Author Topic: Riding coast to coast  (Read 7547 times)

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Offline staehpj1

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2019, 07:24:05 am »
On the Trans America you will find that especially in the middle of the country the trail has been blazed a bit for you.  Town parks, picnic areas, church yards, and firehouse lots have been scoped out in many cases and are listed on the maps.

After using the maps a while you get a feel for what will and what won't fly.  I found that I could find places to camp in town and not be hassled on my own pretty well in other towns not on Adventure Cycling routes especially in the middle of the country.  I found that the people were open, kind, and generous if I was the same.  This despite the fact that they usually didn't approve of my politics or my spandex neither of which was usually mentioned.

I personally most often camped in town in the great plains in tiny towns.  I'd generally buy some of the stuff I needed any way at the general store and not actually as permission, but say something like "I am biking coast to coast, do you think anyone would bother me if I slept in the picnic area over there tonight?"  I find that leading with the biking coast to coast thing helps a lot.  Being open, friendly, and making eye contact (always take off sunglasses) is important.

Sometimes I do ask at the general store if there is a place I can camp for free.  I might ask other folks that I meet the wait staff at a diner, whoever might have seen others camp or know of a place.  The local police station is another, but I don't to often stay in towns big enough to have one, libraries are another place I have asked if they knew of anywhere.  Librarians can be a font of info and will often call around all over the place looking for someone who has a spot for you to pitch a tent.

I will just add the I was really impressed at the kindness and generosity of the folks I met in the great plains, eastern Colorado, Kansas, and western Missouri.  They were amazing.  My first coast to coast trip kind of restored my faith in humanity.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2019, 08:48:29 am »
The TransAm map set costs nearly 45% of the OP's savings.

All things considered, this is not a good idea IMO. But don't let that stop you.  8)

Offline staehpj1

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2019, 09:03:16 am »
The TransAm map set costs nearly 45% of the OP's savings.

All things considered, this is not a good idea IMO. But don't let that stop you.  8)
That is why I suggested he run a classified ad here in the classified section asking about used maps.  Someone might even donate a set or at least sell a set cheap.  I considered giving him mine, but I really don't want to give it up for sentimental reasons, and mine is pretty old any way.

Anyone have a set they don't want/need any more?  Might earn you some good karma if you believe in that kind of thing :)

Offline toadmeister

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2019, 09:03:25 am »
On the Trans America you will find that especially in the middle of the country the trail has been blazed a bit for you.  Town parks, picnic areas, church yards, and firehouse lots have been scoped out in many cases and are listed on the maps.

After using the maps a while you get a feel for what will and what won't fly.  I found that I could find places to camp in town and not be hassled on my own pretty well in other towns not on Adventure Cycling routes especially in the middle of the country.  I found that the people were open, kind, and generous if I was the same.  This despite the fact that they usually didn't approve of my politics or my spandex neither of which was usually mentioned.

I personally most often camped in town in the great plains in tiny towns.  I'd generally buy some of the stuff I needed any way at the general store and not actually as permission, but say something like "I am biking coast to coast, do you think anyone would bother me if I slept in the picnic area over there tonight?"  I find that leading with the biking coast to coast thing helps a lot.  Being open, friendly, and making eye contact (always take off sunglasses) is important.

Sometimes I do ask at the general store if there is a place I can camp for free.  I might ask other folks that I meet the wait staff at a diner, whoever might have seen others camp or know of a place.  The local police station is another, but I don't to often stay in towns big enough to have one, libraries are another place I have asked if they knew of anywhere.  Librarians can be a font of info and will often call around all over the place looking for someone who has a spot for you to pitch a tent.

I will just add the I was really impressed at the kindness and generosity of the folks I met in the great plains, eastern Colorado, Kansas, and western Missouri.  They were amazing.  My first coast to coast trip kind of restored my faith in humanity.
Great post!

Although I haven't done Trans-America, I agree the generosity of strangers met on my bike rides in the Midwest will restore ones faith in humanity.

Sent from my Pixel 3 using Tapatalk


Offline staehpj1

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2019, 09:20:30 am »
FWIW, if you are willing and funded well enough to buy a cup of coffee, a soft drink, or sometimes optionally a diner meal (breakfast can be pretty cheap in small town diners) once in a while. I have never had any place ever begrudge me hanging around a while with my stuff plugged in and charging.  Depending on the situation I might of might not ask first, but have never had a problem.

In small town picnic areas I have also found electrical outlets and never had a problem using them.

There has always been some small item I wanted or needed so I never imposed on a business without buying something, but I don't recall ever being denied a power charge or a water bottle refill usually complete with ice.  Again, mentioning that you are riding coast to coast and started somewhere a long ways away helps.

