Budget Travel the Jamie Z Way

Discussion in 'Trip Planning' started by Jamie Z, Feb 26, 2008.

  1. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    Z-man, I use the collapsible btls that are like a large toothpaste tube for water to drink directly. 24 hr stores like Wally World, Meiers, etc., are great for an on the road sponge bath. Most Wallys allow camping as do all Cabelas and you can tent on the fringe sometimes. Personal safety is something to size up before putting down for the night and I don't infer Mexico when I say this. You are unable to do the next suggestion, but "senior coffee" @ Macs place is a part of a cheap bkfst-I usually get one burrito with it and makes for a cheap meal-you can also get a snack wrap on the cheap for lunch and mix it with your own drink.
    Some will be making fun of your approach to budget travel-I roaded for awhile with a guy in Mexico that initiated that he found it amusing that some seniors seem to always have a lemonade powder to put in their water to be skinflint diners-WELL, my Wife and I frequently do that! She has a reason, being that she is forced to avoid caffeine and it is problematic in some resturants as they don't have caffeine free drinks , other than water.I too like the stuff and as fixed income types we save lots on the meal by doing so. I say if the shoe doesn't fit, don't wear it!
    My biggest enemy for road camping/backpacking has always been the weather. There just is not a lot of fun in a wet night and packing up in the rain, so let me know when you get that one "figured out".
    The bottles are brand name"Platypus" and you can get them @ www.campmor.com
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  2. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious. Supporter

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    When you say Walmart and Cabelas allows camping, do you mean tent camping? Right out in the lot? Off to the side in the grass? I've frequently slept behind warehouses and other large buildings, but never an open business.

    As for camping in the rain--it doesn't work all the time, but try to find something like these places I found while it was raining:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The first one is next to some government office in Mexico, the second is behind a firehouse in Alabama (I think). The last picture is in a small building under construction to house phone equipment. In fact, there were bad storms that night and tornadoes. I slept fine.

    Of course, you can't always fine a roof when you need to, but sometimes you can.

    Jamie
    #22
  3. Eyes Shut

    Eyes Shut See no evil Super Supporter

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    Jamie Z: I have carried peanut butter, honey, and jam in the squeeze tubes, called Gerry Tubes, for backpacking (not all of these in one tube at the same time!). I would also put the Gerry tube inside of a zip-lock bag for extra assurance.

    I have carried margarine for backpacking trips for up to a week, with no apparent problems with the margarine going bad. But that was in the Sierras and the daytime temps were not blazing hot.

    According to my backpacking recipe/cook book, The Hungry Hiker's Book of Good Cooking, by Gretchen McHugh, she claims that margarine will not get rancid even in the hottest weather.

    If you don't like the taste of margarine, you can take clarified butter instead. It will last longer than regular butter, but not as long as margarine. To clarify butter, melt it gently, then pour the pure yellow liquid part into your container and let cool. (The remainder residue are the milk solids and you can use them at home for flavoring foods if you want.)

    Another alternative for a butter flavor are butter buds, which is the dried parts of butter without the fat. They can be used for flavoring but not for frying.
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  4. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    The atlas sold at Walmart lists which ones "allow" sleeping in the parking lot-usually this involves an RV, but I have stretched the envelope to include my tent when I could find a nice level spot in the grass. I have also set up my tent in the back of a Cracker Barrel in an "unsanctioned" effort to get some sleep. Churches frequently have nice oversized and well lit lawns where you can go back out of the way too. The Cabelas stores dont have an actual campsite, but they even go so far as to have kennels for your dogs with water, etc..With that in place I am sure they wont complain about a tent and I've used my pickup camper there several times.
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  5. QuickMule

    QuickMule Half-fast Adventurer

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    The foil pouches of tuna are easier to pack and eat from – soy sauce packets from Chinese fast food places like Panda Express are pretty good on otherwise dry tuna.

    If you’re not in a hurry, Maki was able to keep to her amazingly tight 3rd-world style food budget in the US by grazing the sample tables at Costcos all across the country. I’ve tried this since hearing her recommend it – not being an 80lb Japanese woman I doubt I could exist solely on little squares of lasagna, Cliff bars, Dixi cups of nuts, 3” dia. pancakes, etc. - but I can see where this would stretch out the gaps between an occasional pouch of tuna and a PB sandwich to enable me to eat on just a couple of bucks a day and still get good variety.
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  6. Ironrdr

    Ironrdr Pay No Attention... Supporter

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    Great tips, Jamie.

    Thanks for the write-up.
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  7. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious. Supporter

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    I'll look into the Gerry Tubes, thanks.

