Author Topic: Off-The-Road Campgrounds  (Read 4561 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline downtheroad

Off-The-Road Campgrounds
« on: March 15, 2006, 12:49:57 pm »
When I crossed the Canadian Rockies in 1984, I was rather concerned about bears, hence made all by campgrounds every day.  Some days were rather long with an average daily mileage of 68 miles.  I am thinking about a tour next year following the Transamerica trail from Missouri to Richmond, VA then following the Atlantic Trail from Richmond to Baltimore, MD.

I am interested to learn where seasoned cycle tourist make camp.  I believe along the Adventure Cycling routes, campgrounds and city parks (w/permission) are the norm.  I have sometimes been tempted to just pull off the road and make camp in a secluded area.  I do not know if this is such a good idea, hence am interested in opinions from seasoned cycle tourist.

Thanks :),

Baltimore, MD

Offline thomasmbeasley

Off-The-Road Campgrounds
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2006, 09:36:13 pm »
When I was touring across the Southern Tier two summers ago I pulled off the road and camped a couple times. The first night I  did this it was in California, second day in and it happened to be on the border. The border patrol sncuk around and then kept doing fly overs with their choppers. At first I thought I was going to get arrested or something. But then I just found it funny. I guess they finally saw that I was just a kid riding his bike and moved on. The only advice I have if you do decide to just pull off the road. Is move as far from the road as you can. Stay as low profile as well, lay your bike down or cover reflective surfaces same goes with your tent. Less attention you bring the better. And if possible get back into the tree line. That way it just cuts down on the possiblity of unsavory people messing with you. And I almost forgot, if you don't need a tent don't set it up. Sleep under the stars. You can always use your rain fly as a make shift bivy. And in my opinion just look at your suroundings and go with your gut instinct. On the issue of food storage if you really think you need to store it safely, string it from a tree or cover it with your bike. Set up some pans on top of the bike, so if an animal decides to tamper with the food, the pots will fall off make a lot of noise and scare both the animal and you.

I also used farm fields in Texas. The key is low or better yet no impact camping when on private property. Get up early and move on.

Offline Dan

Off-The-Road Campgrounds
« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2006, 12:22:55 am »
I find the east coast is harder to find remote free off the road places to make camp do to too many people.  On the great divide trip it was no problem as most everything was forrest service, BLM, or ranch land.  Northern tier from Washington through the U.P. of Michigan was also easy to find sites.  If in a town the smaller the better. Most have a park or ballfields where you can find a hose used for watering that you can use to rinse off the days sweat and grime before retiring for the night.  But in "stealth" camping always make sure to get far enough off the road to not be noticed.  Some of the best campsites/camping experiences have been sites like this. Some of mine include a H.S. football stadium in WA, behind a McDonalds in the woods in CT, 50 feet off of Hwy 2 in MT (behind a hill as to not be seen by passing cars), in the woods off the Hwy in MI.  Basically anyplace you can get off the road a bit and not be seen by anyone.

Offline Ike

Off-The-Road Campgrounds
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2006, 10:48:19 am »
I agree with "thomasmbeasley" and "Dan": Keep a low profile, use public lands when you can, and leave-no-trace.  My long distance tours included routes on and off of ACA routes, so there were many days when I had no idea where I would spend the night as my road maps weren't nearly as detailed enough.  I would often stop in small gas stations/general stores and ask a clerk or someone inside if they knew of a good place to put up my tent for the night.  I always stressed that I didn't need a campground.  (Buy a candy bar or something to drink.  The employees will be much more willing to talk.)  Sometimes, they didn't know, but I was often given directions to some great, and not so out-of-the-way, places to sleep.  Or, they told me about a small, inexpensive campground not on the map, but very close by.  Finding that impromtu/stealth campsite made the trips much more enjoyable and adventuresome.

I also make sure that my tent isn't brightly colored and easily blends in with vegetation.  There are lots of places to stay if you look and take precautions to keep yourself safe.