Best to worst and most interesting places you've slept on tour....
Best to worst and most interesting places you've slept on tour....
Last edited by heyisforhumans; 01-27-10 at 02:08 AM.
Worst= I got offered a place to sleep at a guys house that I met in a bar in the backwoods of Oregon. He was a typical hillbilly and was super friendly and drunk. I started regretting the decision when we loaded my bike into the back of his truck and it was full of rifles and assorted weapons. About halfway to his house he told me that he had three young daughters and that if I even looked at them wrong he would kill me. He also had three big pitbulls that enjoyed waiting until I was asleep on his floor to come and bark at me. We had a few beers together and went to bed around 3am but I was awake again at 5am because he had to get up and go to work a "the mill." I guess he neglected to tell me what time I had to be out of the house. It was super rainy and I was still half drunk. He was a really nice guy and his daughters were even friendly. I was just weirded out by the guns and death threats
Best= On a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean near San Diego. Nothing really special about the place I just really enjoyed it and it was not as expensive as it should have been considering the view.
I have slept ...
-- in a tent in campgrounds
-- in a tent in ... various other places that were not campgrounds including a playground and right next to a dirt bike track
-- in hotels, motels, hostels, and campground cabins
-- and in numerous people's places
Weirdest was probably the 18th century inn. The guy was renovating it and invited us to stay the night. He kept talking about Robin, his wife (?), who had recently died. But he kept talking about her as though she was still right there ... "this is Robin's favourite room" ... "Robin likes to ..." etc. etc. After a while we began to wonder if he had her walled up in the place or something!!
Worst was probably the rest area next to Cooma. We kind of tucked in behind some trees as far away from the pile of beer bottles as possible, and I lay awake listening to the hoons.
Best ... hmmm ... there have been some lovely spots along the way. I'll have to give that one some more thought.
Depends upon the tour... Non Sag, entirely in campgounds and within tents...
Sag guided tour with a truck carrying our stuff.. Entirely within hotels.. What I disliked about non sag tours, the possibility of ending up in a camp without facilities or a shower.. non sag takes a bit of planning to make it work..
Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living
^ Since January 1, 2012
"Hoon is a derogatory term used in Australia and New Zealand to refer to a younger person who engages in loutish, anti-social behaviour. In particular, it is used to refer to one who drives in a manner which is anti-social by the standards of contemporary society, that is, fast, noisily or dangerously. While generally applied to automobiles and other road vehicles, anti-hooning legislation also targets hooning behavior wherever it occurs, including motor boats. Hoon activities can include speeding, burnouts, doughnuts or screeching tires. Those commonly identified as being involved in "hooning" or street racing are young, predominantly male although increasingly female drivers in the age range of 17 and 35 years."
Ah, now I know a new word!
I can't wait to call some of the local brats a hoon. Of course, they'll just sneer at me...friggin little hoons.
In Brawley California, a stranger I met at the grocery let me into the air conditioned office where he used to work. It had a kitchenette. His only advice was to leave before 7:30
On the beach near Lincoln City, Oregon, slept next to a fire in a driftwood leanto.
Near the Southwest corner of Colorado, slept in a large culvert.
In Arizona, slept in the ditch by the road.
Also slept on the ground in the desert and got eaten alive by ants.
Kansas, slept under an abandoned rail car.
Washington, slept on an abandoned highway in middle of road.
One of the worst:
One weekend my plan was to cycle from Boston to tip of Cape Cod in two days - staying in a youth hostel at ~100 mile mark. I had started very early and it was a hot day so I arrived at the hostel multiple hours before it opened.
Rather than wait there, I decided to continue on and ride all the way to P-town at tip of the cape. Since I was hosteling, I didn't have a tent and only a thin nylon sleep sack. As I entered P-town, there were big signs saying "No sleeping on the beach, $50 fine". There were two campgrounds in town and at the first one they asked if I had a tent. When I said no, they told me I couldn't stay there. The ATM machine in town wasn't working (this was when ATMs only belonged to specific networks and there weren't many on my network) and as a college student I had perhaps $2 left after accounting for ferry costs and expensive campground fees.
So I went to second campground and very carefully avoided mentioning tents. When asked to pick a site, I picked one way on the edge and then went into town until just before nightfall - buying some bananas for dinner and least expensive things I could find to eat. When I got back to the campsite, I discovered that in addition to being way off to the side, it was also right next to a bog with large numbers of mosquitoes. My thin sleep sack did nothing to stop them. I tried as best I could to sleep that night, but kept waking up after being bitten. Finally by 4:30am or so, I wasn't going to sleep anymore and so packed up and headed out with my bike.