    Margarine tip is a good one. Carrying any sort of dairy product is difficult. I've played a bit with butter buds, and in addition to being rather expensive (like dried eggs, holy cow) I didn't find them very useful for cooking. We tried to make Macaroni and Cheese.

    I often sleep in churchyards, and it's mentioned in my article. Sleeping outside Walmart or Cabelas is a new one on me though.

    Good tip, but the tuna comes at a cost of about double a regular can of tuna. One must weigh budget vs. convenience here. Soy sauce is a good idea.

    Jamie
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  8. G.Gordon

    G.Gordon Nation of Frustration

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    Good info. I like traveling on the cheap even when I don't have to. Fuel is the biggest expense now days and it's my right wrist that is the culprit. Not flogging the beast would surely help stretch my travel dollars.


    Camping on the hills that highways cut through is safe and you'll not be bothered. This shot is on the side of hwy 190 in Texas just outside of Eldorado. Dinner consisted of a can of store brand chicken noodle soup, crackers, and raisins.

    [​IMG]
    #28
  9. EmilB

    EmilB Adventurer

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    If you're traveling, for a quick and easy breakfast, try the instant oatmeal packets. Now, I do realize that you said you don't carry a stove. No problem, at the next gas station, get some hot water from the coffee machine. The oatmeal packs are lined so they will hold the water, eat right from the packaging, and no dirty dishes. I've done this will traveling on the bike.
    #29
  10. nashopolis

    nashopolis Been here awhile

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    great thread!

    if churches are okay with camping, we here in middle TENN can sleep comfortable about every fifty feet.

    When sleeping outside of churches do you ask first? or just pitch and pray (so to speak)

    Also I know it is an answer which changes from trip to trip and person to person, but I was curious what you, Jamie Z, considered essential to take on trips. You mention packing light. But since I have'nt ever been successful at this art I wonder how light can you go before you start sacrificing significantly on the comfort level.

    I've never done it myself, but my punk roustabout friends are master dumpster divers. They always seem to pull out interesting things and free meals.

    They are also very clever in working out super cheap options at resturants...often by ordering sides or some obscure menu items which combined equal a regular meal on the menu for much less $.

    I agree it is really a mindset, once you start thinking outside the box, you can have a totally different set of choices.
    #30
  11. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious. Supporter

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    I've never asked permission to sleep outside of a church. Not because I'm being sneaky, but every time I've camped behind a church, nobody is there when I arrive, and nobody is there when I leave. I did once leave a note on a desk when I slept inside a church. The note had my contact info, but I never heard anything. I guess they were cool with it.

    I'll respond to the other half of your post a bit later.

    Jamie
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  12. rob1313

    rob1313 Still learning

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    Nice post Zman. I've been reading your stuff for awhile now. I'll be putting these ideas to good use this summer. Thanks a million.

    Rob
    #32
  13. Bigmak

    Bigmak Bornagin Realist

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    This is cool Zman.
    I grew up floating the streams of Missouri with my dad, brother, and dad's friends. We would pitch the thick tarp on the "chert" and sleep well. If rain came, the canoes held the tarp and we slept dry (and for free). I got Gerry panniers for my HS graduation. In between college I was art director of a 5 state Hunting and Fishing newspaper. It provided the money to upgrade my Schwinn to a Sports Tourer, and add more Gerry gear (early 1970's). I came to Oregon, at 19, with just my bike. I pedaled everywhere until I married at 21. In the early 90's I was doing a lot of bike touring, pitching tents in hidden places. I continued to seek the experience of our forefathers, and sleep for free. Once I got motorized again, I sought out "commando" camping. (These sound like your stories).
    But I write this to say I have 3 free campsites in the NW (Mt. St. Helens, Crater Lake, Hells Canyon) to provide our fellow travelers the experience our pioneers knew; not paying for sleep. I dream of a network of free camp sites for 2 wheeled travelers around the nation.
    #33
  14. pilot

    pilot ...

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    The Missouri Conservation Commission puts out a map with all the areas they own marked. Most of them, you can primitive camp for free. Other than during the busy hunting seasons, like deer and turkey, you have the place to yourself.
    #34
  15. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious. Supporter

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    My experience in Florida is that inland, there were plenty of places to pitch a tent. Near the beach and other touristy places, I couldn't find anywhere where I thought I would go unnoticed. The Keys, for example. I never found a good out-of-the-way place to sleep on the Keys.

    The only thing to worry about inland is that there are lots of low-lying areas and lots of agriculture. That can make it hard sometimes to find a good spot for stealth camping.

