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Old 01-06-06, 02:30 PM   #1
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self-contained solo camping tours at 50+

Any of you tried this ? If so, how did it go comfort-wise ? Especially interested in whether you used panniers or a trailer and other s details about your equipment.
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Old 01-06-06, 02:53 PM   #2
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I've had touring equipment for years, but never got around to touring (tent, panniers, etc.). I don't think I'd go that way any more. I'd much rather have a nice hotel room waiting with a hot shower, nice bed, and a cocktail lounge! Expensive though (compared to self-contained, anyway).

I am seriously thinking of touring the Carolina's. I'd like to do a Carolina's BBQ tour -- visiting all the famous BBQ Pit places, with a hotel room each night. One can dream.
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Old 01-06-06, 03:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by oldcrank
I've had touring equipment for years, but never got around to touring (tent, panniers, etc.). I don't think I'd go that way any more. I'd much rather have a nice hotel room waiting with a hot shower, nice bed, and a cocktail lounge! Expensive though (compared to self-contained, anyway).

I am seriously thinking of touring the Carolina's. I'd like to do a Carolina's BBQ tour -- visiting all the famous BBQ Pit places, with a hotel room each night. One can dream.
Now that is a terrific idea!! Travel some really great backroads and end the day with some delicious BBQ. What motivation to keep going during the day. There are some excellent "no-name" BBQ joints across the NC/SC as well. Plus you could get a variety of sauces ranging from Western to Eastern, mustard, etc. There's also a BBQ chicken place here and there that would be worth the stop.

The problem for me would be that I'm a real sucker for fresh hush puppies and banana pudding and would have a really hard time not putting on weight!!!

Ever notice how these threads always seem to wind up getting to food .......
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Old 01-06-06, 04:44 PM   #4
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Problem with camping is the weight of the panniers, pannier bags, tent, cooking equipment and sleeping bag. Then there is the instability. I know you can buy lightweight equipment, but that is expensive. A bob trailer will cure the instability if you really want to go this route, but even that will be a bit on the weighty side. Booked B&B sounds the best idea, but I have only ever done one trip like this so what do I know.

We kept it lightweight between 3 of us so we each carried a bit of the weight. Big mistake was carrying it in Rucksacks as we could only manage 60 miles a day before the backs got tired, but that was offroad. Did not use tents or sleeping bags as it was the height of summer with warm nights. We used a survival bag and a track suit to stay warm, but the best nights (2 out of the 6) were spent in farmers barns, and of course the Farmhouse breakfast next morning. Midday meals were spent at pubs and we did find decent restaurants for the evening- but that cooking gear was required for coffee, and one night we trapped 3 rabbits and open fire cooked them.

Another way that we are planning for a few years time in France- is for the wives to take a car along the route and find campsites for each nights stop. Then they can put up the tent, cook the meals, and do the sight seeing bit on the way. Seems more sensible.
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Old 01-06-06, 05:03 PM   #5
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Another way that we are planning for a few years time in France- is for the wives to take a car along the route and find campsites for each nights stop. Then they can put up the tent, cook the meals, and do the sight seeing bit on the way. Seems more sensible.
That is the way I'd like to do the Blue Ridge Parkway if I can talk my son or wife into doing the shuttling. We had hoped to do it this past summer but the timing just didn't work for us. I don't mind doing the miles each day as long as I don't have to lug bags on panniers on some of those climbs!!
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Old 01-06-06, 06:13 PM   #6
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Sign me up for that BBQ tour. Sounds like my kind of ride.

