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Old 06-24-17, 07:38 PM   #1
Papa Tom
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Bucket List Bike Camping

I've been threatening for years to forgo a hotel room on a bike trip, buy a really cheap tent, and rough it at a campground just ONCE before my time is up. This feels like the year to do it.

I wouldn't bring any cooking gear or anything like that. There would be a town nearby to get dinner and the place would have showers.

So can you think of anything that might talk me out of this craziness? For example, I'm a magnet for bugs. Are the critters really bad at your average campground? And are the showers as scuzzy as I'd imagine they are?

Maybe at 54, I'm too old for this? Somebody talk some sense into me!
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Old 06-24-17, 07:47 PM   #2
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There's absolutely no reason not to do it. In fact I'm headed to Portland in September to ride to San Francisco and will be doing exactly that. I'll have my tent and sleeping bag but no cooking gear. I expect I might get a motel room once or twice but will primarily camp.

Showers can vary some are better than others - just bring some shower shoes. As for critters, that will depend on when and where you tour.

Too old? No way! I'm 64 and tour with guys 10 years older than me. I'm sure there are lots of riders here older than me as well who'll tell you the same. Go for it!
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Old 06-24-17, 08:08 PM   #3
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You make it sound like a medieval torture experience. I think the torturous part of your proposal is to not be able to make coffee when you first get up in the morning.

Ever heard of bug repellent?

I am 63, the photo was taken at a campground last month.
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Old 06-24-17, 08:30 PM   #4
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Have you ever camped at a KOA campground. They are well known for having nice accommodations. As far as being 54, that is young. My Mother in law is in her late seventies and she does 20 mile bike rides. Also, when I was a young man, I did a 10k inline race, and one of the racers was a 74 year old lady. The course had hills that had to be gone up as well as down. I can remember thinking, I hope when I'm 74, I'm doing 10k rollerblade races.
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Old 06-24-17, 08:33 PM   #5
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This can easily be done on the Great Allegheny Passage. Most campsites are very close to town or close enough for take out delivery. The C&O would be a little more difficult.

Poster above mentions the PCH. In my opinion that would take some careful planning. You would need to make sure you found a place to grab dinner before moving on to a campsite.
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Old 06-24-17, 08:36 PM   #6
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Maybe at 54, I'm too old for this?
I'm 53 and getting set up this summer for unsupported bikepacking with the eventual goal of weekend trips in the summer of 2018.

Filtering water, sleeping in a hammock, washing in a stream... The whole thing.


-Tim-
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Old 06-24-17, 08:43 PM   #7
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The Greenbrier Trail can also be done with camping but eating at restaurants. The only issue is the climb up to White Sulphur Springs, assuming you start at the Cass end. You could start at the White Sulphur Springs end but I don't recall if there is camping near Cass or not.


The Katy can be done this way too.
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Old 06-24-17, 08:49 PM   #8
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And as I recall you can camp right outside of town on the Erie Canal Trail. Only issue there is no showers.
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Old 06-24-17, 09:47 PM   #9
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Yes, too old. At the advanced age of 54, you should definitely not consider camping.
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Old 06-24-17, 10:59 PM   #10
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Bring a good air mattress. I'm 53 and it helps.
I eat canned peaches in the morning for breakfast then I'm on my way.
Cooking is over rated. Restaurant cheese burgers are not.
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Old 06-24-17, 11:20 PM   #11
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Yes, too old. At the advanced age of 54, you should definitely not consider camping.
Agreed. 54 is absolutely too old to be camping.

First time I cycled down the Alaska Highway I was 34. Last summer, riding a similar route I was 53. Just under the cutoff, mind you .

I camped a lot more at age 53 than 34. Two things changed: several of the historic lodges closed leaving more gaps and on average I was riding shorter distances each day.
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Old 06-25-17, 06:18 AM   #12
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im 60 and did 2 nights so far this year, plan to do many more. most state park campgrounds have decent accomodations. just google search the ones along your route. nothing like a hot campground shower after a long day in the saddle and i concur on the good sleeping mat. the older i get the better mat i need.
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Old 06-25-17, 11:12 AM   #13
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Do you camp much,ie; backpacking car camping? Actually, if you have a backyard you can just camp there overnight and see if you like sleeping on the ground. If you don't have the equipment you might be able to rent some. Set a modest goal at first, like a twenty-five mile overnight ot a state park or campground.

I'm in my seventies and don't camp any more, but I did in my fifties and earlier.

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Old 06-25-17, 11:53 AM   #14
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Very thick down filled air mattress , makes the sleeping wild fairly comfortable.
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Old 06-25-17, 02:01 PM   #15
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Go for it, even if you are too old, could be attacked by marauding raccoons, may need a blood transfusion due to mosquitos, have to find chiropractor for a sore back, and needing a fungicide for athlete's foot.

