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  1. #1
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    Vacation/Weekend Getaways

    A poster on another thread asks how we do these things w/o a car and while I feel no need to defend myself this was a topic I was thinking of starting anyway, so here goes.

    How does everyone else handle vacations/getaways car-free?Personally, I was never one for long vacations staying in hotels, spending vast quantities of cash etc. ,as the tourism industry would have everyone do ,even when I had a car.These days, for me ,taking an extended bike ride is a vacation and as a result I have bike toured and camped all over Florida in recent years. Again ,I actually prefer frequent shorter "long weekend" getaways to extended vacations and like to camp,hike and backpack as well as bike, so this winter/spring I have been combining all into my trips.For example, I biked 80 miles each way ,with my backpack attached to the rear rack of my bike, to backpack 30+miles at Big Cyprus Natl. Preserve over a long weekend.On another trip it was more like 40 miles each way to backpack at a Wildlife Mngt. Area in the northern Everglades.

    I guess the fact that I live in a state known for tourism and am w/i walking distance,for me anyway,of the beach and Everglades and w/i long weekend biking distance of the Keys makes this all doable ,but I admit many sacrifices and challenges are involved in making this lifestyle happen .I personally find it kind of ironic that most of the backpackers on a certain other forum seem to travel by car/plane an average at least a thousand miles for every 5 miles backpacked.This does not make sense to me, I start and end all my trips/travels at my front door and go self propelled.This makes even a trip to the grocery a hike and the return a backpack. Finally, I have no need to go anywhere I can't get to by bike(or on foot) ,it is all about choices and that is my choice.

  2. #2
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    I fly.

    The vacations I take are out of the country, but once I get to that country, I ride my bike throughout, or else I jump a train and/or ferry if I need to get someplace really far away.

    Koffee

  3. #3
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    I very often on weekends drive to very remote Wilderness areas, this often requires long stretchs on freeways, backroads and finally (only established & legal) dirt and 4WD roads which are often rough. At the Wilderness boundaries I may car camp the first night I arrive and backpack for 1-2 remaining nights. I explore, document, measure, survey and look for threats and take many photographs which I have used in slideshows, newsletters and displays for advocacy and education.

    I don't know how I could possibly do this without a motorized vehicle.

    Al

  4. #4
    winter is comming BenyBen's Avatar
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    Noisebeam, Ne need to get defensive... The question was:
    "How does everyone else handle vacations/getaways car-free?"

    Not

    "Come explain why you need to drive to your vacations"

    I'm sure your reasons for using a motorized vehicle are valid, and I don't call you evil for it. Can we simply have a discussion on how the car-free (or would-be car free) can discuss about helpfull things on dealing with vacation?

  5. #5
    Ha Ha! Boss. SpokesInMyPoop's Avatar
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    I like to get drunk on the amtrak

    edit: and they let you take bikes on board! Even on the bus! ('s like $5)
    Roll of quarters... wait, that's not a roll of- AH! There it is!

  6. #6
    Sophomoric Member Roody's Avatar
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    I have not taken an annual "vacation" in about 3 years, due to family illness. Instead, I have arranged my work schedule so that I have 5 or 6 days off in a row every month. I go up north to visit my dad and sister, who live in a beautiful resort town about 200 miles away. (Traverse City, MI). I get a ride (or take a city bus) to the Greyhound station in Lansing, and I get picked up by my sister or a friend at the bus station in Traverse City. While there, I do drive my dad's car (he cannot drive) and do a lot of his errands and shopping. Normally, this is the only time I ever drive anymore. Just last week, my sister bought a new bike, so I now have a bike, her old one, that I can ride while I am up there. This used to be my "bike-free" vacation, but from now on I will ride even more than usual while I am up there.

  7. #7
    Dare to be weird!
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    I just got back from a two week vacation in East Texas. My original plan was to rent a compact car and take my folding bike. The car rental place was running short on small cars so they offered me a free upgrade to larger car. So I was able to take my full size bike.

