of day rides, not that there's anything wrong with that.

Online DaveB

Re: Camping on the TramsAm
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2013, 09:00:21 am »
For me also, the trip would be diminished by the van. But plenty of van-supported cyclists have a great time. To each his own.

A van can save a lot on up-front equipment costs. You don't really have to worry about stretches with lack of food or water. You're not constrained to eating what's available along the route, since the van can go off-route to pick up food. You can quit for the day in the middle of nowhere since the van can shuttle you to where you will stay for the night. The van can stay behind and pack up, allowing the cyclists to get out earlier. It can travel ahead and make all the arrangements for food and lodging. It can shorten the trip by allowing the cyclists to ride much farther in a day. It can detect problems on the route and scout out detours. It frees you up from worrying about most mechanical and physiological breakdowns. It provides emergency shelter during storms. The van driver can take care of daily chores such as laundry and shopping.

A van solves many problems, perhaps too many. It can turn an epic adventure into a series of day rides, not that there's anything wrong with that.
What you are describing is an organized tour like AC and other commercial touring companies run.  Why bother with your own van.  Use somebody else's.

Online John Nelson

Re: Camping on the TramsAm
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2013, 09:13:25 am »
Why bother with your own van.  Use somebody else's.
ACA tours are great, but not exactly cheap. My guess is that taking your own van will reduce costs. It also gives you more control over your schedule. But your own van does come at the cost of not riding every seventh day, so you don't actually get the satisfaction of riding across the country, if that's important to you. An ACA tour open some doors (such as camping opportunities not available to the general public) but it closes others (such as places that cannot accommodate groups of that size, and the thrill of riding through Yellowstone).

Online DaveB

Re: Camping on the TramsAm
« Reply #7 on: April 09, 2013, 02:04:11 pm »
ACA tours are great, but not exactly cheap. My guess is that taking your own van will reduce costs.
Taking your own van isn't cheap either.  Vans aren't famous for their wonderful gas mileage and gas for about 4000 miles and maybe twice that if you drive to your starting point and then have the van follow you on the ride will be a significant expense..  Also wear and tear on the van must be considered as an expense.   

Offline fleaw

Re: Camping on the TramsAm
« Reply #8 on: April 09, 2013, 03:05:49 pm »
Hey, Thanks to everyone for the great responses.  This is what I was hoping to hear, that we may have a few problems here and there, but in general we should be OK. We actually looked at all of the pros and cons of the van, and we're all good with it. It's still going to be a great adventure, and we don't care that we can't say we biked the entire country. Also, we'll have our own small group rather than a large organized group, so we'll still be able to customize the trip as we want.
We're comfortable with the costs, and like the idea that we will control costs by our own decisions. Thanks for the great info, it makes us even more confident that we can pull this off. We are all certainly looking forward to it.