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Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Jamie Z, Feb 26, 2008.
Another BMW electrical failure?
190 watt start up...I'll pass.
Some of it blantantly obvious but a few nuggets here & there!
To paraphrase a common cliche: If it were obvious, everybody would already know it.
awesome thread! I'm considering my first adv ride, using the patented JamieZ method. No motels/hotels. From toronto, canada westwards, then down to california, then back east through the US.
Can you guys share your experience with safety when budget travelling? Have you been in a sketchy situation or are people generally welcoming?
Any advice is greatly appreciated. My whole family thinks I'm nuts when I tell them no motels/hotels during this trip.
No matter where you are, never get off on Martin Luther King Blvd. Try to plan your stops away from cities. If you pull in after dark and leave at sunrise you can camp just about anywhere. Shave every day so you don't look like an itinerant axe murderer.
On that note, if you dryshave every day, it hurts less than if you wait between shaves. And eventually you get used to dryshaving, and can do it quickly in the dark, while shivering from the chill.
::EDIT:: Though if you REALY don't like to dryshave, then dribble a little water on it from a waterbottle and call it good.
The 12 volt ovens are awesome. Use one very often,not on the bike yet though. Not sure how much juice they use constant but the one I use stays at 300 degrees and has not killed the truck battery when its been left on while parked for a few hours. I know bike batteries are smaller. Getting off the bike and having a hot meal waiting would be great. For referance a cold can of chilli takes about 45 mins. to get hot.
Feasting on Asphalt: http://www.foodnetworkstore.com/ProductDetail.aspx?R=668313&ccaid=FNFNRSS668313
I travelled with a guy that said its a good idea to stop in to a grocery store shortly before getting off the road and finding a camp spot. That way you don't have to pack it and plan it and its alot cheaper than going to a restaraunt.
He thought I was crazy for buying a $5 mountainhouse chilli mac. ( I don't pack these all the time. I usually pack one for those times where you don't find a store or you drag in to camp late and you need something quick easy and filling.)
when we did stop at a store, he was hungry from eating granola bars as snacks all day. And he was like, "this bag of chips looks good, oh deli roast beef, loaf of bread, hostess cupcakes, 2 giant beers, pack of cigars, can of fruit...
When we walked out of there, he had dropped at least $20 on the stuff, then the next morning, he didnt want to stuff the bread, chips & 6 cup cakes in the small saddle bags so he left it all for the raccoons.
I do like the idea of stopping in at the grocery but its hard to buy stuff as single servings that are not pricey, If you by stuff that can be useed for multiple meals, you do have to preserve and pack it.
So I have found that planning and packing the first couple of days meals helps and then when you do stop at the store to resupply, there is space to put the food in your packs and you can buy for multiple meals.
An adage from freight hopping days in a previous life is/was:
"Never drink in a bar. Never eat in a restaurant"
Ya can't get any more 'Budget' then boxcars & jungle cookin'
I am all in for the budget way.Like Mr. Z, it's mostly for the cultural/discovery reasons than sheer money needs (though I have no money to throw away). So far, I've always managed to keep the sleeping/eating part of the budget under control, mostly by going the hostels at night and groceries by day. But these trips were usually 2-3 weeks long...
My next trip might be a lot longer that the 2-3 weeks I'm used to, so I am now fiddling with the idea of camping. I'm almost there, but still have some fears that I, against all kind of self-esteem protection, am about to reveal:
1- When sleeping in the woods or by the side of the road
Aren't you afraid of wild animals? I always felt safer in a regular campground, foolishly thinking the presence of many humans might keep wild animals at bay. I think I am wrong, but I'd be interested in getting your ideas on that.
2- When sleeping in cities in conspicuous location (behind a warehouse, for example).
Don't you feel that you are more at risk from bad-intentioned individuals? Context: Whenever I find myself in the middle of a crowd at midday, I know I can be pickpocketed, but I know I won't be held at gunpoint: it's the amount of people that protects me from "big" crime. If no one sees you going behind the warehouse, you're safe. If only 2-3 bad intentioned persons see you getting there, no one is going to come help you should the need comes.
