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Old 07-02-17, 07:56 PM   #76
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Anyway, NO, I didn't actually try camping. I tried hanging out in the open air after dark and was reminded that it's never a pleasant experience for me. I'm glad I did it before I bought a cheap tent and pitched it out at the Eastern Long Island Kampground or some other place that's probably loaded with flying and crawling monsters.

Thank you again for your input, everybody. I know some of you avid campers are disappointed to have failed at convincing me, but it's all good. My relief at having come to my senses far outweighs my disappointment.

I don't know about others, but I certainly don't spend much, if any time "hanging out in the open air after dark" when I camp.

But hey, any excuse ... right?

Personally, I'm not overly fond of camping either, but it doesn't have anything to do with the non-existent issue of bugs. And I will do it and will even enjoy it from time to time. It is worth actually trying.
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Old 07-02-17, 08:52 PM   #77
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Tom, its a tough one here, you have now written that you dont want to try it, but the fact is that for folks that dont grow up doing outdoor activities involving camping, at least the friends I have who are like you, there really is a mindset of how awful it is, will be, and thats the end of it.

I have a couple of friends who just have it set in their minds that camping will be uncomfortable, and generally a hardship--part of this comes from never having done it, and therefore not having the instincts of what to do, what not to do. The whole bug thing you mention is pretty common with "city folk" who have never had to deal with bugs, for those of us who have been doing outdoor stuff, we tend to know what stuff to wear when its buggy, when to be out and not in a tent--all things that make it bearable.

I dont like getting bitten by bugs any more than anyone else, but I know that wearing long pants and long sleeves and a hat will help a lot, but there are times when as machka mentioned, I just dont hang out after dark, and especially not at that dusk period.
On bike trips when camping, Ive been pretty lucky in that most of my trips have been in places where the bugs werent an issue (France, West Coast of USA) however, my childhood hiking and canoe camping experiences had some awful bug situations, where I sure as heck learned how to deal with them, and also, learn WHEN not to be out in a given area, ie in blackfly season, or mozzie areas that were just awful.

different areas can be so diff bug wise, and unfortunately there are times when the bugs are so bad, you just stay in your tent, which is never that fun.

realistically though, on a bike trip, ending the day in mid to late afternoon in summer time will give you lots of time to set up tent, shower, wash clothes in shower or sink, hang them up and make supper and wash up before dusk when there may or not be bugs coming out. Ive always been so tired anyway that hanging out after dark (9pm lets say) was never an option.

again, you've come on the internet to get strangers to convince you to do something that you havent done in your life before, and dont really want to do, and have come to the conclusion that its really not what you want to do....thats perfectly ok, I guess you just make me think of my friends who view camping as this torture type situation, but as they never ever did it in their lives, not sleeping in a bed and not having any idea of what and how to deal with bugs.
Years ago we finally convinced some friends to come camping with us , their kids were the same age as ours. The husband hated camping but finally agreed to his wifes convincing. Totally bad luck, they had a cheapo tent, there were horrendous thunderstorms and heavy heavy rain, they got swamped out in the tent, sleeping bags got soaked, and the wife even got some poison ivy....this bad luck experience completely and totally confirmed for him that camping was nuts....but if they had had a good tent, they wouldnt have gotten wet, if they hadn't put their tent up in a dip they wouldnt have been in a giant puddle, if they didnt have old cotten type sleeping bags it wouldnt have been so bad, if the wife knew what poison ivy looked like, she wouldnt have gotten into it.....lots of "ifs", but the sad thing is that it ended up being a situation that just confirmed his view of camping---but it could have been fine too....

the thing is, it doesnt have to be bad, if the weather and campsite are reasonable, it can be wonderful, but it certainly does come down to your whole life view of what is "acceptable" or " comfortable".
One of my best friends poo poos even a basic motel, and diff people have completely different views of what is an acceptable place to sleep, and quite frankly, as "first world" folks, we have life pretty damn easy compared to most people in the world, and what some people think is a "requirement" or "minimum" in their lives for all kinds of things can be, well, very "first world".
I know I am very privileged being born where I was, didnt mean to bring this topic into this whole area, and hope it didnt come across in the wrong way.

enjoy your bike traveling no matter where you sleep.
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Old 07-03-17, 02:38 AM   #78
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It's good thing no one mentioned bears or snakes.
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Old 07-03-17, 04:13 AM   #79
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Maybe at 54, I'm too old for this? Somebody talk some sense into me!
You and your drama again. A few yeas ago you proclaimed that you felt you only had one tour left in you.

I crossed the country with a guy who turned 77 during the trip.

I am 52. Just got back yesterday from two weeks of touring, camping and cooking in hilly MT and ID.
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Old 07-03-17, 04:30 AM   #80
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It's good thing no one mentioned bears or snakes.
I mentioned bears. Just trying to be helpful.
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Old 07-03-17, 04:47 AM   #81
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Tom, its a tough one here, you have now written that you dont want to try it, but the fact is that for folks that dont grow up doing outdoor activities involving camping, at least the friends I have who are like you, there really is a mindset of how awful it is, will be, and thats the end of it...
Thanks for your very thoughtful response. I totally understand the bit about not doing camping "right" and how that can permanently shape ones view on it. However, because I only planned to do it once, I did not plan to do it "right."

