Author Topic: Southern Tier Nov 2010 Info appreciated  (Read 5713 times)

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Offline AZBikr

Southern Tier Nov 2010 Info appreciated
« on: October 06, 2010, 09:42:59 pm »
I'm planning a Southern Tier (or something like it anyway) solo ride starting from Jacksonville on October 31st. I'm planning on camping almost 100% but doing very little cooking. I have been trying to plan my daily rides to coincide with places to camp, but have discovered it is almost futile to try to do that. What I'm finding in my internet searches is that the most expensive RV parks seem to totally dominate the web searches and the smaller privately owned and publicly owned places are almost impossible to find. There does not seem to be any good way to find just simple tent camping facilities. If you've ridden this route or have a source for good information of this type, I would be deeply appreciative to get it. I have found some good places on the National Forest Services pages, but know that there have got to be a lot more options out there. I have seen some references to small towns allowing camping in city parks and such and would like to hear from anybody that has had success with that. I've also had the thought that small municipal airports would be a good place to ask to pitch a tent for the night. Has anybody ever had any experience with that? Any and all ideas would be appreciated.

Please reply here or e-mail to


John D.

Offline John Nelson

Re: Southern Tier Nov 2010 Info appreciated
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2010, 12:10:14 am »
Have you looked at the ACA maps? This is one of the main reasons they exist.

Offline AZBikr

Re: Southern Tier Nov 2010 Info appreciated
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2010, 08:45:17 am »
I do have the ACA maps and am studying them carefully. They are a big help for the specific route they cover. However, I am going to be going "off-route" in several places for various reasons and had hoped to benefit from the experience of others as to what they do when the options are limited. I've got to be able to find places to stay that are not KOA Campgrounds (Usually $30 a night and up for a tent site) or B&B's (which are nice but usually expensive). This trip is being done on a fairly limited budget and I need to conserve as much as possible. What I'm after are ideas on how to find the more limited services types of places or free use spots when nothing is showing up on an internet search or a road map. I saw a movie recently where one of the lines was "A plan is a series of events that are not going to happen" and I am certain that a "planned" cross-country tour is going to fit that description. I'm trying to arm myself with enough knowlege to be able to overcome any sudden changes in my "plan" regardless the reason. I have some ideas as to where I would ask for assistance or where to look on the internet, but there have got to be many I haven't thought of, and I'm hoping to get some new ideas here.

Thanks for your reply.


Offline John Nelson

Re: Southern Tier Nov 2010 Info appreciated
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2010, 12:04:41 pm »
Ask at churches if you can sleep overnight, either inside or in a tent on their property.
Ask the same at fire stations.
Ask the local police if you can pitch a tent in their city park or fairgrounds.
Ask at local Eagles, Elks, etc. clubs.
Ask locals if they know of some place that you can pitch without disturbing anyone.
Find an empty field, or better yet, woods.

Most of the good spots to camp are not advertised, so you'll never find them on the web.

Offline AZBikr

Re: Southern Tier Nov 2010 Info appreciated
« Reply #4 on: October 08, 2010, 07:00:01 am »

There are a couple on that list that hadn't occurred to me yet. Thanks for your help.

John D

Offline tonythomson

Re: Southern Tier Nov 2010 Info appreciated
« Reply #5 on: October 08, 2010, 08:11:50 am »
Hi I didn't find too many camping sites on the ST and John has listed your best options.  In fact I often elected to go into small motels as often the same price as KOA.
Good luck
Just starting to record my trips

Offline JHamelman

Re: Southern Tier Nov 2010 Info appreciated
« Reply #6 on: October 08, 2010, 09:18:51 am »
Where you are going off route, you might also want to check and for hosts.

In west Texas, another place to look for routing and accommodation is (see blog post for more backstory on that one.


Jennifer Hamelman

Adventure Cycling Association
Inspiring and empowering people to travel by bicycle.
800/755-2453, 406/721-1776 x205

Follow Routes & Mapping on Twitter: @acaroutes

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Southern Tier Nov 2010 Info appreciated
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2010, 05:45:15 am »
Seek and you shall find. There is always some place to lay it down for the night in privacy, minus the comfort of a shower perhaps, but good for restful sleep. Highway 90 in N. FL is great, however, look farther south and see another main road going east and west. Look at the gulf coast and see 98. It is flat but somewhat longer than 90 and the other highway. 90 is more interesting but not necessarily. 90 has more opportunities for free camping than 98, and 90 people are used to cyclists more than elsewhere. 90 deteriorates at the border of Alabama at Pace. A campground might let you take a shower for a few dollars. A $15.00, 10 by 12 foot, poly tarp is more versatile than any nylon tent. I have used a tarp on many thousands of miles of camping-touring with good results. Fire up some mosquito coils and that problem is solved. There are those little battery-operated repellents too. I have heard of designer repellents, e.g. one drop does it, but I have yet to see any. A light-weight length of rope and some aluminum tent pegs will let you string your tarp between trees. Aluminum ten-poles will let you set up without trees. Attach four-foot lengthis of poly-line to all grommets on the tarp, and you are good to go. Have you ever been in the middle of nowhere with a drving rain and tried to set up a nylon tent? It happens. With a tarp just throw it over yourself while setting up. You will stay dry. Try that with a nylon tent.

Offline AZBikr

Re: Southern Tier Nov 2010 Info appreciated
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2010, 08:24:57 pm »
Sorry, I haven't been able to get back here for a few days. Very busy with preparations for the trip and getting everything else ready to close up here in Pennsylvania. Tore the bike apart today and will box it up tomorrow to ship to Jacksonville. Will be starting the trip in a little more than two weeks. Thanks, Jennifer for the info on West Texas. Checked out their site and sent them an e-mail, but haven't heard back yet. I'm a little skeptical of doing the 8000 ft pass in New Mexico possibly as late as mid-
December. I believe I could legally ride I-10 over to US-70 but am not sure that has a lot of appeal either. Looking at the map, the only other option west of El Paso is New Mexico State Route 9 which runs pretty much in sight of the Mexican border and through some pretty desolate country. Has anybody had any experience with that route or know who I could contact for more information on that area?

I had looked into Warm Showers and Couch Surfing but both seem to like you to reciprocate services to other people and I would not be able to do that.

Thank you, Westinghouse, for your input. I'm going to have to stay with 90 until somewhere just east of DeFuniak Springs and then head north into Enterprise, AL. I promised my Mother I would come off-route to spend a couple of days with her as we did not get to spend any time with her this summer. I will work my way south and west from there and into Pensacola as I have relatives there also. From there it will be mostly the ST route until El Paso, and then I will have some decisions to make.

Thanks again, everybody, for the ideas. I'll take all the help I can get.

John D.     

Offline Jason

Re: Southern Tier Nov 2010 Info appreciated
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2010, 08:47:03 am »
I would second westinghouse's posting - especially on the southern tier.  The aca maps provide more than enough options, many of them are privately owned rv parks where you'll be more than fine.  Florida is good, and it really only gets better as you move west. 

It's a bike tour so be willing to stretch a little outside your comfort zone and you
ll be good
singlespeed touring - life generally requires just one speed.
Southern Tier, TransAm, tons of places in between.

Offline GCharles

Re: Southern Tier Nov 2010 Info appreciated
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2010, 12:32:36 pm »

I will be doing the southern tier starting in late December and then heading up the Pacific route.  Since you will be in front of me by a month or so, I would love to keep up with your route and any great finds and/or issues that you have.  If you don't mind, I would love to exhange email addresses so I can follow along on your trip.  If there is anyone else out there that can provide additional advice I would greatly appreciate it.