Offline vt91

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #20 on: August 20, 2019, 09:49:33 am »
This is the problem: I am not well-funded.

I get food stamps and disability pension.
Food stamps do not cover eating out and amount to $6 per day. I can survive on raisins, oats and agave syrup. I have done that before.
Back home I have to pay rent that amounts to how much I get in disability pension.

For this reason I cannot afford to go out or to buy coffee at an establishment.

A generator can solve this problem for me because I found one that costs like ten cups of coffee at Starbucks.
Also it eliminates the need for me to buy an expensive power bank or too many extra batteries for my Galaxy 5 phone.

I also know that most municipal "poor people services" buy Grayhound tickets to people who are misplaced if they can prove where they came from.
(every town tries to drive out homeless people to another town)
This is how I plan to get home if my bike breaks down or my health goes too bad.

Don't forget that I live with chronic pain and spasms. However the amount of exercise does not effect the level of pain directly. (in most cases)
« Last Edit: August 20, 2019, 09:58:59 am by vt91 »

Offline vt91

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #21 on: August 20, 2019, 09:59:52 am »
On the Trans America you will find that especially in the middle of the country the trail has been blazed a bit for you.  Town parks, picnic areas, church yards, and firehouse lots have been scoped out in many cases and are listed on the maps.

After using the maps a while you get a feel for what will and what won't fly.  I found that I could find places to camp in town and not be hassled on my own pretty well in other towns not on Adventure Cycling routes especially in the middle of the country.  I found that the people were open, kind, and generous if I was the same.  This despite the fact that they usually didn't approve of my politics or my spandex neither of which was usually mentioned.

I personally most often camped in town in the great plains in tiny towns.  I'd generally buy some of the stuff I needed any way at the general store and not actually as permission, but say something like "I am biking coast to coast, do you think anyone would bother me if I slept in the picnic area over there tonight?"  I find that leading with the biking coast to coast thing helps a lot.  Being open, friendly, and making eye contact (always take off sunglasses) is important.

Sometimes I do ask at the general store if there is a place I can camp for free.  I might ask other folks that I meet the wait staff at a diner, whoever might have seen others camp or know of a place.  The local police station is another, but I don't to often stay in towns big enough to have one, libraries are another place I have asked if they knew of anywhere.  Librarians can be a font of info and will often call around all over the place looking for someone who has a spot for you to pitch a tent.

I will just add the I was really impressed at the kindness and generosity of the folks I met in the great plains, eastern Colorado, Kansas, and western Missouri.  They were amazing.  My first coast to coast trip kind of restored my faith in humanity.

Thank you. I may go from library to library. They close at 5 usually.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #22 on: August 20, 2019, 10:23:57 am »
This is the problem. I am not well-funded.
I get food stamps and disability pension.
Food stamps do not cover eating out and amount to $6 per day. I can survive on raisins, oats and agave syrup. I have done that before.
Back home I have to pay rent that is pretty much how much I get in disability pension.
I get that.  On the other hand you may be surprised at how cheap diners can sometimes be.  I advise checking them out and maybe splurging once in a while if possible.  The places the local folks frequent (farmers, truck drivers, small town people, not the Starbucks type folks), it is a great chance to rub elbows with the local folks.  Meeting the local folks is something that a bike tour should be about.

BTW, in a lot of small towns there is a big communal table where the locals kind of congregate.  I often ask if they mind if I join them.    It can often be fun.

Quote
For this reason I cannot afford to go out or to buy coffee at an establishment.

A generator can solve this problem for me because I found one that costs like ten cups of coffee at Starbucks.
Okay I get that.

Well yeah, Starbucks...  You wouldn't catch me there either.  I have had steak and eggs with hash browns and toast coffee in a little small town diner for less than the typical Starbucks coffee.  My rule of thumb is that if you have to know some fancy "lingo" to order a cup of coffee it is best to avoid the place.

I have been amazed at how widely diner food varies in price.  In Kansas that steak and eggs breakfast I mentioned was about $3 (a special) in 2009.  I don't think I could have eaten cheaper from a grocery store any cheaper and it was really good.  They kept bringing me coffee as long as I'd drink it, kept asking me if I needed anything else.  Two years later on the Pacific coast in a very touristy area I paid over $20 for a skimpy breakfast, two eggs and skimpy little sausage links, dry toast, coffee refills were extra.  Had to beg for water, butter, jelly, cream for the coffee and so on. To make matters worse it wasn't even good.  Should have walked out.  I almost did when I saw the prices, but figured at least the food and service would be good.  Sadly it wasn't

Offline John Nettles

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #23 on: August 20, 2019, 10:25:51 am »
Since you seem to have a smart phone, you could download the route to your phone. 

