Author Topic: Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?  (Read 6341 times)

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Offline Gif4445

Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?
« on: May 31, 2014, 03:06:39 pm »
 I need Advice from those that know.  Looking long and hard at riding the Sierra Cascades ACA route in September.  My preference is to  "credit card camp".  How doable is this?  I probably won't have time to ride the entire route so where are the problem areas?  I don't have the maps and know that they will tell the tale.  Just don't want to make the purchase unless there is a chance to CCC.   I am a medium to strong rider and can do the century days.  Thanks in Advance!

Offline zzzz

Re: Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2014, 05:05:35 pm »
We may be seeing each other out there. I have my plane tickets already for a flight into Seattle on 8/29 & home from LA on 9/30 and plan on doing most or all of the SC route as a credit card tour during those 32 days.

I already bought the maps and I can tell you it's possible to do the entire trip staying in motels every night. I can also tell you that after previously doing two long  tours, one at 3000 miles in 30 days and 1 at 1800 miles in 19 days as 100% CC tours, when I reviewed the maps I decided to do things a little differently this time.

Here's why I came to the conclusion I wanted to have a back up to a pure CC tour. There are 3 long sections on the # 2 map that are w/o services, 1 @ 93 miles, 1 @ 90 miles, & 1 @ 73 miles. If you hit each of these sections first thing in the morning and that's your entire day, no problem. But this really tends to screw up your previous day as you go short or long to accommodate the next day. And there are shorter spaces that present the same problem. Do you want to do a 65 mile day (kinda short) or a 115 mile day (kinda long) in order to get to a hotel? In the end I decided this time I was taking camping gear.

I did some research and bought the lightest tent, bag, and pad I could find. The total weight for these 3 items is under 3 lbs. & cost was about $1000. I think for about 1/2 that much money you can be under 4 lbs , & for about 1/2 that much again you can be under 5 lbs. I will still not be taking any cooking gear and expect to only be sleeping at camp sites 3-5 nights total.

Do yourself a favor, buy the maps, much will become clear when you are looking at them. If you decide not to do the trip you can sell them on the classified forum so you'll only be out a few bucks.

Pete

Offline adventurepdx

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Re: Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?
« Reply #2 on: June 01, 2014, 01:16:13 pm »
OP, I take it when you say "Credit Card Camping", you mean staying indoors at hotels and the like, not actually camping. (Though I would love to see someone tour by actually taking a credit card camping tour and set up tents inside motel rooms each night.  ;) )

I looked over a couple sections of the Sierra Cascade Route, namely sections 1 and 2, from Sumas WA to Crater Lake. Yeah, it looks like you can do it for that length, but there will be those long stretches sans service like zzzz mentioned. And you'd probably have to book space far in advance, as the lodging options are either small, or in a touristy area, or both. So you would be "locked" into a schedule. Still, it would be safe to have a camping setup as back-up, just like zzzz plans to do.

I've done parts of the northern part of the Sierra Cascades, and it is definitely a beautiful route, but challenging.

Offline Gif4445

Re: Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2014, 02:59:52 pm »
We may be seeing each other out there. I have my plane tickets already for a flight into Seattle on 8/29 & home from LA on 9/30 and plan on doing most or all of the SC route as a credit card tour during those 32 days.

I already bought the maps and I can tell you it's possible to do the entire trip staying in motels every night. I can also tell you that after previously doing two long  tours, one at 3000 miles in 30 days and 1 at 1800 miles in 19 days as 100% CC tours, when I reviewed the maps I decided to do things a little differently this time.

Here's why I came to the conclusion I wanted to have a back up to a pure CC tour. There are 3 long sections on the # 2 map that are w/o services, 1 @ 93 miles, 1 @ 90 miles, & 1 @ 73 miles. If you hit each of these sections first thing in the morning and that's your entire day, no problem. But this really tends to screw up your previous day as you go short or long to accommodate the next day. And there are shorter spaces that present the same problem. Do you want to do a 65 mile day (kinda short) or a 115 mile day (kinda long) in order to get to a hotel? In the end I decided this time I was taking camping gear.