As I rode to north side of the cape, I came on the beach with multiple folks out sleeping on it. If only I'd known, I could have saved enough $ for food, gotten a decent nights sleep. During the day while waiting for the ferry I did spend a bunch of time under a pier catching up on missed sleep.
One of the more interesting ones came in my ride across Russia:
This was in a remote section of the Russian Far east in a gap of 1700km where the main roads were all gravel. The quality of that gravel road varied and were in a stretch where it was poor and resulted in occasional gaps I referred to as "peanut butter roads" with sections of soft mud. Our problems had been compounded by several days of light rain - and in one spot we had camped for two nights in an attempt to wait out that rain.
However, our food supplies were running short and villages weren't close together so this morning we opted to ride on the peanut butter roads in the rain. It was a tough day. Morning drizzle wasn't too bad, but afternoon it was raining harder. At the one village we stopped to buy food, my riding partner had her pump stolen from her bike by some kids. We briefly lost each other and were generally having a challenging ride. Finally towards mid-afternoon it started raining harder and we'd had enough. We came to a village by the railroad tracks. We stopped at a store for some more to eat and dreamed of some place dry that we might get our wet tents and muddy gear cleaned up.
Prospects weren't too good until we spotted a large concrete warehouse type building with multiple huge bays. It looked like an abandoned Soviet factory. The first several bays were completely filled with debris including a lot of broken glass. However, as we got further back, we found the last bay had less debris. Most importantly, the building still had a roof overhead. We didn't want to camp right in opening since we were close to the village and wanted to avoid encounters with local kids or drunks. So we found some spaces back in the shadows and swept away debris as best we could to place the tents. It was dry!
That night we heard voices echoing in some of the chambers nearby but fortunately were undisturbed. That next morning the sun even came out, and it was start of a much better ride.
Last edited by mev; 01-27-10 at 07:04 AM.
Also forgot these:
In Kansas, slept through a rainstorm that ripped off my tarp. I ended up curled in the fetal position cold and wet for 5 hours until dawn.
In Missouri, slept in between some storage sheds during a storm. I didn't want to go into the forest because of falling trees. It was the remnants of Hurricane Ike sweeping north.
Ooofa. Well, the easy snarky answer is, I don't sleep on tour.
The worst night was at a camp ground in Iowa. I was dead tired, finished my dinner and cleaned up just as it was getting dark, lay down and went to sleep just as the mosquitoes were coming out, but I was so tired I didn't care. But then a bright light shone on me as a big van pulled into the next campsite and proceeded to disgorge a bunch of hoons (thanks, Machka!) who made an incredible din as they set up camp and yelled to their friends in another van they were traveling with but who couldn't find their way to the campsite... driving around yelling for a while... before finally parking and setting up tents in the headlight beams, drinking beer, having a good time, until I gave up entirely, got up and went to sleep in the campground laundry room.
A little before dawn I was walking back to my bike and I saw all the hoons sitting around two picnic tables they had pushed together to make one long table. One of them waved to me and invited me over. I thought, okay, at least they're going to apologize. But no, they were having their bible study session and wanted to tell me about Jesus. I, too, wanted to tell them a thing or two about Jesus, but I held my tongue.
It was a kayaking trip not a bike tour, but I once slept on what was left of a dead dog. We made camp after dark next to a river that we planned to run the next day. As is my habit I didn't bother to dig out a light. The site was one of the impromptu dumps that are so common in West Virginia. Well I saw that there were some chunks of wall board and some "insulation", so I brushed aside most of the insulation and arranged the wall board to sleep on.
When I woke I was looking at a dog skull inches from my face. The "insulation" was actually fur.
I have slept in quite a few impromptu dumps and an occasional cemetery, but the dog skull site was probably the most interesting.
Roof of a truck stop outside of Reno/Sparks. i didn't want to go out, get back on the bike and find a tent site, i was pretty slothful after a truckstop greasebomb dinner and coffee. The back of the truck stop offered up a ladder right to the roof. I recall it being nice and dark compared to the lights in the truck yard.
Lawn outside of a warehouse around Denver or Grand Junction, when the sprinklers came on. Thought it was a heavenly deluge, hopped in my sleeping bag out of range to the sounds of laughter from the laborers taking a break by the buildings.
and ditches. pretty unnerving with cars driving past, but generally safe, and out of sight!
and behind an oil truck depot on day the rains ran solid on the roads - it was like bicycling thru 2 inches of standing water, and that was just from the falling rain. wild.
Last edited by Bekologist; 01-27-10 at 09:00 AM.
"Evidence, anecdote and methodology all support planning for roadway bike traffic."