The official route data ($60) you would get the info.  However, you might be able to download the data from a free source (not recommended).

While a hub generator will help, a decent power bank will cost about $100 and give you a lot of back up power (charge your laptop 3-4 times).  While I have a hub generator for AA batteries, a week of riding (assuming average of 60 miles a day) to fully charge a laptop I would guess.  Plus do not forget most electronics will need a cache battery (I use my 10k mAh power bank but you certainly could use a smaller one) and its associated converter or they will not charge.  Most smartphones require a steady charge to charge and a hub generator is not steady, thus the need for a cache battery.

For you, I would highly suggest you purchase a power bank (2 smaller ones having the same total capacity may be cheaper than one larger one) instead of a hub generator.  Generators are primarily for when you are way off the beaten trail and know you will not have access to an outlet.  Remember, it usually takes me a full day's ride to charge 2-4 AA batteries.

As a side note, you probably have literally 100 years of touring experience just among the responders.  You should strongly consider all we have to say.


Offline staehpj1

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2019, 10:46:40 am »
John, you seem to be assuming he has a laptop.  I was thinking just a smartphone.  A laptop would greatly complicate his power issues.

Personally I'd think a power wallet would get him by if he uses the power carefully, not having the phone on most of the time or at least putting it in airplane mode, not making voice calls, etc.  Then charging when the opportunity presents itself.  If he goes with a generator, keeping up with a phone would be way more possible than trying to keep up with a laptop.

My favorite way used to be to have extra phone batteries.  I bought cheap ones, not from the phone vendor.  I bought third party chargers as well.  The batteries and chargers were both small, light, and cheap.  The problem is most phones these days don't have swappable batteries.

I have no experience with hub generators so my comment on them are not of much use.

Offline John Nettles

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2019, 10:53:02 am »
VT can clarify but since he is trying to produce YouTube videos for income, yes, I am assuming he is doing some editing.  Then again, I am over 50 and have no interest in YouTube production so I could be totally wrong.

Otherwise, I agree with you.

Offline vt91

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2019, 11:07:11 am »
There is a good reason to hold on to phones that allow you to swap batteries.

I no longer have anything that uses AA batteries except for two speech recorders that I am not taking on this trip.

My only hope to get out of living in poverty with pain, on welfare with no prospects is....
content.

There is some engineering involved in this project mainly - how would I charge batteries, how would I send away content.
The generator output will be (maybe rectified if AC) wired to super-capacitors that would power a DC to DC converter/ stabilizer that will output USB friendly 5 volts (a small circuit board from Aliexpress)

This is why I am undertaking this risky adventure.
I have a tablet with a keyboard. That I can probably use in the libraries.

I will not disclose who I am and what the name of my channel is here.
All I am going to say is that I live in the state of Maryland.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #27 on: August 20, 2019, 12:10:48 pm »
All I am going to say is that I live in the state of Maryland.
Assuming Maryland and low budget means East to West I guess.  That is too bad.  The snow flies early in the Rockies (in not all that long).  Starting in the east is usually best for a spring start.

I did know a guy who started on the east coast (NY) real late and rode south and then across the southern tier.  You really are out in the boonies a lot on the ST though.   I enjoyed the collection of misfits I met there.  They all seemed to be from somewhere else.  The country was mostly empty space, like endless brown sagebrush.

Offline vt91

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #28 on: August 20, 2019, 12:35:55 pm »
If I can find alternative ways to download maps (wink, wink) I will attach to the tiers.
So far I wasn't able to find them there.

Otherwise I will just go using google maps data because I already spent most of my money on supplies.
I know about the snow. I need to buy good winter hiking boots.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Riding coast to coast
« Reply #29 on: August 20, 2019, 04:23:13 pm »
I know about the snow. I need to buy good winter hiking boots.
I am pretty skeptical about riding a northern route very late in the season.  Many of the passes close all winter with serious snowpack, some until June or later sometimes.  I do not know of anyone doing northern coast to coast routes once the snow really sets in in the Rockies.  Not sure of what possible bike suitable routes there may be that remain open through the winter, if any, but they probably wouldn't typically be any of the normal touring routes.

I don't know how soon you plan to start riding or what kind of daily mileage you plan to make, but it is already getting to be very late in the season for a northern W-E trip so with much delay or a slow pace I don't see you making it.  10-12 weeks is pretty normal time to complete the TA that gets you into November.  There could be 10' of snow in the Rockies by then.

I don't think we are just talking the danger of being inconvenienced by a little snow, you'd have that on the ST.  We are talking about conditions that will almost certainly stop your travel and may well threaten your life.