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Old 10-18-2012, 09:42 AM   #1
dadridesagain OP
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laws on sleeping outside?

I'm leaving Boston before dawn Monday morning heading ultimately to North Carolina (Dragon / Cherohala run), gonna see how far I can get before dark. Family in Lexington, KY, 15 hours according to google, seems like a stretch in one shot. Safety considerations aside, does anyone know the laws on throwing down a sleeping bag at rest stops? I'm trying to cover about 2300 miles and my wife is only giving me 4 days.
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Old 10-18-2012, 09:44 AM   #2
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Cemetaries are your friend. Roll in after dark, leave at dawn, take your trash with you.

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Old 10-18-2012, 09:59 AM   #3
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i'm in the same boat on a loooong trip and saving my $$ for the road rather than hotels. From my research it's perfectly legal to camp in any federal, state or blm land as long as you're 100 yards from a road. obviously going through closed gates and posted no trespassing signs is a different story. practice "leave no trace" make no fires and leave no beer cans behind and you're ahead of the game and IF you get questioned i'm sure it wouldn't be a problem. i usually start looking for a place about an hour before sundown and try and leave the next morning as early as i can.
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Old 10-18-2012, 10:54 AM   #4
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Most rest stops that I've seen do have signs which say "No Overnight Camping," which seems to fit what you're asking. That said, if you're not bothering anyone, you'd probably be fine.

But rest stops are probably not a very good place to sleep. They're one of the very few places that tend to attract criminal activities. That's speaking of rest areas located along major routes. I've safely camped at many small country rest areas, as are common in Texas and in a few other states. Many of them are practically abandoned.

The cemetery idea submitted by TE is a good suggestion, as are churches and behind warehouses. The region of the country where you're traveling seems to have an abundance of churches.

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Old 10-18-2012, 11:26 AM   #5
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Time for a new wife...



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Old 10-18-2012, 12:07 PM   #6
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This isn't a terrible contingency plan.
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Old 10-18-2012, 01:25 PM   #7
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I've driven/ridden through over 3/4 of the states in the continental US. Every rest stop along the interstates I've been to has had a No Camping rule. I have made use of cemeteries and churches. Stay quiet, leave early, pack out ALL trash and you are usually good. Even got invited in a couple times. Texas style country side rests seem to be OK. A buddy of mine also simply pulled the bike 50 feet into a farm field. Just pay attention to combines this time of year. NOT a nice way to wake up.
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Old 10-18-2012, 03:40 PM   #8
dadridesagain OP
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thanks guys, really helpful replies. I imagine much less chance of predatory criminal types parking off the highway behind a church or something.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:20 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by dadridesagain View Post
thanks guys, really helpful replies. I imagine much less chance of predatory criminal types parking off the highway behind a church or something.
Definately. Just about any place would be better than a rest stop. Even if someone from the church finds you camping, it will probably result in friendly conversation. Tell them you thought it was the safest place to be, and they'll likely agree and offer you some coffee.
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Old 10-18-2012, 04:53 PM   #10
Jamie Z
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Even if someone from the church finds you camping, it will probably result in friendly conversation. Tell them you thought it was the safest place to be, and they'll likely agree and offer you some coffee.
I keep waiting for that to happen, but as often as I've camped out behind churches, I've never encountered another person. Not once.

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Old 10-18-2012, 05:29 PM   #11
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If you had a sidecar, like mine. 27inches wide, 24 inches high, nearly 7 feet in length, with a tonneau cover, you just pull into a Wall-Mart lot or truck stop, or, off to the side of a volunteer fire house: with permission of course, button up and sleep, unseen. Have a pee bottle, on hand, or a hole in the floor board. Hey, maybe a fireman will invite you in.
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Old 10-18-2012, 05:41 PM   #12
dadridesagain OP
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I like the idea of churches better than cemeteries although the fried chicken smell might keep me up. Seriously though, I like that idea and will give it a try.
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Old 10-18-2012, 07:30 PM   #13
Jamie Z
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I like the idea of churches better than cemeteries although the fried chicken smell might keep me up. Seriously though, I like that idea and will give it a try.
Lots of country churches have a covered pavilion out back and even have picnic tables. They're a great place to lay out a sleeping bag.

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Old 10-19-2012, 02:10 AM   #14
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I don't think you'll be passing inside Virginia, but a heads up if you do. Overnight parking/camping is prohibited at rest stops and most are patrolled by State Troopers at somewhat regular intervals. State BLM lands are no longer free and require an access pass (or a VA freshwater fishing license, or one of a few other things) to even set foot in. Though I'd imagine if it's a large enough BLM you could probably sneak in somewhere and they'd never notice. I'd also bet they'd just tell you to move on at worst, especially if you're out of state. Actual camping is fine using the 100yd rule, you'd just need an $8/day or $23/yr pass to be totally legit.
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Old 10-19-2012, 04:39 AM   #15
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most crooks are superstitious. They would never set foot in a cemetery after dark. Most would avoid churches too. I have never had a supernatural visitor either. I can break camp in less than 30 minutes. Summer it can be hard to get enough sleep this way. So every other day I tend to motel it, and a really nice bath is welcome.

if you get on the interstate at the state borders and go to the state info centers usually in the rest areas, they can tell you the regulations for the state parks, BLM sleeping in rest areas etc. supply maps and pamphlets etc.

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