As for the original question, years ago, when I was touring I went the pannier / minimalist route. I have been getting the itch lately to do some touring. I would probably still use the panniers. I don't think I would ever carry enough gear for the trailer. I did happen along a fellow that used a trailer. Carried his gear. Up hill his dog ran along side, down hill the dog rode. As I recall, I think they entered negotations about the flats. Bob
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Old 01-06-06, 11:28 PM   #7
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The secret for me is a good mattress and some way to bathe. I backpacked and camped with minimal equipment (not bike-based) until I was in my 40s and my knees gave out. I started cycling then, and still (I'll be 61 in a couple of weeks) sleep in a tent at century rides and other events while most of my friends have moved to motor homes or fifth wheels.
I'm not opposed to a Holiday Inn, and often do stay in motels if they're available. Spending tens of thousands of dollars for an RV to save $75 a night on a room just doesn't appeal to me, though.
My No. 1 item is a comfortable place to sleep. I use a ThermaRest mattress, a thick one, and a roomy sleeping bag from REI. I'm stiff in the mornings anyway, and those two things reduce my get-up-and-dressed time by half. I bought a decent three-season tent (recommended in Consumer Reports) for less than $100 to replace my old backpacking tent. "Three person" or "four person" tents are just about right for two people, or one and a bicycle. Two-person tents are adequate for one, no bike, and on solo trips or when somebody else carries another tent, I use one of those.
On trips, I eat breakfast (my favorite meal) in restaurants, usually, grab a sandwich or fruit for lunch, munch along the way. To cook when necessary, I have a two-burner Coleman camp stove (if we have a car along) or my old lightweight backpacking stove, though the older I get the better those restaurants look. I did a four-day tour last fall, though, self-contained (with two other guys) except for fresh food bought along the way. We're all experienced camp cooks, and we ate pretty well.
I don't like to ride with anything on my back, even a Camelback. You can get a LOT of stuff into a big saddlebag, like a Carradice or Baggins Hoss (www.rivbike.com). I sometimes use a rear rack with sleeping bag lashed to it, and I have a small set of panniers, not much bigger than a couple of lunchboxes, for incidentals. Anything I'll need on the way goes into a good-sized handlebar bag (Hobo bag, also from rivbike.com). But we don't usually carry food for more than one meal, which saves a lot of space and weight.
I've never used a trailer and just sort of reflexively don't like the idea, but everybody I know who's tried one liked it, so I'm probably wrong. Part of the key for me is that when I was hiking, my expectations were REALLY low, so I can get by without much gear. It's just that first half hour in the morning that kicks my @ss.
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Old 01-07-06, 05:03 AM   #8
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The secret for me is a good mattress and some way to bathe.
Very good point. A good hot shower sure does solve a lot of my woes.
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Old 01-07-06, 06:16 PM   #9
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I'm all over the Hot Shower Idea. I gave up trying to sleep on the ground awhile back when the arthritis set into the shoulders and neck. Bought a truck and camper. Added a bike rack on the hitch this year.

A tour sounds great,tho. In fact, next year I will be visiting cousins in Austria and we plan to ride the Danube from Passau to Vienna. Should be somewhat of a coast, I'm told. Sounds perfect - B&B's all the way with incredible food. All pre-arranged by my relatives who cycle quite a bit.

All I have to bring is my Brooks.
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Old 01-07-06, 07:11 PM   #10
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I've got the touring bug - I'm 61 and started 4 summers ago. So far I've put on 13,000 kms - all the way across Canada, and 2/3 of the way from the Gulf of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean. Not too bad for a big ole fat guy! I'd have finished it this year, but developed a heart problem (atrial fibrillation). It's under control now and the doc. says I can resume this summer.

I prefer to do a mixture of camping and motelling. So I carry full camping equipment (4 person tent - if I'm cooped up on a rainy day I like the extra space; lots of room for my bags overnight -- backpacking stove - if I buy a meal its usually lunch, tho that doesn't happen on the Alaska highway; good thermalrest and a small camping pillow - I just wasn't sleeping comfortably with rolled up jackets, etc. ) But if I come across a motel at the end of a hard day (or if its too wet, or buggy, or cold...any excuse will do) I'll motel it. The shower and a/c are welcome. Most campgrounds offer hot showers; and if they don't, I'll do the sponge bath thing in my tent, and be very refreshed.

Another policy I have is to always wash out my cycling clothes at the end of every day (I carry 2 complete changes) - usually the washed set isn't completely dry by the next morning. So I always have dry, fresh clothes.

I swear by a camelback - I think they're the way to go.

The reasons I've gone the panniers route rather than the trailer are: - extra weight to lug up hills; - another spare tire and tube to carry; - extra shipping fees (bus or plane); - extra drag on gravel roads (the Dempster highway is 735 km of gravel)

