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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I see all these nice pictures of people going across the US and Canada and the pictures obviously aren't of hotels.



So how do you guys do it? Do you have maps of campsites, luck of the draw, reservations ahead of time. I'm curious for a possible trip to Denver next summer. When I lived in norther michigan it seemed like all you had to do was pull over and throw up a tent but it has to be more complicated than that.
 

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I did a trip to the east coast a few (many!) years back. Yes, it was as simple as 'this place looks nice' and pitch your tent. The best site was up on Mt. Mansfield in Vermont. I had pulled into a rest area, and talked with a ranger. He pointed me towards a seldom used road. The CX Custom had a fun ride with what felt like vertical climbs to near the summit. Once there, it leveled off, and I set up camp. The morning was spectacular. Mountain mist filling the valley, looking across to see the tops of the other hills surrounded by the mist below. Really wish I had a camera back then, but then again, the minds eye missed no detail.
 

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When tenting it is always just freelancing, no set stops, just the freedom of when you want to set up and call that



spot "home" for the night. Never run across a designated campsite that did not have room for a small tent...somewhere.



I never travel on long weekends so I guess I am lucky to never have had an issue of "NO VACANCY". But I always travel



with my trusty campground guide, so I can make sure to pull in for a shower somewhere along the route at least every 2nd



day if not every day. I am very amused by those in their big Class A motorhomes and 40' 5th wheels that say they are



camping, with fireplaces and dishwashers and built in vacuums etc. My idea of camping is to get "away" from it all, not



to be set up 10' from another camper with a satellite system and internet.
 

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My idea of camping is to get "away" from it all, not to be set up 10' from another camper with a satellite system and internet.
Unless he fails to secure his wireless. Then you can upload pics of your trip to the forum.




R
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
About 5 years back Melody wanted to go camping along lake michigan on the michigan side. So we headed out around 3 on friday heading north and we were turned away from 5-7 sites. We just had a small tent. If it were just myself I would have slept in the car. After seeing a light house or two and a lot of beach and touristy stuff we were looking at 9:00pm and couldn't find anything. At about 10:30 and still heading away from home we were getting pretty irritated. Eventually we gave in and stayed at a shitty overpriced motel. It was the only one we could find and $106 for the night.



This is what I want to get away from. It was a crappy weekend and we blew most of our money on a crappy roach motel in Hart Michigan.
 

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BS, on our trip in 08 Don & I stayed many times at RV sites. Most of them had limited accomodations for tent camping. Check with some of the fed agencies, Bureau of Land Mgt. etc. we stayed at some of their locations also. I had asked for tourist info from many of the states & provinces we crossed. While it was a mixed bag of responses I did get some good stuff and always got a state map, those came in handy! Obviously, the more time you have the more info you can gather, I had so much before the Alaska trip that we had to go th rough and discard a lot.

Gene
 

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My Brother-in-law and I took many motorcycle camping trips through the decades and we developed a system that worked real well for us:

We would ride until around 4 PM and then start looking for a campground. Sometimes we'd be forced to camp amongst the RV's but most times we'd find a National Forest Campground or similar. After we set up camp we'd head back to town and buy food to cook for supper that evening and breakfast the next morning. That way we didn't have to pack a lot of food though we'd always have a couple cans of soup or Dinty Moore stew in the bottom of a saddle bag in case we ended up at a campground that had no store nearby. Attached is a picture of him cooking his famous "Uncle Charlies' Camping Goulash". A feast for sure, let me tell you.




We loved having the freedom to ride in any direction that suited our fancy and spend as much time as we wished at whatever sight we ran across with no reservations anywhere that would dictate where we needed to end up at the end of the day.



Ah, the good old days.... life isn't so simple anymore...
 

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BS, too bad you got turned away at those campgrounds. While bicycling in the Pacific NW, a buddy and I came up to a state campground in Washington. We were told that the camp grounds were full, but the nice ranger pointed out we could setup our tents behind a "particular" maintenance shed and we could camp there. Still had to pay the $6 fee for biking camping, but really our spot was nice and quiet compared to the other sites with tent campers. And not very far from facilities.



Over on ADVRider, I have read RR's about stealth camping. There are guys (and some gals as well) who are very good at finding a spot to camp in with out many problems. I have a backpackers tent, and have also looked into hammock tents (which look like a hammock with a tent enclosure around them. Looks pretty sweat for light weight camping gear.)
 

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Our biggest trip was cross coast to coast back in '76. Three of us spent a total of $400 each for all costs, including food, fuel, tires, lodging, camping etc. All expenses, for 21 days and over 8,000 miles!. We were in our late 20s and all single. Our style was simplicity itself, we didn't care where we bunked each night, and didn't give it much thought until after a dinner stop and darkness was falling, usually about 9:00 PM in July. Often a dirt road off the main road, agricultural fields (woke one morning before dawn with migrant workers hoeing weeds within 50 ft of us). Numerous times we'd ride into a National Forest campground with nobody at the booth that late. Take a campsite, get up before dawn and leave, still nobody at the gate. Didn't pay if we weren't asked, eh? Not intentional, but happened several times. Ride 50 miles before stopping for breakfast, then ride all day again. Seldom used a tent, once just slept beside the bikes along a town road, right on the gravel shoulder. Ah, to be young again! We saw amazing National Parks and had a blast. Just took each day as it came.
 

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I realize now that I didn't really answer Don's question with my reminiscing story. That is, how to find campsites.



