Author Topic: Cost of a cross country USA trip?  (Read 21059 times)

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Offline Ty0604

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #30 on: December 22, 2015, 11:24:18 am »
Slight change of subject on this thread but i am actually interested in the wheres and hows for camping on the TA route. I am going east to west next summer and wondered how easy it is to find somewhere to camp ie booking ahead for sites or looking for somewhere free. I am coming from England where in some parts it is frowned upon to simply pitch your tent on a village green or city park. Is it easy to just get to the end of your day's cycling and look around for somewhere free or not, or do you need to do a bit of planning ahead. It seems that if you plan too much then you are committing yourself to cycling a certain number of miles each day to get to that site. Some days you may end up wanting to do less and some days more. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I guess i should also know about proper wild camping options as we don't have bears and other big furry creatures in the UK.

thanks

chris

Maybe I've been lucky but I've never reserved a spot on a tour. I've done Seattle-San Diego twice, Seattle-Green Bay and Cincinnati-Seattle. Even when I've ran into full campgrounds the host have always let me stay wherever I could fit my bivy/hammock. Most of them aren't going to tell a touring cyclist he/she has to ride another 30 miles to sleep. Well maybe some but if that's the case you're better off not staying there. Email the towns on your route and ask about camping there in the park. I did and got several "yes" replies back. Worth the effort.
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Offline Ty0604

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #31 on: December 22, 2015, 11:26:56 am »
Also, since my initial post, my trip is about 120 days long with 90 stops. I've successfully found places to stay at all 90 of them for either free or less than $10/night.
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Offline jamawani

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #32 on: December 22, 2015, 11:35:48 am »
I've ridden x-USA a half dozen times and toured 100,000 miles - so I have some experience.
On my first trip in 1987, I budgeted $20 per day for 70 days, plus $100 for a total of $1500.
There's been, at least, 100% inflation since then - esp. in campsite fees and small portion grocery items.
Not to mention that you learn how to save with experience.

The biggest avoidable cost is alcohol - a couple of microbrews will set you back $10 to $12 -
And if that gets to be a daily habit, then your budget will quickly be trashed.
The biggest controllable cost will be camping/lodging.
If you follow an ACA route, esp. the TransAm, there will be more low-budget options.

Unfortunately, most state parks and national forest campsites run $15 to $20.
Private campsite can run $30 to $40 - killer if you are solo.
Oregon, Wash., & Calif have hiker/biker campsite as do western national parks.
These run $5 to $8 per person - still not cheap.

You can camp for free on all federal USFS and BLM lands in the West -
Provided you know where they are and follow fire/sanitation regulations.
Also, tiny Great Plains towns will often let you camp for free in their town parks.
The bigger the town is, the less likely. But Nebraska and South Dakota are quite good.

Of course, there are host websites like Warmshowers and Couchsurfing -
Then there is also the options of contacting churches in small towns.
Catholic churches usually have the rectory where the priest lives right next door.
In small towns, Protestant ministers usually live close by.
Choose a church that has a nice grassy area in back and some privacy.
Quite often, they will let you cook and clean up in the rec hall.

There will be times - after 3 days of rain - where you will just have to get a motel.
In fact, if you are wet and exhausted, it really makes sense to do so.
The risk of a serious accident goes up geometrically when you are totally wiped out.
It is money well spent.

There are other options out there.
But I'd say $20 per day is frugal, $30 is moderate - esp. in the East.
Happy trails!  - J

Offline jamawani

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #33 on: December 22, 2015, 11:37:35 am »
Ummmm - 90 stops?
Don't overplan - it never turns out the way you plan it.
A rigid schedule can become a straight-jacket.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #34 on: December 22, 2015, 11:49:21 am »
Ummmm - 90 stops?
Don't overplan - it never turns out the way you plan it.
A rigid schedule can become a straight-jacket.
Yeah, I find that it works out best to just wing it and be flexible.  A rigid schedule would suck much of the joy out of the trip for me.

I do look ahead a few days in the west just because the wide spacing of towns might affect where I choose to stop today, so I can make a particular town tomorrow.  Otherwise you may unnecessarily wind up having to do a lot longer or shorter day than you want.  Big climbs may factor in as well.  In the heat I try to hit them in the AM when possible and may choose stops based on that.  I definitely never plan my stops more that three days ahead.

That said, the majority of the time I don't know for sure where I will be stopping until I am there.  With that approach we still managed to spend on average less than $5 per day for camping/lodging on the TA.
« Last Edit: December 22, 2015, 12:07:06 pm by staehpj1 »

Offline Ty0604

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #35 on: December 22, 2015, 12:04:27 pm »
There's no need to get a hotel even in the worst of the worst weather but to each their own. We rode through the storm that destroyed Joplin, Missouri in 2011 and just hunkered down for an extra day. It's all your personal opinion though!

Yes, 90 stops. I'm riding over 5,000 miles. These stops aren't, in anyway, set in stone. It's a tentative itinerary. The only set places I'm staying is with relatives and friends along my route.


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Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #36 on: December 22, 2015, 01:56:21 pm »
There will be times - after 3 days of rain - where you will just have to get a motel.
In fact, if you are wet and exhausted, it really makes sense to do so.
The risk of a serious accident goes up geometrically when you are totally wiped out.
It is money well spent.