    One reason I did it that way was because I hadn't driven at all for over two years and I was starting to feel that I needed to practice driving a little.

    It was pretty expensive though. In hindsight it would have been perfectly feasible to take the folding bike (in a bag) on Greyhound to the nearest town with a bus stop and ride to my destination two towns over (about 30 miles). I didn't do it that way because I hadn't been to that area before, and I didn't know the exact traffic and road conditions. (Both of which would have been just fine, but I didn't know that until I got there.)

    Another concept I've had is to just show up in a city on Greyhound with nothing but an air pump and a bag of bike tools. The thing about bus stations is they are usually really close to a pawn shop where you can pick up a beater bike. Repair as needed, ride it around all you want, then either ditch it or re-pawn it for $5 on your way back. At least that's the concept.

  8. #8
    MY BICYCLE IS MY CAR! SecretSatellite's Avatar
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    theres so much to do in my area i dont really take vacations. any place i want to get to i can ride or take the bus or train or a combination. i'm going hosteling this summer and i'll be using greyhound. i dont like that to appear affluent you have to take a vacation, like a vacation is anything other than a luxury.
    Coffee is good, coffee is great.
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  9. #9
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    I haven't taken many vacations yet, but it looks like all the major cities in the Northeast have fairly good public transit and Amtrak goes there. However, I will rent a car to go places where there isn't good public transit. If I can fly there, I'll get a car there, and if flying isn't easy, I'll rent a car and drive there. One day, I'll probably rent a car and drive all the way to California over three days or so. Probably stop to see the grand canyon for the second time, (first time when I was 10), and meteor crater, the desert. Maybe circle back up to Yosemite National Park. Maybe a 2-3 week road trip with stops. Of course, some people make the cross country trip by bike. I might do that some day, but that would be even further into the future.

  10. #10
    Al noisebeam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BenyBen
    Noisebeam, Ne need to get defensive... The question was:
    "How does everyone else handle vacations/getaways car-free?"

    Not

    "Come explain why you need to drive to your vacations"

    I'm sure your reasons for using a motorized vehicle are valid, and I don't call you evil for it. Can we simply have a discussion on how the car-free (or would-be car free) can discuss about helpfull things on dealing with vacation?
    I guess I wasn't trying to be defensive to y'all, maybe more to myself - thinking out loud about how it would be nice to be carless (i.e. get rid of my SUV I only use on weekends), but the trade offs it would entail. Also there is the conflict I have about needing to drive, pollute, use roads, to both enjoy but also promote wilderness.

    Al

  11. #11
    Velocipedic Practitioner
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    My longer vacations are generally overseas, so I take the bus to the airport and back. Relieves me of all the parking headaches, timing, etc. Once in Europe, public transport is THE way to go (if not by bike). Most camping weekend trips I do right out my front door on my bike, such as visiting a state park, lake or other location not more than 150 miles round trip, usually much shorter. However, I really love to travel, so I will google a good airfare, select a city in the USA or Canada I've never been to before, and take a long weekend using the same method I use for my European trips. Once, I wanted to see something in the open areas of Montana (I live in North Carolina), so I took an early evening flight to Billings on a Friday night, where I spent two nights. I rented a car Saturday morning to visit the site then turned the car in when I got back and spent the rest of the day and night exploring Billings. Flew back home on Sunday morning.
    Other forms of transportation grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart. - Iris Murdoch

  12. #12
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    I just got back from a "weekend getaway" (in actuality a biz trip that just happened to be in wine country, hic!) and took my Awesome SUV (tm) which I just calculated did 25MPH (it has a bitty engine) and I had to carry stuff, but if I were going just for fun, I think I'd want to take my bike and go by train, if a train runs up there.

    I may be looking into buying land or a house or something up there, and for that, yes, I'll probably rent a car (I plan to not have the SUV much longer) because that's just how things are structured right now. A car really is useful for getting around in a lot of cases. But, I'd still like to take a bike, if I'd had my bike with me on this last trip I'd have been able to really explore the town of Middletown which is a really cool place. As it is I walked around a bit, but even a 20" BMX bike would have been a blast to have along.