I'm sure you could punch "campground" in a GPS from wherever you are and come up with many possibilities. We'd check our maps for those little green triangles. The green triangles are public C.G.s. If you are in a touristy area there are always lots of possibilities for private C.G. If there is a National Forest in the area you can camp there at a designated C.G. for a little bit of money or you may camp anywhere you wish amoungst the trees because it is our national forest. (not true with national and state parks, by the way, there you must be at a designated camp site). If you are near a large city it is very difficult to find a place, stay away from large cities. Little towns often have a public campground at their city park. Out on the freeways there are always KOA's and other RV parks.



It is best not to wait until evening to start looking, better to start looking at around mid-afternoon.
 

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Stitch,



I just got back today from a week-long trip to the Black Hills of South Dakota. For us, we chose to arrive at Custer State Park on Labor Day because we knew everyone would be leaving that day. We chose our spot based on pictures of campsites posted online. Many state and national parks have areas that are not reservable, or reservable only on the same day as arrival. That was the case for us in CSP.



I also recommend buying a state map at a gas station. My friend and fellow camper, John, gets his from AAA or from the tourist office, but they don't have all the county roads, county parks and private campgrounds. Last night we stayed at a county park in the middle of South Dakota for free. We were the only two people there all night, with sites right next to the lake.



David
 

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I can vouch for the city and county parks, many have camping areas that are cheap. Some are really nice and others are pits! State parks you need reservations and they are getting more expensive each year. A certain amount of planning is necessary of course but the internet makes it easier to find these areas. There are quite a few motorcycle only campgrounds around the country, and the ones I have checked out are pretty reasonable



Another tip for a free nights stay is to stop in a small town and ask at the local church, fire station, VFW, American Legion, Armory, truck stop, or the police station if there is anywhere you can set up a tent overnight. Better to ask than to be rousted out in the middle of the night. Asking politely and making it clear that you are stopping for some rest only and will be on your way early helps. Also assure them you will not leave a trace of your being there. The same goes if asking a farmer if you can catch some shuteye on a corner of his land. I was sleeping on a ground mat in a sleeping bag once and woke with about 20 cows standing shoulder to shoulder in a circle all staring at me. Weird!



I have at times in more urban areas resorted to riding at night and sleeping during the day. Funny how many local parks etc there are where you can set up a tent and hang out/sleep during the daytime without being hassled.



There is a stealth camping directory online with GPS coordinates. Places where others have been able to spend the night without being hassled. boondocking Or find your own!



Universal code of stealth camping (from ADVRider)

-be quiet

-be polite

-be tidy

-be gone early

-and find your camping spot with an hour or two of daylight to spare



Here is a link to a good thread on ADVrider ADVrider stealth camping link.



The worst place I ever chose to stealth camp was at Dover in England. I set up after dark and didn't realize the fence I jumped was the outer perimeter of a missile defense base. I woke up at 3 am with a machine gun to my head and instructions to leave immediately! The guard dogs had found me asleep and had gone back to get the guards. They told me if I had not been asleep the dogs may have taken other actions.


I also made the mistake on the same trip of trying to sleep overnight inside the ring at Stonehenge. It was awesome! The authorities weren't pleased. It helps if you are good at talking your way out of things.
 

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The easiest way to do it is to call up your S.O. and have her (or him) find a campground that's a reasonable distance away in the direction that you are traveling in. They use 'da Google' and reserve a place for you.



If you're not that lucky, you get some AAA camp books (PM me if you need some as I've got quite a few) - pick a couple of places along your route and give them a call. Ride, stay, repeat. Obviously avoiding anything that is KOA or themed (think Jellystone) - unless that's your thing.



State park campground vary greatly by state, sometimes you'll have to pay an entrance fee so don't forget to build that in too.



I too have had good luck with staying in National Forests - several of my top 5 places to stay have been in them - plus they are generally free. You can find a list of places if you do a good search.



Do we still have the CX/GL 'help a buddy out' program - Randal was chairing it for a while...



ADVRider.com has a great tent space list too!



~Thom
 

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Do we still have the CX/GL 'help a buddy out' program - Randal was chairing it for a while...
Thanks for the reminder, Thom. I should copy that over to the active forum.



Not tonight, though. I need to get to bed.



R
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
These are all good ideas. I'll have to remember that in some places of the Salisbury plain it isn't ok to camp.
 

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"everone has a gun here, it's just assumed... No one will botheryou" is responce to my question is it safe to camp off this road.and with new Florida laws, we can't even help stranded motorist anymore, let alone trespass on private property with out geting shoot. If travaling alone I would consider camping in the bush close to the road, google is great for finding camp site of you know when and wher your going, state parks a good and often open, get in late leave early throw a few dollors in the box if you can.
 

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My best camping suggestion is that when you are assigned a site you should always ask, "Isn't that the site that floods when it rains?" They will always tell you where the sites are that flood so you can avoid them. Sleeping in a wet site is the real definition of nightmare.
 

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Several times in my past I have called the local police dept and county police dept to find where the campgrounds are in any given area.



Look up phone numbers that are non-emergency. They don't like it if you dial the 911 number for that kind of information.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Several times in my past I have called the local police dept and county police dept to find where the campgrounds are in any given area.



Look up phone numbers that are non-emergency. They don't like it if you dial the 911 number for that kind of information.


Always good to know. To bad there wasn't a quick number for the police.



I once called 911 when a guy ran into my truck while I was driving down the road and it didn't seem like they were happy that nobody was injured.





I guess Melody has been searching out all the free maps that she can get from the tourist sites. She's excited.
 

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we do a fair bit of camping.not using the bike though,at our age we want a few home comforts.lmao

the tent i bought was a quecha,just wondering if they are available over the pond as well.

put up in 3 minutes,take down in 5.no loose poles

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qefgd3o1M5Q



 
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