How to ride dirt cheap

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by ksburner, Feb 8, 2012.

  1. ksburner

    ksburner n00b

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    I'm new to this forum so i apologize ahead of time if something like this question has been posted before. With that said...I am a new rider and as soon as I get through MSF and get my endorsement I plan to take a trip. I don't know where I'm going or for how long I'll be gone but my goal is to ride and explore the country and to do it as cheap as I can. So I guess I was wondering if anybody has any ideas about how I can make my trip as cheap as possible. I can live off of Ramen noodles and will eat fresh road kill if that tells you anything about how cheap I am so don't hold back, if it's cheap I want to know about it.

    Thanks in advance,

    Keith
    #1
  2. ThomasVolomitz

    ThomasVolomitz New Old Stock

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    Sounds like you need a KLR and a milk crate to start with... and camp at national and state parks.
    #2
  3. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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  4. willys

    willys Long timer

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    KLR and stealth camping, no deodorant to keep flies at bay.....also, make 100% sure bike is in tip top condition before you set out! On road repairs are god knows how many more times as expensive than when done at home before the trip.:freaky
    #4
  5. IRideASlowBike

    IRideASlowBike Banned

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    Honda Cub or similar, cheap tent or tarp, buy food at a supermarket. No hotels or restaurants, stealth camping only, don't pay to sleep on the ground. Bathe in lakes and rivers. If you have someone riding bitch, make her pay for half the gas and/or pay in sexual favors at the end of the day.

    Your mileage may vary.
    #5
  6. wibornz

    wibornz Been here awhile

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    When it is cold and rainy, go to a hospital and sleep in the ER. You can get a couple hours and no one will bother you.
    #6
  7. ksburner

    ksburner n00b

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    I've seen people talk about stealth camping on here but I haven't seen anybody mention rest areas when it comes to accommodations for the night. Rest areas are all over the highway and truckers and car drivers stop there and sleep...I've done it plenty of times in my car on road trips. Granted I don't think I've ever seen anybody pitch a tent but I don't think it's prohibited either...I mean it is a rest area. Anybody know if it's legal to pitch a tent at a rest area?
    #7
  8. IRideASlowBike

    IRideASlowBike Banned

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    Not recommended, you can easily become a victim of crime. There's a reason cops are always snooping around rest areas. Many rest areas even have signs warning about this. Catching a wink in your car or truck is different than pitching a tent, and yeah, pitching a tent is probably illegal there too. Even falling asleep in the car at night at a deserted rest area is not the most pleasant feeling in the world.

    Personally I would not feel comfortable sleeping in a tent at a rest area on a busy highway at night with dozens of people constantly coming and going. I have laid down to catch 30 minutes of sleep or so, right in my gear (didn't take my helmet off, even) on the grass, but that's different.

    Remember, the key to stealth camping is stealth. Meaning no one knows you're there. It's easier than you think. And if people don't know you're there, they can't hurt you.

    There is no danger to you if there is nobody around, contrary to what numerous horror films try to make you believe. Then the only thing you have to worry about is possibly animals, if you're in bear country.
    #8
  9. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    High-traffic rest areas? I suppose it could be done, but it wouldn't be fun, for a couple reasons. I'm pretty sure in most modern rest areas it is prohibited to pitch a tent. State laws are going to vary. The ones around here have something like a four-hour time limit. They don't want people camping out for the night.

    Additionally, at least for me, I'm not usually very close to a major rest area if I'm off on a trip. Interstates and other high-speed highways are for fast transportation, not seeing the sights.

    Now... on the other hand, I have spent the night at quite a few rural rest areas. They're all over in Texas, for example. But it's possible to find roadside picnic areas all over. Most are built by the CCC and long in disuse and I think you could easily set up a tent and not be bothered by anyone at those kinds of rest areas.