    Got any Florida relatives? Try couchsurfing?

    Jamie
    #35
  16. GaM

    GaM Long timer

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    I just did a search on Reserve America for St. Joseph Peninsula State Park for May 1 through May 31 and there was a ton of vacancies. :dunno
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  17. Frostback

    Frostback Frostback

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    Good post, great post. It is all about being self sufficient and economical. Some of my favorite tips:

    Remember that old speedo swimsuit your wife won't let you wear any more? they make great underware for motorcycling. Wash and dry quickly, don't wedgie at all and are light.

    Be very wary about camping on rights of ways. If drunken bush parties occur, you might find yourself under some truck axle by accident.

    Ramen noodles are about $.80 per pack and though salty, are quick and good. If you dont cook, use the hottest water in the truck stop bathroom or ask the waitress for a cup of hot water and there is supper.

    Farmers are generally cool folks (watch the farm dogs though) and if you stop in the evening and ask if you can camp over under a tree across their pasture (plain sight, a long way over) they usually will let you.

    Out of sight is out of mind. The middle of a grove of trees well off the road and the minimal use of lights will usually let you camp undetected but get out of there early in the morning. I always have a mild exageration on the tip of my tongue "Officer, I was simply too tired to safely ride anymo when darkness caught up with me" It is usually true too.



    Lee
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  18. kantuckid

    kantuckid Long timer

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    GaM- You are saying there are lots of camping spots in Florida in May-well guess why! All the snowbirds have gone home! Try the same search for late Nov thru Feb!!! Between the Canadians(no disrepect intended as they are nice folks , but do tie up the campsites something fierce!) and the oldies(like me and my wife) and the full timers(who are living and rotating amongst these various sites) it is pretty much impossible to find a spot in the dead of winter. The FL state park system keeps ,I think ,10% available for drive ups, but these are often NOT the best sites IMO. If anybody knows a solution please PM me so not too many people know about it! BTW, most state & national forests have free camping spots available , but understand that these are WO services.
    #38
  19. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    Thanks!

    I'm just back from a month on the road and I use some of your tips.

    Like the laundry soap...it works!

    I went without a stove, but wished I had kept it. Starting out in the cold weather is easier with something hot in the belly. One time I had to go 80 miles to get breakfast and I was very cold by then.

    Here are a couple of my tips. I've learned to eat dry granola type cereal in the am. I store it in a large square mayo container. It packs well. on short trips I have a smaller one.

    For my hot tea in the morn I carry sugar in a Tums bottle and powdered milk in a Vicks Formula 44 bottle. They are just the right size, and free.

    I prefer tuna from a can. It travels better. Mustard on tuna is tasty. Chicken can be had in the same small cans.

    I vary when I eat at a restaurant, but breakfast is a bargain. If I eat bkfst late I can eat fewer meals. When I eat supper at a real restaurant I take a doggy bag for bkfst or lunch the next day. So a $15 meal is now two meals. I get a dining experience and a cheaper meal.

    Rum and hot tea go together very well. This makes a nice hot toddy before bed.

    Hot sauce/salsa makes everything palatable.

    Thanks again for the tips.
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  20. Jamie Z

    Jamie Z I'm serious. Supporter

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    Good idea about the hot water. That's something I could do sans cooking gear. Though I think you're paying about 10x too much for Ramen. 'Round here, I've often seen it for 10/$1. Even regular price is 20-25 cents a pack.

    Not an ounce of nutrition, though. :D

    Great! Like to hear it. What laundry soap tip are you referring to? The rooting-around-in-the-trash to find detergent?

    I wish I had the ambition to carry a stove too... there are times when I'd like to have one. Other times, I'm glad I don't have the extra bulk.

    Who are you, Jessica Simpson? It's just called Chicken of the Sea. :huh

    $15 meal!? :eek1 And you had us all fooled into thinking you were a budget traveler. A $5 sandwich from Subway is dinner and lunch. I know what you mean though. Often, it's best to order the larger dish and use it for two meals for just a fraction more than something smaller.

    Quick story... I was traveling with my uber-tight friend Scott. We ate breakfast at a place in New Orleans which had an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast. The thing is, these pancakes were enormous. They started you with one. So we eat, Scott finished his pancake and asks the waitress if he can have another. She stops, "Are you serious? Nobody has ever asked for a second one." Scott assures her that he would like another and, this is all-you-can-eat, right? She brings a second one. Scott takes a few bites, then folds up the pancake and puts it in his pocket. :deal Scott also drinks the drain-water from his canned tuna. :puke1

    Jamie
    #40
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