Author Topic: Electrical outlets at campgrounds on the TransAm  (Read 2553 times)

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Offline popRider

Electrical outlets at campgrounds on the TransAm
« on: April 03, 2019, 09:33:30 pm »
Hi everyone,

I'll be riding the TransAm this summer with an e-bike and two batteries. I've been planning on recharging at camp grounds under the assumption that in most cases I'll have access to an electrical outlet. Maybe its not a safe assumption to make about campgrounds.

So how common is it for campgrounds on the TransAm to have electrical outlets available for use? Will I be able to charge overnight?

Thanks

Offline John Nettles

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Re: Electrical outlets at campgrounds on the TransAm
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2019, 09:44:15 pm »
It depends on what you mean by "campgrounds".  By that I mean, commercial campgrounds will almost assuredly have electrical outlets.  However, many campgrounds are in fact just city parks in smaller towns.  There is a strong possibility (50+%) of no outlets there or not too accessible, i.e. in the rafters of the pavilion.
I would plan on topping off when possible, i.e. when taking a break at a convenience store, eating in a restaurant, etc., taking a break at a church or park you pass mid-day that does have outlets, etc.
I tour occasionally with a buddy who has an electric-assist trike.  He brings a long (12'??) extension cord and a multi-plug outlet adapter so he can get to out of the way outlets and charge his cell phone, etc. at the same time.

Tailwinds, John



Offline popRider

Re: Electrical outlets at campgrounds on the TransAm
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2019, 10:58:23 am »
Thanks John!

Offline John Nelson

Re: Electrical outlets at campgrounds on the TransAm
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2019, 01:51:43 pm »
Most campground outlets, if there is one at all, seem to be in the restroom. At any rate, they are not often at your campsite. And some of them have signs prohibiting recharging things there.

Offline BobG

Re: Electrical outlets at campgrounds on the TransAm
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2019, 02:53:09 pm »
I sure wouldn't count on it. I've led the ACA TransAm tour now four times so I'm quite familiar with the route. I'm now restricted to local riding on an ebike due to a physical disability. I also will carry a second battery occasionally for extended range and I might be lucky to get 60 miles total on an UNLOADED bike in hilly terrain. I don't even think you'd find a motel every 60 miles on the TransAm.

Keep in mind that a second battery means a second charger unless you want to get up at midnight to plug in battery #2. . If you're lucky enough to find one available outlet at a city park in Kansas you'll be competing with every other cyclist who wants to charge a phone.
« Last Edit: April 04, 2019, 07:46:14 pm by BobG »

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Electrical outlets at campgrounds on the TransAm
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2019, 06:42:36 am »
A need for electricity is going to limit your options. Scratch off most (if not all) U.S.F.S. campgrounds.  Private/commercial campground with hookups will be your best bet,but expect to pay more. It is possible that a commercial campground will have power sources other than those at campsites. As noted, some have outlets in the bathrooms. I usually us those to top off the phone and/or Kindle while showering. (Even some state and national parks have outlets in bathrooms.) Don't know how much juice eBikes requires, but if it's more than something like a phone I would ask the owner if it's ok to charge before tapping into a source such as one at a maintenance shed.

One additional source: Highway rest stops. I took advantage of two in MT a couple of years ago. Also, the Bike Camp in Twin Bridges, MT (on the TA route) has power for cyclists.

Offline TCS

Re: Electrical outlets at campgrounds on the TransAm
« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2019, 10:23:21 am »
Don't know how much juice eBikes requires, but if it's more than something like a phone...

Well, it depends on the phone and the bike, but as a rough estimate, the OP's two ebike batteries will hold something like 1000X the electrons of your cell phone.

We don't know details of the OP's ebike+batteries+charger(s).  As a practical matter, though, forget about getting any kind of meaningful recharge while one uses the facilities and buys a candy bar at a convenience store.  With one high capacity (heavier, bulkier) charger per battery, it might be possible to accomplish a '50% fast charge' during a leisurely French-style lunch, you know, provided one can find a roadside bistro in central Wyoming.

The actual monetary value of the electrons required for recharge is minimal.  Despite this, I suggested on another forum that ebike tourists seeking recharge offer to drop a little coin.  Other posters vigorously disagreed, with a general consensus that society owed ebike riders the electricity.  Shrug.  Follow your conscience, mindful of those that come after you.

If worse comes to worst, I assume the bike has pedals and can be operated without e-assist.
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Electrical outlets at campgrounds on the TransAm
« Reply #7 on: April 06, 2019, 08:38:35 am »

The actual monetary value of the electrons required for recharge is minimal.  Despite this, I suggested on another forum that ebike tourists seeking recharge offer to drop a little coin.
I think that is the polite thing to do unless you have paid for a campsite with an electrical hookup. At least ask if it's ok first.

Offline fastrog

Re: Electrical outlets at campgrounds on the TransAm
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2019, 01:58:15 am »
unfortunately, a campsite with power is also going to cost you a lot more. often, if you pay for power you will also get water and a camper/sewer hookup. and you may be in among the winnebgoes. might end up pretty close to the cost of a cheap motel.

Offline TCS

Re: Electrical outlets at campgrounds on the TransAm
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2019, 09:24:26 am »
I'm sure our OP has researched this, but for others (including some blithe authors of Adventure Cycling articles), be aware e-bike law is a bit of a state-by-state hodge-podge in the USA.  In the TransAmerica trail states, e-bikes are generally okay.  In Missouri, one needs an 'operator's license' to ride an e-bike (a common driver's license will suffice).  In Kansas, if you ride faster than 20mph, your e-bike legally transforms into a motorcycle.

Yeah, there's an industry group working on unifying e-bike laws.
"My name is Pither.  I am at present on a cycling tour of the North Cornwall area taking in Bude and..."