I was going to purchase the cheapest tent I could find and MAYBE supplement it with some type of small folding air mattress. I've been told that the cheapo tents are not such great protection against insects, and that's a very big deal to me because when I get bitten, I get BITTEN, and it can take me a week or two to recover.

I grew up in the "country," too, and bugs have always been a problem for me. I guess I forgot that for the one brief moment I posted this thread. Now even the guys I escaped on another forum are taking pot shots at me for trying to be real. Can I delete this thread and pretend it never happened?
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Old 07-03-17, 04:57 AM   #82
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@Papa Tom

You have to understand that every single word you say in any internet forum will be dissected and scrutinized. If it appears that you are a mosquito sucking the life-blood out of a thread, you will start to raise some eyebrows. The less-patient folks will begin the snarkiness. The kinder folks will write a lot of words and skirt around the issue in an attempt to get you to nut-up and be a man.

Here it is: You won't get experience here. You'll only get opinions. Weigh those opinions and go get your own experience. This was supposed to be a bucket-list item for you. Go do it for real and then check it off your list.
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Old 07-03-17, 06:59 AM   #83
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I mentioned bears. Just trying to be helpful.
I must have missed it.

One of the problems with bike camping is that you have to share the campground with car campers who on the whole are pleasant, but I remember camping in a CA state park north of Los Angeles, on a Saturday night. The park ranger had a gun, and he explained that a lot of drunken yahoos show up on weekends, and that I should be careful.

The next morning I heard some of the drunks complaining that they had run out of beer and were arguing who should get more beer. One of them took off on the morning beer run. I meanwhile packed up my bike and rode. Fifteen minutes later I saw police cars and helicopters. There down at the bottom of a cliff was the car with the drunken driver.

There are worse things than insects in some campgrounds.
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Old 07-03-17, 12:44 PM   #84
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Can I delete this thread and pretend it never happened?
Yes.
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Old 07-03-17, 12:45 PM   #85
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@Papa Tom

Here it is: You won't get experience here. You'll only get opinions. Weigh those opinions and go get your own experience. This was supposed to be a bucket-list item for you. Go do it for real and then check it off your list.

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Old 07-03-17, 12:47 PM   #86
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It's good thing no one mentioned bears or snakes.
Rowan and I camped in one spot with signs all around about the snakes. Once in the tent that night, I didn't leave it for any reason, and I was concerned that we'd pack up the tent and find a snake underneath keeping warm.

But ... I didn't see a single snake then.

However, despite the fact that I react rather badly to mosquitoes, snakes worry me more!
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Old 07-03-17, 01:21 PM   #87
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It's always good to take stuff off the bucket list, even if it turns out it didn't really belong there in the first place.

IMO bike camping is a mix of two activities both of which are fun, but I find they don't mix all that well. I consider camping on a bike tour to be a situational plan B, either to save dough, or for access to a place where there aren't other options.

It's like peanut butter and jelly.

Some people like either.
Some people like both (or neither)
But just because someone likes both peanut butter and jelly, doesn't mean that they like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.
I also look use camping for the convenience factor. For example some times it is just easier the camp than try to grab a room. The Greenbrier Trail for example, most places to stay are a steep climb off the trail Parts of the GAP can be like that too.

Plus if I camp in popular areas then I usually don't need to worry about a place to stay, especially if the campground has hiker / biker policy. I already decided if I ever tour Yellowstone, I will camp so I do't need to make reservations a year ahead. Plus camping would make you itinerary a lot more flexible.
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Old 07-03-17, 01:22 PM   #88
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I must have missed it.

One of the problems with bike camping is that you have to share the campground with car campers who on the whole are pleasant, but I remember camping in a CA state park north of Los Angeles, on a Saturday night. The park ranger had a gun, and he explained that a lot of drunken yahoos show up on weekends, and that I should be careful.

The next morning I heard some of the drunks complaining that they had run out of beer and were arguing who should get more beer. One of them took off on the morning beer run. I meanwhile packed up my bike and rode. Fifteen minutes later I saw police cars and helicopters. There down at the bottom of a cliff was the car with the drunken driver.

There are worse things than insects in some campgrounds.
And sometimes the insects have more brains.
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Old 07-03-17, 01:31 PM   #89
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Plus if I camp in popular areas then I usually don't need to worry about a place to stay, especially if the campground has hiker / biker policy. I already decided if I ever tour Yellowstone, I will camp so I do't need to make reservations a year ahead. Plus camping would make you itinerary a lot more flexible.
Policy or not I've never been turned away when I showed up on a bike. I was cycle camping long before sites created bike policies, and it was obvious to rangers and site managers that I didn't have the option of going very far to look for alternate lodging.

The closest I came was when one did refuse me, but his co-worker interceded and tole him he was nuts, and found me a place. However, there were instances when I could camp, but not have a fire. It's never been an issue, because there's always someone who let me double up.
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Old 07-03-17, 01:38 PM   #90
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...There down at the bottom of a cliff was the car with the drunken driver.

