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  1. #1
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    question regarding ACA maps & tour budgets

    Hi again

    though i do not know you all, everyone here has been super.

    i am embarking primarily on a solo tour beginning mid june into 2011.

    this is the route. i start in natchez louisiana. because i'll be hopping from route to route, and the ACA maps (even though i am a member) are a little pricey, would you recommend them? i'll be using the book "bicycling the pacific coast." wish there was a book for the rest of the trip.

    curious how much money you would save for this? i have an idea and have been budgeting and projecting spending on the tour according to the estimated number of days i will be on the road.

    i am a registered couch surfer, so would prefer to meet those offering their couches/backyards in the area... this allows exploration of the area without a loaded bike. i do not want to pay for hotels because that could be five days worth of food, or a emergency need for a bike repair. i will be camping all the time a long the way and budget grocery shopping only, no dining in restaurants.

    if you have insight or wisdom to pass along, can you help me understand what the costs might be or have been for you for a long term tour like this?

    Last edited by scottiethomas; 03-18-10 at 05:52 PM. Reason: reposted revised route

  2. #2
    Bike touring webrarian
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    This page has 8 links to information about money and bike touring. Not all of them will be of interest to you but several are about estimating the cost of a bike tour.

    This site has google-type maps for all the ACA routes: http://tsteven4.qwestoffice.net/ . These maps take a while to load and may cause your browser to display an error message because they are so large.

    Also, in my experience, couchsurfing is great in cities and larger towns but few and far between in less populated areas. You might also consider asking the police in small towns if it is OK to camp in the local park (be sure to find out when the sprinklers come on).

    Have a great time,

    Ray
    Visit the on-line Bike Touring Archive at www.biketouringtips.com

  3. #3
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    I'd start out by buying the A.C. maps for the first leg of the journey, and then see for yourself if you find them to be good value. You can always buy the rest later if you want them. One benefit is that they tell you the free places to stay (town parks for example).

    For budget, everyone is different and I definitely run high, but I'd say you should do a low and high estimate and then plan for something in between.

    Things to think about: 3 meals plus snacks per day. You do need to eat quality food, if you eat crap you feel like crap. And you eat WAY more than in regular life. Camping - at least a few times a week you could get stuck having to pay. You'll need fuel for your stove. Medicine, sunscreen, bug stuff need to be replaced. Getting sick or really bad weather - you might really need to get a hotel room once in a while. You might also want to get a hotel room if you have to spend the night in a big city or in an unsavory area - for your own safety. Mechanical problems - budget for tubes, maybe a tire, and possibly a trip to a bike shop for spoke or drive train problems. You might need to replace or add clothing at some point. Also, plan on having a little fun along the way - a movie or museum, a night out in a bar with a new friend. Also, you might need to visit a doctor or dentist if you're on the road for a long time, even if nothing bad happens.

    Anyway, I think I run about $35-50/day, but I don't try to save money other than not staying in hotels too often. I'm definitely the high side with respect to camping touring budgets. I stay in developed camp sites almost all the time, and eat in restaurants several times a week (usually lunch/second breakfast, not dinner). I also drink beer, eat ice cream, buy fancy pastry at every opportunity, etc.
    ...

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottiethomas View Post
    i am a registered couch surfer...
    I'd recommend warmshowers as another good resource for potential places to stay:
    http://www.warmshowers.org/content/w...armshowers.org

  5. #5
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    For me, the worth of the ACA maps lie not only in the route itself but in the services information they contain. I am a planner by nature, so I like knowing where I can find camping, food, etc. They may also help you save a few bucks along the way by alerting you to the existence of city campgrounds, which are often free or at least cheaper than commerical campgrounds.

    Excellent advice about the sprinklers. Once ran into a guy in Lander, WY. Earlier in the day the sprinklers in the city park came on while he was at breakfast. He had left his tent fly open and returned to mess inside.

    Thinking back on my trip last summer, and considering that there were two of us, I think Valyrgl's estimate is a good one for those of us who tend towards the "high side." And she's right, you will eat a lot more than normal. While decadent treats are one of the perks of touring (my weakness is fried chicken, something I never eat during normal life), you will need quality food. Where she and I part is in the area of potent potables. I am wine-o.
    "I've wanted you to succeed, but watching you find excuse after excuse after excuse and then laugh it off as the loveable, quirky, chubby guy is getting old."--Ill.Clyde

  6. #6
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    It is hard to estimate what you will spend. We vary widely rider to rider. Heck I vary widely tour to tour.