No doubt there's lots of things I've missed. I really encourage you to go...its a fabulous way to spend a summer. Sure, ya gotta make some concessions to age, but doing nothing is not one of them.
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Old 01-07-06, 07:16 PM   #11
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The problem for me would be that I'm a real sucker for fresh hush puppies and banana pudding and would have a really hard time not putting on weight!!!
Putting on weight has never been a problem for me when on loaded tours...eating enough to keep my energy level up is the problem!
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Old 01-07-06, 08:08 PM   #12
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So everyone, if you could leave in the morning to start your tour -- and it could be anywhere you choose -- where would you choose to tour and why?
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Old 01-07-06, 10:17 PM   #13
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I would like to ride the KATY Trail, Clinton MO to St Charles MO.
I used to live in Oregon and touring along the coast would be great.
We camped in Mississippi. in 94. There was a road that went form Mississippi to Tennessee. I think it was called the Netez Chase trail. It was uncommercialized.
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Old 01-07-06, 10:33 PM   #14
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Like I said: The Danube - it's down hill and it's not here.
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Old 01-07-06, 10:35 PM   #15
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Today? Australia - it's summer time down under!
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Old 01-08-06, 04:28 PM   #16
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Of course you can do it
I used panniers and a handle bar bag total wgt 33#. My FIRST and longest ride 4500KMs in Europe summer '04, Sitting in the Miami airport at 11PM waiting to board AF to paris thought are you sure about this?
Boarded plane and as soon as I hit the seat all nervousness passed
You will have the greatest experiences and meet the nicest, friendliest folks
Didn't do any camping that trip
But as soon as I returned in Sept '04 loaded bike in truk and took off for SF,Ca and rode SF to Malibu moteled 2 nites camped the rest slept like a log cept for a couple o nites when the sea lions barked most of the nite. woke up most mornings with the Pacific Ocean just outside my tent flap

Go, enjoy, and remember for the rest of your life
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Old 01-08-06, 04:30 PM   #17
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BTW WAAAAY past 60 here
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Old 01-08-06, 10:51 PM   #18
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I cheat. I ride a Bacchetta Strada, a dual 26" wheel recumbent. The panniers are mounted under the seat, between the wheels and a few inches above the pavement. The bike is more stable fully loaded than when empty. Plus, it's more comfortable than any chair I have at home.

It really is cheating.

I turned fifty last year, and plan to continue weekend touring. No reason to stop. If the wife lets me, I will take off for a week next summer.
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Old 01-09-06, 03:06 AM   #19
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Next to the PCH, months later, the Danube Trail I rode was the best part of my trip
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Old 01-09-06, 11:07 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by 1-track-mind
Any of you tried this ? If so, how did it go comfort-wise ? Especially interested in whether you used panniers or a trailer and other s details about your equipment.
At 50+ you're still a youngster and cycle/camping should be well inside your capabilities. A good tent which is light and roomy and a thick thermarest are important if you want to be comfortable and rested. Panniers and perhaps a barbag should be all you need but don't overload yourself.
I'm 66 years' old and have cycle/camped for thirty years. Now, due to health problems I've been forced to give it up and I can't tell you how much it hurts. Do it while you can.
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Old 05-12-07, 08:25 PM   #21
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So everyone, if you could leave in the morning to start your tour -- and it could be anywhere you choose -- where would you choose to tour and why?
Greece. Italy south of Rome (nobody goes there; it's cheap and it's still Italy). Wales or Ireland (bring a raincoat). Scotland (bring two raincoats). Anywhere where there's not a lot of car traffic.
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Old 05-12-07, 08:51 PM   #22
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Greece. Italy south of Rome (nobody goes there; it's cheap and it's still Italy). Wales or Ireland (bring a raincoat). Scotland (bring two raincoats). Anywhere where there's not a lot of car traffic.
My choice would have to be England. Maybe to track down my ancestors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levi_and_Matilda_Stanley
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Old 05-12-07, 08:54 PM   #23
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My choice would have to be England. Maybe to track down my ancestors. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Levi_and_Matilda_Stanley
Odd Fellows and horse traders. Why am I not surprised?
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Old 05-12-07, 09:07 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by oldcrank
I've had touring equipment for years, but never got around to touring (tent, panniers, etc.). I don't think I'd go that way any more. I'd much rather have a nice hotel room waiting with a hot shower, nice bed, and a cocktail lounge! Expensive though (compared to self-contained, anyway).

I am seriously thinking of touring the Carolina's. I'd like to do a Carolina's BBQ tour -- visiting all the famous BBQ Pit places, with a hotel room each night. One can dream.
Call it Le Tour de Cholesterol
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Old 05-12-07, 09:07 PM   #25
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Odd Fellows and horse traders. Why am I not surprised?
My kids say it's really evident I have some gypsy blood. One of the things I really love about having these ancestors is I can honestly tell some people to "Kiss my royal a__"
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