laws on sleeping outside?

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by dadridesagain, Oct 18, 2012.

  1. dadridesagain

    dadridesagain Adventurer

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    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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  2. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    Cemetaries are your friend. Roll in after dark, leave at dawn, take your trash with you.

    fat fingered on a small keyboard.
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  3. Hessian42

    Hessian42 Been here awhile

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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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  4. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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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.

    Jamie
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  5. Pantah

    Pantah Red Sox Nation

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    Time for a new wife...

    :rofl

    Jus' kiddin'
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  6. GoGoGavin41

    GoGoGavin41 Isn't this that guy?

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    This isn't a terrible contingency plan.
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  7. DaveStockwell

    DaveStockwell Rock Fodder

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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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  8. dadridesagain

    dadridesagain Adventurer

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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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  9. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

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    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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  10. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    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.

    Jamie
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  11. YOUNZ

    YOUNZ Been here awhile

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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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  12. dadridesagain

    dadridesagain Adventurer

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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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  13. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    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.

    Jamie
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  14. kamikazekyle

    kamikazekyle Been here awhile

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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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  15. ragtoplvr

    ragtoplvr Long timer

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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.

    Rod
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  16. bones_708

    bones_708 Been here awhile

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    I'm a little different than most as the majority of the time I prefer to sleep in the open. Forgetting anything else when you hide then people wonder why you are hiding. Sure you can explain and in the end they may be cool but you get an instant surprised if someone does find you that I don't like and avoid. Here is my thing you can sleep just about anywhere if you are out in the open. Sure you might get asked to move along but then you go down to the next town and slep there. Crash in a walmart parking lot and odds are no one will bother you at all. Rainy or during the day I'll use a little fly tarp off the side of the bike for cover but on clear nights I'll just unroll a bag and lay right beside the bike. You need more time, want a longer break, look for closed businesses or especially gas stations. I've parked under cover for days many times and never once has anyone ever said anything (gas station). I don't leave a mess and I'm right in the open not trying to hide. The few times people have said I needed to move they were surprising apologetic about asking and several have mentioned spots I could stop atr if I needed.
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  17. dadridesagain

    dadridesagain Adventurer

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    Nice to hear this report. Still hot in Houston? I grew up there.
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  18. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z Long timer

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    I can't speak for others, but I don't think of myself as hiding.

    Like here when I laid out my sleeping bag in a small-town park.

    [​IMG]

    And cemeteries are good places. No hiding here.

    [​IMG]

    My dad and I camped out here at a boat ramp.

    [​IMG]

    Here's another boat ramp camp.

    [​IMG]

    If you think you're hiding, you're probably doing it wrong. But I also like peace and quiet when I sleep, so I go where I probably won't run into anyone else, and I've rarely encountered another person.

    Jamie
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  19. Twilight Error

    Twilight Error Going nowhere slowly

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    During the summer (or a break), schools are decent places to grab a couple hours of sleep. I stayed at one in Maine this past summer that even had unsecured wifi!
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  20. bones_708

    bones_708 Been here awhile

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    Wasn't meant as a blanket statement but I sometimes wonder about the "stealth" campers. It sounds like they go so far out of their way to be hidden that it would be hard to explain if seen by certain people. That and if I'm just crashing to get a bit of sleep going to extremes just seems like to much work. Now looking for someplace to camp when I want piece and seclusion is a different story though I'll be honest I could care less about the cost in that case, nothing would blow the peace quicker than getting run off.
    #20