    Jamie
    #9
  10. inbred

    inbred Been here awhile

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    I do not always travel cheap. But once in a while I set out on a week trip with the idea that I'm going to spend as little as possible. For starters that means NO Lodging or Camping Fees. Almost NO money spent on food or beverages, with the . exception of a small budget for the following: one or two road-side stops each day for coffee and pie and a stoip each evening for a draft beer to wash away the dust of the day. Probably the biggest challenge is NO Happy ending massage joints. Really, my only on board cash is meant for a few cups of coffee w/ pie, a simple beer AND gas. Since I average about 400 miles per day, the total gas cost is approximately $200.00. The coffee, pie and suds about $90.00. Figure $10.00 miscellaneous and we're talking $300.00 for a 3000 mile seven day adventure. That's 10 cents a mile people.

    Doing these trips is very enjoyable to me. I love the tedium that comes from traveling alone on the cheap. I feel like Alex Supertramp from "Into the Wild" Fame. It makes me really appreciate the trips where I splurge a bit more. Makes me feel raw and basic. Just a lone traveler on the road soaking in the sights of the back country and the tarmac stretches in between. And boy is it nice to come home.

    One trick. Do not bring a wallet with you. Stash your money in an out of the way pocket. When you walk into a coffee joint, walk up to a waitress and utter these exact words, "Excuse me, I left my wallet at home, but I can sure use a cup of joe." Keep your headed tilted down but look her in the eye. You'd be surprised how often the answer is yes. Even at Starbuck's if they're not busy. I like old fashion restaurants that have pies in glass cases right on the counter. If I score a free cup of black I sit right in front of the case and stare at it like I'm a kitten looking at a goldfish. Time and time again, I've had the waitress, cut me a fat slice and say, "Here, sugar, it's on the house." It makes them feel a whole lot better if you pause and say, "Shuwcks Maam, I can't take that." Of course I relent and when I'm done, I always ask if they got anything I can clean, a grease trap or the employee restroom to thank them for the favor. Seldom do they take me up on my offer, but it's always nice to ask.
    #10
  11. Flashmo

    Flashmo Whatever...

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    You had me...right up until you said "NO Happy ending massage joints". There is "roughing it"...but THAT is just TOO extreme.

    :evil
    #11
  12. jetjackson

    jetjackson Been here awhile

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    Firstly get an account on Couchsurfing.org and start hosting people and build up a bit of kudos with that community so you can be hosted in return when you travel.

    Eat oats for breakfast. Get a jetboil for 90 quid and you can boil up the water for them every day wherever you are. oats makes breakfast for roughly 50 cents a day or less. It's got protein and carbs, everything you need to set you up for the day.

    Those are my tips. GL!
    #12
  13. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    :huh

    Can't say I'd recommend deceiving generous folks to get a free meal. Maybe that's just me.

    -1 on that suggestion.

    Jamie
    #13
  14. ThomasVolomitz

    ThomasVolomitz New Old Stock

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    Yeah, I don't think deception works well at all. Better to be up front about things. You probably look rough enough after riding for days to get a cup of coffee, but why lie about it?
    #14
  15. One Less Harley

    One Less Harley OH.THAT'S GONNA HURT

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    Stealth camping is the best way to save money, a little more difficult to do East of the Miss, and easier to do farther West of the Miss. Main thing is to find a hidden spot if not too far off the road. I once camped in a low spot off a main road where I couldn't be seen. Another less than ideal location was at the back of a storage facility at a one stop sign town.....then of course there are the very back of cemeteries which are pretty good. I've tried to dot he rest stop thing but find myself needing to sleep w/ one eye open...just not a good idea. Every three to four days stay at a real camp site to rinse out clothes and get a shower.

    I've actually thought about asking farmers if they would mind if I tossed a tent out in the field for the night and stressing that I won't leave anything behind. As sometimes it's hard to find a secluded spot East of the Miss.


    Cemetery...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    Storage Facility-no tent just a sleeping pad. It was about 1:30am when I found this spot. Couldn't be seen from the road or neighbors


    [​IMG]
    #15
  16. heetseeker

    heetseeker Hopelessly addicted

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    Not sure about the hospitals where you're from, but when it's rainy and cold our hospitals are packed full of homeless and others using the ER's as their Dr's office. It's a madhouse!
    #16
  17. tallpaul63

    tallpaul63 Been here awhile

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    I am a master of stealth camping, I say with all due humility.