It will make a hell of a story

You have to be careful about those scuzzy showers! If the kitchens in Portugal are as clean as their bathrooms you will never have to worry about the food.


Showers do not need to be fancy to be clean, or welcome.



Camping and "roughing it" are not synonymous.


Even in North America, it is pretty nice most of the time. Ages on this trip: 31, 49, 61, 73.

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Old 06-25-17, 02:07 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
I've been threatening for years to forgo a hotel room on a bike trip, buy a really cheap tent, and rough it at a campground just ONCE before my time is up. This feels like the year to do it.

I wouldn't bring any cooking gear or anything like that. There would be a town nearby to get dinner and the place would have showers.

So can you think of anything that might talk me out of this craziness? For example, I'm a magnet for bugs. Are the critters really bad at your average campground? And are the showers as scuzzy as I'd imagine they are?

Maybe at 54, I'm too old for this? Somebody talk some sense into me!
Take a look at Coleman 2 person Dome Tents.

Started when 66 y/o camped 44 tent nights.

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Old 06-25-17, 07:32 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
So can you think of anything that might talk me out of this craziness? For example, I'm a magnet for bugs. Are the critters really bad at your average campground? And are the showers as scuzzy as I'd imagine they are?

Maybe at 54, I'm too old for this? Somebody talk some sense into me!
You're only 54?? Goodness! You talk like you're 84. 54 is still young ... maybe if you started thinking that way, you'd start doing more of the things you'd like to do.

As for camping ... I've been in campgrounds with hardly any bugs and beautiful, clean amenities. There's no reason to stay in a bad campground for your first time out. Pick a decent campground, cycle there, stay overnight, and cycle home.

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Old 06-25-17, 10:49 PM   #18
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Im sure thos will be interpreted as offensive, but is this the typical view of LIers? Surely there are people in your neighborhood who have camped and you can then easily see they didnt die.

Its simply sleeping in a thinner shelter than a house...nothing crazy.
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Old 06-26-17, 06:39 AM   #19
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Im sure thos will be interpreted as offensive, but is this the typical view of LIers? Surely there are people in your neighborhood who have camped and you can then easily see they didnt die.

Its simply sleeping in a thinner shelter than a house...nothing crazy.

I was thinking the same thing, as soon as it sunk in that it wasn't a parody. I wasn't going to make any comment until I read mstateglfr's post. I guess it explains why, when my friends & I backpack out West, people are surprised if not shocked to hear where we are from. A couple have blurted out "You guys are not what we envisioned!" I guess that is a compliment.

So, for the rest of you out there, no, no, not all of us Long Islanders are......typical.

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Old 06-26-17, 06:46 AM   #20
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Camping is the best part of bike touring! (Kidding...sort of.) I agree on getting a nice air mattress (check out the large sized Thermarest Neo Airs) and shower shoes.
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Old 06-26-17, 06:47 AM   #21
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Something else I would throw out there is WHERE do you plan to do this? I know it's part of your question.

Here in the SE, camping is marginally cheaper than a seedy motel. There are no "biker/hiker" rates, so unless you are comfortable stealth camping or "bumming" a spot (asking around) it makes financial sense to factor in accommodations. Generally stealth camping requires you to find out of the way spots, so if you choose to do so make sure you have DEET strong enough to make your lips tingle. Chiggers are no fun at all.
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Old 06-26-17, 10:55 AM   #22
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Unless you have health problems, 54 is still young for touring.
I didn't start seriously touring until about 45. Many of my longest tours were after 50,
including the Alaskan Hwy and several roads in the Yukon and northern British Columbia.
I'm 71 now, and if I can beat my present cancer problems, I expect to be doing some
more.
My 'bucket list' is starting from my home near the US border and riding/camping in the
autumn north through the province as far as possible using only gravel, dirt, or remote
roads and trails. As for showers etc, nothing wrong with washing down in the wilds.
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Old 06-26-17, 11:10 AM   #23
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I can take a pretty good bath with a full water bottle and a wash rag. I'm 54, retired, and hope to do some serious touring next year. I think it will take a year to get my fat butt back in shape.

But what about my bike? I'm riding a Motobecane Le Chapion carbon fider, would it hold up with all the gear and extra weight?
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Old 06-26-17, 12:20 PM   #24
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I can take a pretty good bath with a full water bottle and a wash rag. I'm 54, retired, and hope to do some serious touring next year. I think it will take a year to get my fat butt back in shape.

But what about my bike? I'm riding a Motobecane Le Chapion carbon fider, would it hold up with all the gear and extra weight?
Carbon fider is what, exactly?
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Old 06-26-17, 12:34 PM   #25
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Carbon fider is what, exactly?
Sorry, carbon fiber. It is a very light road bike.
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