I did some research and bought the lightest tent, bag, and pad I could find. The total weight for these 3 items is under 3 lbs. & cost was about $1000. I think for about 1/2 that much money you can be under 4 lbs , & for about 1/2 that much again you can be under 5 lbs. I will still not be taking any cooking gear and expect to only be sleeping at camp sites 3-5 nights total.

Do yourself a favor, buy the maps, much will become clear when you are looking at them. If you decide not to do the trip you can sell them on the classified forum so you'll only be out a few bucks.

Pete

You make some good points ZZz.  I considered taking the camping gear 2 years ago (Black hills/Sandhills )   Weight of extra rack/panniers, tent, pad and sleeping bag added 14 lbs. to the load.  It was kind of an easy choice and I opted to leave the extra home.  If I could get that extra weight down to even close to where you did, I think it would be a viable option.   Can you give some specifics on the gear you purchased?

Offline Gif4445

Re: Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2014, 03:11:12 pm »
OP, I take it when you say "Credit Card Camping", you mean staying indoors at hotels and the like, not actually camping. (Though I would love to see someone tour by actually taking a credit card camping tour and set up tents inside motel rooms each night.  ;) )

I looked over a couple sections of the Sierra Cascade Route, namely sections 1 and 2, from Sumas WA to Crater Lake. Yeah, it looks like you can do it for that length, but there will be those long stretches sans service like zzzz mentioned. And you'd probably have to book space far in advance, as the lodging options are either small, or in a touristy area, or both. So you would be "locked" into a schedule. Still, it would be safe to have a camping setup as back-up, just like zzzz plans to do.

I've done parts of the northern part of the Sierra Cascades, and it is definitely a beautiful route, but challenging.

Yes Adv pdx.  It is my favorite type of camping!  Although I'm slowly warming up.  Did most of last years BRAN ride stays in a tent.  Course this was a supported tour, so much easier.    Baby steps I guess.   You make a very good point on not being locked into a schedule.  A bummer sometimes, good motivation othertimes.  Most people have some sort of timetable, but I hate to miss "smelling the roses".  I need to re-check my "free" transportation to the west coast. (Nephew with some business meetings in the NW)  If that is still available, I will probably secure the maps and start the planning in earnest!

Offline zzzz

Re: Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2014, 08:57:17 pm »
I'll be happy to share w/ you what I bought but I want to reiterate that THIS IS NOT A VALUE PACKAGE. I went full "weight weenie" when I bought this stuff. Basically I found a web site that reviewed outdoor gear in a apparently objective way (http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/camping-and-hiking) and I bought the lightest stuff they gave a excellent review to and that met my needs regardless of cost.

Tent - ZPacks Solo+ : Here's the review of the 2 man tent. The Solo+ has the same footprint but a couple less pieces (http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Ultralight-Tent-Reviews/ZPacks-Hexamid-Twin-Tent). With stuff sack and Ti stakes and cuban fibre ground cloth it weighs 16 oz even/ $500±. I will tell you that there is a company called Tarptents that makes a number of very nice tents that range from 1 1/2 to 2 lbs and cost from $225-300. The guy who runs Tarptents is a very helpful and personable fellow. And if you care about these sorts of things both of the companies manufacture their stuff in the US.

Sleeping Bag- Katabatic Gear Palisade : (http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Ultralight-Sleeping-Bag-Reviews/Katabatic-Gear-Palisade) It's a 30° quilt type bag which I thought would be better than a regular bag considering the likely variation in night time temps between Washington and SoCal. It weighs 18 oz / $420. They have a "Best Value" marking on another bag at $260. Once again this item is made in the US.

Sleeping Pad- Therm-o-rest Neo-Air XLite : (http://www.outdoorgearlab.com/Sleeping-Pad-Reviews) This may have been a mistake not to get the XTherm model which looks a little wider than the Xlite. I'm a pretty narrow guy and the Xlite is pretty narrow for me. $130±/ 12oz.