There's no need to get a hotel even in the worst of the worst weather but to each their own. We rode through the storm that destroyed Joplin, Missouri in 2011 and just hunkered down for an extra day.

Darn tootin'!  The pioneers that crossed the U.S.A. in prairie schooners didn't have a Motel 6 they could stop at!  Sure, some of them died of exposure, or were crushed by rockslides or falling trees.  And they didn't have to control a loaded bike careening down a steep incline at 40 mph while their shivering translated into bicycles shimmying, and have to deal with trucks in the mix.  But those pioneers who didn't die lived to tell the tale!

Pardon my doubting, but did you ride through the particular thunderstorm that hit Joplin, or were you just camped when the front came through?  A tornado is a funny thing; it'll lay down trees over houses, blow away one room from a house, and a block away from where people are killed, there's hardly any branches blown down.  People have been killed by tornados and even strong winds in campgrounds and parks.

As I've gotten older, and especially on tours, I've become more cautious.  I hit the brakes earlier to keep my speed down when I'm on a loaded bike, and especially when I'm miles from an ambulance, let alone a hospital.  I like strong walls (especially reinforced concrete!) when the winds kick up.  But as you correctly note:
Quote
It's all your personal opinion though!


Offline Ty0604

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #37 on: December 22, 2015, 02:02:15 pm »
We were 20 miles from the touchdown of the tornado. Brutal rain, wind and marble sized hail. So yes, it was the same thunderstorm which caused the tornado. They evacuated the park but wasn't mandatory.


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Offline staehpj1

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #38 on: December 22, 2015, 04:37:29 pm »
There's no need to get a hotel even in the worst of the worst weather but to each their own.
Need? Maybe not, but a tour is a vacation not a test of how much you can suffer through.  So it isn't unreasonable to get a room now and then. I have weathered some pretty bad weather camping, but also have gotten a room when I felt like it.  Nothing wrong with either way.

Offline Ty0604

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #39 on: December 22, 2015, 05:43:44 pm »
Didn't say there was anything wrong with it. Just wouldn't ever get one myself. This is my first solo tour. The other four involved a mix of my 3 sisters, the youngest being 12 at the time and oldest being 17 (twins). Pretty confident if I survived four trips with them without getting a room I can do so by myself :)


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Offline jamawani

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #40 on: December 22, 2015, 07:46:01 pm »
"Males ages 20 to 29 are the group most often being rescued in the national parks, according to park service data."
http://www.sltrib.com/blogs/hiking/2434802-155/rangers-are-rescuing-average-visitors-

A close friend worked many years at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon.
I hiked down often and talked with her friend, the NPS ranger about rescues.
She confirmed the above data in spades. Just FYI.

Offline RussSeaton

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #41 on: December 22, 2015, 08:30:42 pm »
"Males ages 20 to 29 are the group most often being rescued in the national parks, according to park service data."
talked with her friend, the NPS ranger about rescues.
She confirmed the above data in spades. Just FYI.

Yes.  Nothing mysterious or unknown about that statement.  That group is the most carefree, reckless, unencumbered, risky.  And add to that the fact they have not lived or experienced enough of life to appreciate or recognize the dangers involved.  Its also pretty cheap and easy to get to national parks so poor young kids can do adventures there.  In contrast I would guess its mostly 40s and 50s who get in trouble at Mt. Everest because it takes a whole lot of money to climb Everest.  Older folks have more money than younger folks.

Offline Ty0604

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #42 on: December 23, 2015, 05:11:56 am »
It's funny you mention Everest. Lived in Nepal for 6 months a few years ago not far from base camp. Mission with my church. We were offered the chance to climb for free with Sherpas etc by the Nepal Government due to our work. No one took the offer but we did do some local hiking around the area. Considering summits cost upwards of $40K I wish I'd taken that chance.


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Offline RussSeaton

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #43 on: December 23, 2015, 04:02:25 pm »
Considering summits cost upwards of $40K I wish I'd taken that chance.

I don't think you should regret passing up the opportunity to climb Everest.  Yes it would be a memory that would last forever.  You could legitimately compare yourself with a straight face to Sir Edmund Hillary or Tenzing Norgay.  But the real risk of death is too great for Himalayan climbing.  I don't know the official death rate of climbers in the Himalayas but I would guess it is 2-3% or so.  Maybe more.  Imagine if riding your bike was that dangerous.  I ride 100+ rides each year of various lengths.  I would die twice every year if bike riding was as dangerous as Himalayan mountain climbing.  I would not ride a bike.

Now seeing Everest and the Himalayas and safely hiking around the area, I would do that with glee.  That would give me plenty of memories.  Let others get the climbing Everest memory.

Offline Ty0604

Re: Cost of a cross country USA trip?
« Reply #44 on: December 23, 2015, 04:45:45 pm »
They vary widely. Everest death ratio is 1.5%. It's dropped from about 5.5% in the 1990s. Annapurna is 38% so the deadliest of all time. Kanchenjunga is 22% but statistically the deadliest mountain since 1990.


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