    Look at your map and plan to be in a lightly populated area around dusk. Look for the green on the map; forested and woodsy areas, national parks, or farmland. Hilly country is better.

    Plan to set up camp with the day's last light, and get well off the road when no one is looking. Try to find a place where there is no reason for anyone to come around. Get practiced at making and breaking your camp quickly. Try to be at least a few hundred yards from any well used road.

    Some good tips:

    Look for orchards where you can tuck away behind rows of trees for the night. Also river bottoms, side roads in the desert, logging roads, railroad right of ways, roads that serve power lines, fire roads that lead away from built up areas. Farm roads can be good too, but areas with livestock are likely to be fenced in and watched more closely. If you can follow a farm road to an area that's not being farmed, that works. On the coast, beaches are usually a bad choice unless they are really hard to get to. People party on beaches, and the authorities usually patrol them. You want to be where nobody has reason to be.

    You may be able to camp behind the church in small towns; ask nicely or just leave a small footprint and be on your way early.

    Try to avoid places where teenagers and drunks like to party. Lots of beer cans...look elsewhere.

    When you want to visit a city and spend a day or two, try the hostels. Look up AYH and get a membership. Cheap dorm beds usually, and a chance to meet fellow travelers and share stories. If you want to stay a few days at a hostel, ask the manager if you can work for your bed, pulling weeds or cleaning up around the place. Try warm showers lists and couch surfing sites as well.

    Plan on two meals a day from the supermarket, maybe one at a restaurant for a bit of local flavor and comfort. I always have a quart of water, peanut butter, bread, and some fruit with me. Can always make a meal, even if its unplanned. I don't do much cooking when stealth camping, but oatmeal and pasta dishes are cheap and quick.

    If you must stay in campgrounds, ask the host if they have simpler sites like a hiker/biker site or a group camping area. Explain that you need a tent spot only, just for the night, and are on a budget. No need for hookups etc. Plea poverty and offer them five or ten bucks. They may work with you. Campgrounds that cater mostly to the RV crowd are not promising in this regard.

    I have been known to pitch my tent on the "periphery" of a campground, out of sight and out of mind. Unethical? Well, I am no saint. Do a good deed some day and balance it out.

    If you do get caught where you're not supposed to be, try to convey that you're on a shoestring budget, having an adventure, and that you mean no harm...and you can be on your way in a jiffy. Smile a lot and be nice.

    You may be able to score a shower at a municipal swimming pool, or a campground where you're just passing through. Be discrete- park your bike elsewhere, like in a picnic area, pocket a bar of soap and use a tiny little towel you can tuck away. Or just offer to pay for a shower. You can often pay for a shower at a YMCA, and have a workout to boot.

    Good luck and good travels.
    #17
  18. sillymike

    sillymike Yep! That's me...

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    For a quick showers, truck stops are another good option (if the lake/river/creek are not looking good).

    When out in the boonies and looking for a place to camp... just ask one of the locals. People are usually happy to help 'stranger' discover their part of the world... Here's one such spot we were shown...

    [​IMG]
    #18
  19. cms161

    cms161 Adventurer

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  20. bones_708

    bones_708 Been here awhile

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    I'm kind of different than most as I don't really go for the whole "stealth" camping thing. For one thing if you are out of site then there can't be any witnesses to anything someone does to you. Second, why bother? Worst thing that has ever happened to me crashing out in the open is I've been asked to move and usually long after I've gotten a few hours sleep so I don't consider it a problem You can park in almost any parking lot and just lay out by your bike and be there all night before anyone will say anything. The idea you have to hide conveys to many that you have a reason to hid and can often make people suspicious. Heck I camped out at a closed gas station in plain view of the road for 2 days and saw cops go by all the time and no body cared. As to people messing with you, first I'm a big guy so it just doesn't happen that much second I have a cell phone and once you start calling the cops the tone starts to change. I am also ready to use other means to defend myself but I know it's a controversial topic that we don't need to rehash again.

    I will not however lie to try and take advantage of anyone. I might ask for a deal or if I can work off a meal or campsite but I don't pretend to be broke to get people to give me stuff. Far as I'm concerned you might as well be stopping and sit by the road with a sign asking for money when you do that.
    #20