The most exotic was a caravansary in Tunisia. We locked our bikes in the courtyard next to a small water pool where people left their camels in bygone days. We discovered before dawn when we were awakened by the electronic speaker-amplified call to prayer that we were next to a mosque. After that, we always made sure there wasn't a mosque nearby when we looked for a room.
Another odd night was camping in a post-harvest tomato farm near Venice, Italy one November. I arrived late in the day around sunset. I went to that location near the lido (beach) because there was a campground, however it turned out to be closed for the season. It was getting dark and too late to go somewhere else, and I discovered a tomato field adjacent to the closed campground. There were lots of unripe tomatoes all over the ground. I could hear them squish under my feet (and later under my sleeping bag) while erecting my tent, but it was too dark to see them.
I remember camping in an out-of-business campground near the east entrance to Glacier National Park in Montana. It was called "Far Out Camping" in the "far out, man" 1970's sense of the term. Fortunately, the water hadn't been shut off, and several of us spent a very pleasant night there.
I stayed in a youth hostel in Brittany, France, which was literally like a zoo. Various animals had the run of the place, both inside and out. I recall a goat and pig roaming around the inside of the hostel. The pig was named "Mignonne" ("cute").
I stayed in a really cool beach hut while cycling in the Yucatan. Each bed was suspended from the top of the hut by chains. When you got into bed, it would swing back and forth in the air. Gentle Caribbean waves were breaking on the beach just outside the hut. Very romantic. Alas, my cycling friend was not a love interest.
Mostly campsites, of course.
There was the time my dad and I slept on the grounds of a ten million dollar summer vacation farm on an island in the Puget Sound. The (presumably) incredibly wealthy owners weren't home, so we got some water from a spigot on their beautiful farmhouse (what a view of the Strait!) and bedded down behind the nicest garage I have ever laid eyes on: massive, and entirely constructed of redwood slats. Woke up early the next morning and rode straight to town for breakfast.
On that same trip we slept in a hundred year old artillery sighting bunker on a different island.
A buddy and I spent the night on top of Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. Woke up looking down on the clouds.
Recently I slept in the outdoor eating area of a bar in a nothing-town (a collection ill-kept farmhouses and a bar) in the hills outside of Centralia, WA. Thankfully, the bar was closed for the season -- lord knows what kind of people drink there.
Abandon barn about 200yards away from an Air Force runway in Wash. State near Port Townsend. It was a great quiet place as the sun was going down, until Jets started taking off in the middle of the night then it became the worst.
Long ago I tried to sleep in a roadside parking area for fishermen just outside of Key West, and was chased out by pirahna-mosquitoes, so I rode on in to KW and tried to sleep on the beach, got rousted by cops, moved into the woods, got rained on, and put up a tarp. At that point, the sun started to come up and the wild roosters started to crow - and I gave up.
A couple years ago I slept on freshly-mown grass near a dove-hunters cabin on a lease in Beeville, Texas as a guest of the owner. I was given a huge barbecue meal, beer, water, gatorade, a shower aroaring campfire and had my tent put up for me.
Best: hotel/casino in Jackpot, Nevada. Rode in through 105 degree heat and 40 knot crosswinds. I walked into the casino and practically fell over from the air conditioning. Beers were 50 cents. All you could eat buffet was $2.95. Rooms were nine bucks. What a treat.
Worst: Jail in Clovis New Mexico. Not a good story.
Most interesting: probably the night I spent listening to a bobcat screaming every 15 minutes while circling my tent most of the night. Ever heard a bobcat scream? Sounds like a demented devil-child.
I was not on a tour but was camping in Yankton South Dakota. I did do several beer runs on a bike so it is somewhat biking related. Right about 10pm I was hearing what sounded like the screeches of a child being tortured. I had to shine my flashlight into to the trees to see what they were. Giant horned owls and they seemed to be spaced about every half mile and wouldn't stop screeching to each other through the night.
Arrived late in Pisa and couldn't find a campsite, so we slept on the 'beach' that was only a few feet away from the street. A surprisingly good nights sleep too.
My strangest was the one time that my friend and I stayed at a bed and breakfast. I had made reservations and told the person on the phone that there would be two of us. When we arrived I found out that that they assumed the two of us were man and woman and reserved the bridal suite for us. Well we were able to get a room with bunk beds. The evening dinner was even stranger, dinner was included in the dining room but on Wednesday the dining room was closed to the public and we were the only guests in the inn. We had four people waiting on us as the rest of the staff was eating in the kitchen, it was a very quiet evening. This was the only time I stayed at a B & B. I stay in a tent now.
I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes