Author Topic: Stupid Hotel Question  (Read 12311 times)

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Offline Ron Scott

Stupid Hotel Question
« on: October 25, 2011, 09:34:49 pm »
Early stages of planning first really long ride, OR to NY, and was wondering how you folks planned overnight accommodations. I may camp it from time to time but mostly it'll be in some kind of hotel/motel/B&B as I see it.

How many days in advance do you plan this stuff?

Offline John Nelson

Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2011, 10:41:32 pm »
Popular places such as National Parks need to be reserved well in advance--now would be good. Less popular places can usually be reserved a day or two or three in advance, or just left until you get there. The farther ahead you reserve, the less your travel flexibility and the more your peace of mind.

Offline bogiesan

Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2011, 08:03:37 am »
I was just cruising through some credit card-style travel logs on crazyguy. There are apparently vast stretches of any cross country route, especially west of the Mississippi, where thee are no commercial accommodations within reach for a couple of days. Those stretches are also tough riding so, even if you cna make them, your reservations may not be achievable. And there are still vast areas of my part of the country, Idaho/Oregon/Washington/Montana/Wyoming, where cell phones are a novelty and carrier shadows can be huge.

There are, however, several doable routes where you trade the comfort and convenience of linked settlements for the press of trucks and autos.

I play go. I use Macintosh. Of course I ride a recumbent

Offline Pat Lamb

Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2011, 09:27:19 am »
As John says, reserve your national park lodges ASAP.  Commercial bus tours seem to suck up most of the rooms by the third week in January.

We normally did not plan further than a couple days ahead.  From Virginia through Kansas there was almost always another town 1-2 hours away, and depending on heat, headwinds, and fatigue, we'd adjust our daily mileage.  From central Colorado northwest through Washington the towns were spaced about a day's travel apart for us; if you want to stay in a motel, you stretch or shrink that day's riding to fit.

On our blended TransAm and Northern Tier route, Guffey, CO, Jeffrey City, WY, and Newhalem, WA were the only "towns" there were no motels.  (If we'd had to, we could have stretched to Fairplay, CO, and Concrete, WA.)  Weekends in the northwest were often tight, but we managed to find a place every night we needed to. 

Hate to advertise for them, but I was amazed at Verizon's cell coverage. All across Kansas, and in almost every small town, we got a signal.  If you need to call ahead for reservations, you'll find coverage.  Often, though, we'd just split up and go to a couple of different motels and ask for room availability and prices.  I think we saved more with that strategy than AAA!


  • Guest
Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2011, 12:01:14 pm »
I got good Verizon service this summer in SW Montana, including in some areas that I thought would be too remote.  My companion had AT&T and did not have coverage in several areas where I did.

Other commercal, indoor housing option are campgrounds.  Some, including KOAs, have cabins.

Offline mucknort

Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2011, 04:13:50 pm »
For campgrounds I would type: Campgrounds (and the state I was looking for) on Google which would bring up every campground in the area.
We also used and enjoyed staying with folks via
You can also use google to find hotels, but to find the best deals we used and

Offline DU

Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 06:14:10 pm »
I rode the Transam E-W in 2006. I camped most of the time until I got to the middle of Kansas. It got hot and I headed indoors, mostly. I camped only 5 times from Kansas to the coast, including 2 days in Yellowstone. I never made any reservations ahead of time but there was always a camping option at the city park in town if the motel was full. They were never full.

In 2009 I rode the Northern Tier W-E to North Dakota and then found my own way to home in Iowa. I camped, with a few motels, until ND and then stayed in motels all the way home. Once again with no reservations.

I wouldn't make a reservation more than one day ahead unless it was a real popular tourist area like mentioned before. If you are doing ACA routes or similar roads I can't imagine that these motels in small towns fill up very often. If you are carrying camping gear then you always have that option.

Offline raybo

Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2011, 10:28:51 am »
Check out hospitality sites like or where you can find free places to stay in people's homes or camp in their yards.

I have been hosted close to half the time on my recent tours.

Visit the on-line bike touring archive at

Offline Shane

Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2011, 02:28:35 pm »
If you dont have AAA or any other discount card, smile and ask for the "poor cyclist travelling cross country discount", 50% of the time this got me the AAA or 10% off  ;D

Have fun.

Offline PeteJack

Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2011, 08:54:27 pm »
Another possible money saver: when you've got whatever discounts you can, ask how much for cash? Sometimes they will skip the tax for cash. It's probably not legal on their part and if the morality of it bothers you, don't do it. And don't tell them I told you to do it!

Offline reed523

Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2011, 11:23:04 am »
Another plug for Warmshowers.  We were hosted 10 nights on our recent cross country (and were not on ACA routes most of the way).  Awesome hosts.  I can't say enough kind things about the people that cared for us.  I might also mention that the National Parks have a "no turn away" policy for cyclists in campgrounds, even when advertised as full. 

I was also amazed at how many places we were able to stay after friends and family had a look at our route.  Here's just one example.  My best friend from high school (back in the 70's) was looking at the route and noticed he had a cousin near the route up in Montana.  Sure enough, they were 3 blocks off our route and were glad to invite us in.  We had 7 of these along the way. 

Have a great trip!

Offline John Nelson

Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2011, 05:49:37 pm »
I might also mention that the National Parks have a "no turn away" policy for cyclists in campgrounds, even when advertised as full.
Many of them, but not all of them. Check before you rely on this.

Offline yumadons

Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #12 on: November 08, 2011, 04:55:15 pm »
My husband & I just completed the first half of the TransAm (OR coast to Pueblo, CO) 100% motels, didn't carry camping gear. Longest day 71 miles.  All accommodations / prices / contact info on blog:

« Last Edit: November 08, 2011, 05:01:51 pm by yumadons »

Offline tonythomson

Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2011, 06:22:21 am »
Actually you can virtually say you are a member of anything to get a discount.  Just to check this out at one motel I asked if I could get a discount for being a member of SOMOB. "Yes no problem." I asked did she want to know what it was? "No."  So I told her it stood for Silly Old Man On a Bike, and I was the only member.  "Oh that's OK as long as your a member you get the discount." Maybe it's my English accent?

I enquired at the local police station for a local motel in a small town in Texas.  The sergeant pointed to a local motel and said "You got a gun boy" um no I'm English we use charm! "You'd better git a gun cos if you don't get them roaches first they gonna git you!" Well the roaches didn't get me but I swear they moved the bed in the night.

Motels are always interesting and if you learn to say hello "Namaste" in Hindi that also got me a discount as many of the owners on ST are from Gujarat India or UK.  Never prebooked anything. 
Have fun.

Just starting to record my trips

Offline canalligators

Re: Stupid Hotel Question
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2011, 11:24:44 am »
A good resource:  This lists the non-chain motels, by state and town.  We have used this quite a bit, and almost all of the places we have used have been decent or better.  Properties will generally be better in more rural locations.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2011, 12:02:43 pm by Fred Hiltz »