As you can see, I want to do it, but I still wonder about the safety of it all. I realize it's probably just my lack of (good) experience showing here, but it really is the last thing keeping me from doing it...
Edit: double post
Edit: triple post
If you go into Atlantic Bread Company or other "we cook our bread fresh daily" plaaces about closing time they have been known to give away the items not sold during the day. I've walked out with an asortment of bread, bagels and muffins all for free.
There are only a handful of animals which could be a real concern to someone in a tent. Bears are the first thing which come to mind. Fortunately (or unfortunately), I haven't had the opportunity to learn much about bears. There are some places where you might have to look out for snakes, spiders, scorpions, or other small but potentially dangerous creatures. I was warned once about alligators in Florida.
At least in my own experience, it's rare when I'm camping where such a danger might exist. Mostly my concern with animals has been as a nuisance. Twice I've had raccoons attempt to get at my food. When the time comes that I camp in bear country, I'll probably learn some techniques which should keep me relatively safe.
Regarding number two, much of my travel philosophy is that people are generally good. In years of traveling, I've stayed in some pretty odd places, and encountered probably hundreds of generous and friendly individuals. I've sustained petty theft three times, and all three times I wasn't around when it happened. That's not to say something bad couldn't happen, but if you limit yourself based on the fear that someone is out to get you, then you'll miss out on a whole lot more good people.
As you pointed out, I pick my campsites with a combination of seclusion and conspicuity. That is, I try to make camp where I figure I'm unlikely to be noticed, but I also keep in mind that I don't want to be completely isolated. Almost always, my tent is in view of the road, or somehow close to something if I should need it, yet a person on said road would really have to be looking in order to see my tent.
The way I figure, thieves and rapists don't go looking out behind warehouses for victims. They go where there are people, like a campground. In addition, would you approach a lone tent with unknown occupants you encountered in the woods or elsewhere? I think even the most brazen characters would be a bit spooked by what or who might be inside.
On a completely different note.
I stumbled upon a page pertaining to pilgrimage in Santiago de Compostella, and someone mentioned that he has been able to secure beds/food/showers pretty much every day by going from... presbyteries to presbyteries!
Obviously, these were on the road of a pilgrimage, but I still thought it could be a great idea: if you look clean, have a reasonable story to tell and promise not to bug them too much... well, aren't Christians supposed to open their doors to the people in need? Would priest supposed to give the good example?
I thought about posting it here, because we could consider it as a variant of the "pitching a tent in a churchyard" tip. If you ask for permission at the nearby presbytery, you might be lucky. Maybe you'll still be sleeping in your tent tonight, but you might receive a good breakfast the next morning. Even if it's just to be able to take a shower in a rather clean place.
In countries where religion is important (Mexico, Italy, Spain....), I think it's worth a try.
I am guessing it takes to time to get used to riding out in the middle of nowhere and setting up a tent in unfamiliar surroundings for some people.
I am new to bike camping, and will be doing my first solo overnight ride at a designated camp site area. I know some people like to be out in remote areas away from other people, but I feel safer knowing other people are nearbye should I get into a situation I don't know how to handle. Maybe it's a false sense of security, but I feel more comfortable with other people around.
I recently read another one of your posts, Jaimie, where you documented a pretty long ride and all the places you stayed. I tip my hat to you and hope I can get to a point where I can work up to something like that someday, but I think it will be years. I get too nervous in my tent. Every little sound keeps me awake all night on previous camping trips with my family, making for a rough next day. I can only imagine how my mind is going to play tricks on me on my first solo trip. I think the fear is part of the attraction though.
Common sense rules. Don't keep food in your tent and don't wave your wallet around. You're more likely to be struck by lightning than robbed or mauled by a bear.
Best advice I've heard about keeping human predators away is to scatter a few crushed beer cans and empty shotgun shells around your tent. Retrieve them and save for the next site when you move on .