In addition to being very light all 3 of these items pack up into a very small space.I am not adding a additional rack / panniers on front to carry this stuff. It's getting put into a dry sack and is going onto the top of my rack in back.

There's a guy who posts here quite regularly named Pete Staehling who wrote an article for Crazy Guy on a Bike on lightweight touring. It's excellant, here's the link: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/?doc_id=9738. He's down to 15 lbs w/o spending all this money. I couldn't get there.

Pete

Offline Gif4445

Re: Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2014, 01:16:57 pm »
Man, that is some light weight cargo!  I appreciate you going "all in".  I could see myself making compromises with each component, and have the final pack weight be more than I want.   Up till now, I have chosen to go "all out", aka credit card camping.  Granted, a $1000 is a chunk of change.  OTOH, each time the gear is used, it is a possible $$ benefit of 5-10% of the  purchase price.  Have you used or at least set-up the gear yet? 

Offline zzzz

Re: Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2014, 01:52:46 pm »
I have everything and I've set everything up, it all works and weighs as described. You are giving something up along w/ the weight, most significantly, the tent is single wall, so if it's raining.... don't touch those sides.

It sounds like we're coming from the same place. I'd rather stay in a hotel. Even w/ this gear I'll still be primarily staying in hotels. So it's mostly dead weight to me and I want it to be as little dead weight as possible. But if it bails me out 3-5 nights on this coming trip, and on the next trip, and on the one after that, I can amoritize  the cost down to where it doesn't seem insane.

Pete

indyfabz

  • Guest
Re: Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2014, 10:56:56 am »
OP, I take it when you say "Credit Card Camping", you mean staying indoors at hotels and the like, not actually camping. (Though I would love to see someone tour by actually taking a credit card camping tour and set up tents inside motel rooms each night.  ;) )

Or one could actually camp at private campgrounds pay for each night with a credit card.

Offline zzzz

Re: Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2014, 11:52:12 am »
When I started doing this I thought the motels listed on the maps were vetted in some way, like ACA's version of the AAA stamp of approval. Apparently not. Sometimes the motels have been very nice, sometimes they've been pretty rough, and sometimes the bad one's were in towns  where a nice (unlisted) place was right next door.

There has been at least a couple of occasions I could have "credit card camped" in a tent and sleeping bag pitched in the hotel room and slept much more easily than sleeping in their bed.

pm
« Last Edit: June 04, 2014, 11:54:08 am by zzzz »

Offline John Nelson

Re: Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2014, 12:27:19 pm »
I have suggested to ACA in the past that they provide some way for their members to rate the campgrounds, motels and restaurants along the route, especially the ones listed on their maps. In addition to the rating, I'd like to see people give the price they paid. I might be interested in a $45 motel, but not a $145 motel, or a $15 campground, but not a $50 campground (yes, $50 campgrounds exist--and they're not necessarily that special either). Especially on a bicycle, if you find yourself at that $145 motel or that $50 campground, it's often too late for Plan B, so we more than anybody need to know what to expect ahead of time.

Offline zzzz

Re: Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2014, 02:04:17 pm »
John:

I made that same suggestion on this forum last fall. I got 3± very positive replies and then nothing but crickets. It's certainly possible that nobody else had any interest in it as an idea but I thought I may have made a mistake by not setting it up as a poll. I still really like the idea so I decided to try it again, this time as a poll.

pm


Offline PeteJack

Re: Credit card camping on the Sierra Cascades route?
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2014, 11:16:58 pm »
I did the S-C a couple of years ago. Tremendous fun. See http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/petejack02 I took an REI Quarter Dome tent that I ended up using quite a bit because there's some longish gaps between motels in Oregon and California. At Crater Lake there was no room to be had period. Don't book in advance because then you are riding to a schedule which is misery. I took a stove and pans that I used hardly at all because I hate cooking. Even if a motel is full they may have a patch of grass you can camp on if you look forlorn enough. Avoid Forest Service campgrounds they never have showers, private ones are more expensive but usually have showers and some even have a laundramat and a restaurant e.g. one near Old Station CA. Best of luck.