  13. #13
    Dare to be weird!
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    For carfree people who live near the Mexican border, Guanajuato is just about as good a vacation getaway as it gets. It's inexpensive, very walkable, and a lot of the downtown car traffic has been routed through old underground mine shafts, leaving the downtown area a sizeable carfree zone (yay!!).

    I got there by taking Greyhound to Laredo TX, then buying a ticket on a Mexican bus line to Guanajuato. (Transportes del Norte, I think). The Mexican bus was cleaner than Greyhound.
    The ride was 15 hours from the border to the interior, but the cost was only about $80. You can also fly to Leon and take a long taxi ride to Guanajuato, but that's waaay more expensive.

  14. #14
    Tenacious Advocate Robert Raburn's Avatar
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    For quick get-aways from Oakland I use local bike-friendly transit or Amtrak California (unboxed bikes allowed aboard all Capitol, San Joaquin, Pacific Surfliner trains AND connecting buses). Seasonal transit schedules are worth watching as service expands to many popular destinations like Yosemite, Angel Island, Monterey/Carmel, Black Rock City in the summer and ski areas in the winter.

    On occasion Greyhound has been a last resort for a return leg with a boxed bike. However, I note that their recent service cuts makes many past adventures impossible. See: http://www.strayhound.com/scorecard/. I hope that Green Tortoise Adventure Travel (note: Burning Man-Black Rock City service) and other carriers take advantage of this rural public transit disaster. Bulletin boards at local hostels and colleges often highlight vacation transit service.

    Getting to many wilderness trailheads by public transit, however, seems to be growing more difficult. Access to the Eastern Sierra Nevada range is particularly problematic. For example, when the road from Mammoth to Devil's Postpile National Monument was paved, car travel replaced local buses that served numerous trailheads. Let your congressional rep know that the NPS could be a leader in encouraging public transit to National Parks, rather than paving more parking lots and view turnouts.
    SF Bay Area Rapid Transit District http://www.bart.gov/about/bod/index.aspx

  15. #15
    34x25 FTW! oboeguy's Avatar
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    Does backpacking around Europe for a month count? No bikes, but we caught a couple of Tour stages on the way. Didn't drive a mile though we did get a ride to / from one airport. The rest was mass transit. Europe is nice that way.

    Question about packing a folder on a Greyhound: how?? I have only my soft Dahon bag. There's no way I'd put my bike under the bus with the rest of the luggage in that.
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  16. #16
    Tenacious Advocate Robert Raburn's Avatar
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    Hey Oboe:
    With due respect, my precious folder would be worthless if it couldn't be stashed in a bus luggage bay. The known record for unboxed full-sized bikes in a single Amtrak California bus luggage bay is eight. This occured on the popular San Jose-Santa Cruz service. If scratches are a concern, you can wrap a piece of carpet remnant around vulnerable parts. Even though I take good care of my bikes, I don't bother (some friends accuse me of "licking my bikes clean"). Why? To put it in a cost perspective, I can powder-coat a frame each year for less than most people pay for car insurance, an airline ticket, a few tanks of gas, or ...?
    SF Bay Area Rapid Transit District http://www.bart.gov/about/bod/index.aspx

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Platy
    Another concept I've had is to just show up in a city on Greyhound with nothing but an air pump and a bag of bike tools. The thing about bus stations is they are usually really close to a pawn shop where you can pick up a beater bike. Repair as needed, ride it around all you want, then either ditch it or re-pawn it for $5 on your way back. At least that's the concept.
    I always take my bike on trains when touring. Lately, I'm thinking of going taking the folder on Greyhound because it goes to different locations. This will certainly be an option once I get tired of using trains which is still a far way from now.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by oboeguy
    Question about packing a folder on a Greyhound: how?? I have only my soft Dahon bag. There's no way I'd put my bike under the bus with the rest of the luggage in that.
    http://www.dahon.com/luggage.htm

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