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General Discussion / Re: Success rate finding a tent camping spot
« Last post by John Nelson on Today at 05:20:27 pm »
For churches and fire stations listed on the ACA maps, my experience is excellent. They almost always let me sleep inside.

For other churches that I have just approached when I got there, my experience is mixed. In many cases, there won't be anybody there; I call the number on the sign out front; if nobody answers, I leave a message; the call usually isn't returned, or isn't returned soon enough to do me any good. If you happen to find somebody at the church (e.g., the pastor, the cleaning lady, etc.), your chances of success are much better. More often than not, they let me stay. Anybody but the pastor usually has to check with the pastor first. I did spend an hour at one church, they called the pastor and the pastor came to the church just to tell me no; that was odd. In many other cases, the pastor has said yes. I usually end up sleeping on a couch in the bible-study room or day-care area, or on the gym floor.

I have just camped without permission when I couldn't find anybody to talk to. It has almost always worked out fine. I've slept on the porch of a NFS office, and they invited me in for coffee when they arrived in the morning. I've pitched my tent behind a police station and they didn't bother me, even after they noticed me there in the morning. I slept in the park across the street from a police station, and they brought me food and firewood when they saw me over there. I've slept in many city parks and left a note on the bathroom door asking them not to lock it for that night, which they have always honored.

There's always a few uncomfortable moments when you do something like this, because you don't know how they're going to react.
General Discussion / Re: Success rate finding a tent camping spot
« Last post by Westinghouse on Today at 04:42:27 pm »
I have never used them. I have no intention of ever doing so. In general, in some areas, police, firemen and other municipal workers engage in questionable, unconstitutional, illegal activities. They are not your friends. They are not my friends. I would not camp with or by or near them. Suit yourself. Many cyclists have used them for camping. Everything went well from what I read.
General Discussion / Re: Success rate finding a tent camping spot
« Last post by brhoward on Today at 04:31:27 pm »
Would be great if I could get this 3-wheeled monstrocity of a trike (pulling a burley) off the road far enough to not be seen.  I've spent a night or four at Churches and also some volunteer, unmanned firestations before. Problem is finding the contact person on short notice.
Routes / Re: Missouri touring in May?
« Last post by Twitch on Today at 04:06:39 pm »
I live in the St Louis area and have ridden the Katy Trail in May. I thought it was a great time. Weather is good, not too hot.  I haven’t done any other stretches in Missouri other than continuing off the Katy heading east into Illinois which is also a nice trip.
General Discussion / Re: Success rate finding a tent camping spot
« Last post by Westinghouse on Today at 03:52:18 pm »
I usually free-camped in wooded areas. I would not have thought to do it that way.
General Discussion / Re: It Ain't The Prettiest, But . . .
« Last post by cwskas on Today at 02:45:24 pm »
Thank you all so very much.  I find the planning of a route to be difficult and this is all very helpful.

Helpful, encouraging & inspiring.  As for now I am mostly dreaming of and planning my first extended trip.  And it is so much fun to read the posts.

Enjoy your ride with your son!

Thanks from another newbie.

South / Re: Is Flooding an Issue
« Last post by brhoward on Today at 02:18:19 pm »
Check with the LBS in the area. Usually, they know the routes and where the clubs ride and what's affected. 
General Discussion / Success rate finding a tent camping spot
« Last post by brhoward on Today at 02:09:30 pm »
What's the experiences of finding an ok church, fire station, police station that will allow a tent for an overnight stay? My thinking and limited experience has been that with a day or even a few hours notice, it's usually ok. Or you can get a local referral even.
Gear Talk / Re: Gear in two panniers?
« Last post by dkoloko on Today at 11:15:53 am »
I went from four panniers to two. No handlebar bag either setup. Nothing on rear rack. Small seat pack for tools with two panniers. Tools in a pouch inside pannier with four panniers. Both setups cook and camp.
Gear Talk / Re: Gear in two panniers?
« Last post by staehpj1 on Today at 06:22:54 am »
I won't list my stuff here because I have a number of different lists and my current list is pretty extreme on the ultralight side, but will say that in many cases it isn't so much about what items you carry, but more how you pack them and specifically which ones you choose. 

I was often asked when backpacking in the Sierras, "What do you have in that little backpack?".  If I chatted with the person asking the answer was pretty much always "Everything you have in that huge backpack, but with the item choices and packing more optimized for space and weight".

It can be pretty much the same with bike touring.  If you just list the items carried someone's 60 pound load or someone's overflowing 4 panniers can look just like someone else's 20 pound load or two panniers.  I have gone with two smallish front panniers, a handlebar bag, and a sleeping bag and tent on the rear rack with 22 pounds of gear.  I rode across the Southern Tier with two stuff sacks on top of the rear rack and a handlebar bag, gear weight was 14 pounds (camping and cooking).
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