Author Topic: City park camping policy on TransAm route?  (Read 690 times)

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Offline neilbrew

City park camping policy on TransAm route?
« on: January 16, 2024, 06:11:25 pm »
I understand that free city park camping is plentiful along the TransAm route, which is great! What is the general policy for one-night stay riders in most communities? I've heard it mentioned that some riders called the local police department in advance on the day of their arrival to notify them; others apparently do not. Or do you just show up and it's assumed that you're a TA rider and not a transient vagrant?

Also, I've wondered how it works when riders stay at fire stations or on city hall lawns. Is this a general open-door policy because of the route or a case-by-case basis prearranged with biker-friendly, kind-hearted souls?

Offline John Nettles

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Re: City park camping policy on TransAm route?
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2024, 06:31:29 pm »
The ACA maps indicate which towns have known camping areas.  Some may be a city (paid) campground while others may just be a spot in the local park with no services. 

I personally always ask for permission so I am not ask to move in the middle of the night (happens occasionally if you do not ask permission).  In order, I ask the 1) fire department, 2) library, 3) police, then 4) city office.  I have found the fire department tend to be the most helpful and occasionally you can get a free shower from them if the city park does not have a shower or a city pool (which has at least a cold shower). If this does not work out, I ask at a local church but in small towns, the pastor may not be in the church during non-Sundays.  Wherever you stay, always leave the site better than you got it so cyclists do not get a bad reputation so then others are not allowed to camp. Also, if possible, buy something at the town's cafe, convenience store, etc. if the camp area was free.

Since the TransAm is so old, I would think most permitted places are indicated on the ACA maps but I could be mistaken about this.  If not, they should be! 

Don't forget about WarmShowers.  If you do not know about this group, it is a reciprocal hosting group (like Couch Surfing) but ONLY for touring cyclists.  If you sign up, you are supposed to at least consider if you can host if someone contacts you.  Unfortunately, a LOT of people sign up to receive but then blow it off once their tour is done.  Be sure to read the reviews of the host and be sure to give appropriate honest feedback if you use it.  And be sure to return the favor and host others passing through your town when you get back.

Tailwinds, John

Offline John Nelson

Re: City park camping policy on TransAm route?
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2024, 07:54:26 pm »
As John said, the ACA maps are the best source of current information. The TransAm is an old route and most information is well established. On less-traveled routes, it may be ambiguous in some places. What do you do when it’s not clear? Depends on who you are. Maybe you’re the cautious type and only go where specifically invited. Or maybe you are bolder and assume it’s okay until told otherwise. Or maybe you’re in between and you ask. You get to decide.

Note that as much as we might like there to be, there is no “general policy.” Almost everything is case-by-case, and it will depend on who you ask and what day you ask.

Offline ray b

Re: City park camping policy on TransAm route?
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2024, 09:56:59 pm »
Love the city parks, ever since I slept on the sheltered picnic tables in Blue Mound, WI at age 16 while touring with some friends - 25 cents each in 1972. 

For the small towns, if there is any question at all, especially if I seem to be the only camper, I usually check in with local law enforcement in person or by phone. They seem to appreciate it, and it usually answers their questions and mine - questions that might otherwise come up at 2AM when it's harder to distiguish between touring cyclists and vagrants.
« Last Edit: January 18, 2024, 11:16:39 pm by ray b »
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