....
I'll make a note to never set up camp at the foot of a cliff.
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Old 07-03-17, 02:00 PM   #91
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However, there were instances when I could camp, but not have a fire. It's never been an issue, because there's always someone who let me double up.
In Australia, that will be pretty much every instance. Camping with fire is just not done.


On longer tours we'll usually carry a tent and camping equipment so that we have the option of camping if we want or need to. We have been in a situation where all the hotels, B&Bs etc. were taken, so we ended up in a campground. Although the campground wasn't brilliant, it was a good thing we had the stuff with us for that option.

I have also been in a situation where the campground turned me away because they were full, then told me I could pitch a tent on that small patch of grass over there, but could not use any of the facilities (toilets, etc.). We were also told that everything in town was full and that would be our only option. In that situation, my cycling partner and I went round the corner to a nearly-empty hostel where we got beds for just slightly more than the patch of grass with no facilities would have been ... and the hostel was the cleanest and quietest hostel I've ever been in!! That place was pristine!

So ... it can go both ways.
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Old 07-03-17, 02:21 PM   #92
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Policy or not I've never been turned away when I showed up on a bike. I was cycle camping long before sites created bike policies, and it was obvious to rangers and site managers that I didn't have the option of going very far to look for alternate lodging.

The closest I came was when one did refuse me, but his co-worker interceded and tole him he was nuts, and found me a place. However, there were instances when I could camp, but not have a fire. It's never been an issue, because there's always someone who let me double up.

We were lucky enough to get a site a Watoga State Park on the Greenbrier. But I asked if they had a hiker / biker policy. The man running the site told me they have none but if I were ever down that way and needed a place, just wait till after 6PM when he leave for the day and there is no one there to turn me away.

Lots of private campgrounds have no such policy. I know the one smack in the middle of the Pine Creek Trail does not. Many times I tried to book there last minute and was denied. I asked about hiker/ biker and she had no such policy. In my option here is no reason any campground can't have at least a limited policy. There is almost always a section that goes unused where you can have primitive camping.
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Old 07-03-17, 03:20 PM   #93
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.... In my option here is no reason any campground can't have at least a limited policy. There is almost always a section that goes unused where you can have primitive camping.
Since I started touring long before it was common and anybody bothered making policies for bicyclists, I lived by adaptability and persuasion, along with basically good human nature.

As I said, I've never been denied a place to sleep, but had plenty of interesting experiences.

One of my favorites involved trying to find either a sheltered place to camp, or an alternative in a medium sized town upstate. There was a storm brewing, so I had no desire to start looking elsewhere and headed to the police station for ideas. In the jail, no. Parking lot, no, In a corner of the town park, no. Finally I asked if there were any overpasses on the highway heading out of town, so we could sleep high in the embankment under the overpass, not there either.

Finally Sarge came out and said he had an idea. He handed me a slip of paper with an address and directions to a place nearby. We came to a home on the edge of town, knocked on the door, and were greeted by an odd look. We explained that Sarge sent us and said we'd be accommodated here. His wife who he hadn't bothered calling, handled it with amazing cool, and we enjoyed a great evening in their home.

Almost 50 years later I think of these wonderful folks and remember their graciousness, but more so his Chutzpah, and her coolness.
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Old 07-03-17, 05:12 PM   #94
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Can I delete this thread and pretend it never happened?

Machka replied: Yes.

I respond: Just tried it and it didn't work!
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Old 07-03-17, 05:28 PM   #95
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Can I delete this thread and pretend it never happened?

Machka replied: Yes.

I respond: Just tried it and it didn't work!
Sorry Papa, only mods can make major deletions.

As they say, don't put it out on the net unless you're ready to have it there forever.

OTOH - your free to forget about it entirely, and rest assured that everybody else will also.
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Old 07-03-17, 07:23 PM   #96
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OTOH - your free to forget about it entirely, and rest assured that everybody else will also.
unless bozos like me keep posting to it and it will end up like.........wait for it.......


a buzzing mosquito annoying the hell out of you!
;-)
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Old 07-03-17, 07:26 PM   #97
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Can I delete this thread and pretend it never happened?

Machka replied: Yes.

I respond: Just tried it and it didn't work!
I've deleted whole threads.
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Old 07-03-17, 07:27 PM   #98
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unless bozos like me keep posting to it and it will end up like.........wait for it.......


A buzzing mosquito annoying the hell out of you!
;-)
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Old 07-03-17, 07:31 PM   #99
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It's a good thing you're not camping anywhere near NJ cause there's bears that frequent my brother's backyard/neighborhood there!
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Old 07-03-17, 07:38 PM   #100
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OK, I'm satisfied now that camping should be off my list of bike-related experiences. Thank you for all the honest input, and for the encouragement. I will continue dragging my bike and my sweat-soaked body into Holiday Inns from this point forward.

I don't blame ya', esp with the hot summer weather. Motels simplify things & lighten the load & for short tours the cost can be reasonable. Credit card touring is very popular in Europe after all.

Once went car trailer-tent camping with the family & at a campground the mosquitoes were so thick that we killed over 100 inside the tent that evening.
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