    That said I have found that a free place to camp can be found the majority of the time, especially in the middle of the country. City/town parks church yards etc. Just ask around. If it is obvious how to find the local police I might start there. I don't always expect permission and might ask a store clerk "Do you think anyone would bother me if i pitched a tent across the street in the park". If that fails I might ask about other possibilities. Librarians tend to be very helpful in small towns and may call around and find someone who will let you camp. Churches are another option.

    On the west coast the hiker/biker sites in Oregon and California are nice, cheap, and available.

    As far as daily expenses, I am pretty comfortable on something like $20 a day, but could fairly easily spend as little as $10 per day or as much as $30 a day depending on the trip. Personally I try to have a lot more than I will need available and spend what I feel like at the time. I like to budget time similarly if possible. It is nice to not have to feel limited.

    I think buying the AC maps for the first leg of the trip is a good idea for two reasons. If you are unsure of how to find places to stay they will get you started and then it becomes easier to know where and how to ask. Also you can evaluate whether they are worth it to you. Then if necessary you can have more maps sent via general delivery.

    Personally I find the maps worth the cost if I am going somewhere they have maps for.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by raybo View Post
    This page has 8 links to information about money and bike touring. Not all of them will be of interest to you but several are about estimating the cost of a bike tour.

    This site has google-type maps for all the ACA routes: http://tsteven4.qwestoffice.net/ . These maps take a while to load and may cause your browser to display an error message because they are so large.

    Also, in my experience, couchsurfing is great in cities and larger towns but few and far between in less populated areas. You might also consider asking the police in small towns if it is OK to camp in the local park (be sure to find out when the sprinklers come on).

    Have a great time,

    Ray

    this is a big help ray, thanks. i checked out the links and will definitely be referring to them often. also, great idea, i'll be asking police about places to stay when necessary.

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    Quote Originally Posted by valygrl View Post
    I'd start out by buying the A.C. maps for the first leg of the journey, and then see for yourself if you find them to be good value. You can always buy the rest later if you want them. One benefit is that they tell you the free places to stay (town parks for example).

    For budget, everyone is different and I definitely run high, but I'd say you should do a low and high estimate and then plan for something in between.

    Things to think about: 3 meals plus snacks per day. You do need to eat quality food, if you eat crap you feel like crap. And you eat WAY more than in regular life. Camping - at least a few times a week you could get stuck having to pay. You'll need fuel for your stove. Medicine, sunscreen, bug stuff need to be replaced. Getting sick or really bad weather - you might really need to get a hotel room once in a while. You might also want to get a hotel room if you have to spend the night in a big city or in an unsavory area - for your own safety. Mechanical problems - budget for tubes, maybe a tire, and possibly a trip to a bike shop for spoke or drive train problems. You might need to replace or add clothing at some point. Also, plan on having a little fun along the way - a movie or museum, a night out in a bar with a new friend. Also, you might need to visit a doctor or dentist if you're on the road for a long time, even if nothing bad happens.

    Anyway, I think I run about $35-50/day, but I don't try to save money other than not staying in hotels too often. I'm definitely the high side with respect to camping touring budgets. I stay in developed camp sites almost all the time, and eat in restaurants several times a week (usually lunch/second breakfast, not dinner). I also drink beer, eat ice cream, buy fancy pastry at every opportunity, etc.
    ah yes, i do remember never being able to get enough food on the last baby tour. i probably wont be cooking, sticking mainly to fruit and cereals peanut butter etc. excellent advice all around. naturally id be inclined to eat out, drink beer, buy fancy pastries etc! i do that here regardless haha =)

    i think i would want to make the trip about conciously consuming less as a traveling american and aspiring ecotourist. i like the idea of volunteering and sticking to farmers markets as much as possible though i know its not always available when you arrive in that town. just trying to reduce my carbon footprint and begin to severe my attachments to material possessions so this is the first step. im looking to spend under 20 dollars a day. not sure how practical or feasible that is but people have surely done it, yea?

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by EriktheFish View Post
    I'd recommend warmshowers as another good resource for potential places to stay:
    http://www.warmshowers.org/content/w...armshowers.org
    fantastic, thanks.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
    For me, the worth of the ACA maps lie not only in the route itself but in the services information they contain. I am a planner by nature, so I like knowing where I can find camping, food, etc. They may also help you save a few bucks along the way by alerting you to the existence of city campgrounds, which are often free or at least cheaper than commerical campgrounds.

    Excellent advice about the sprinklers. Once ran into a guy in Lander, WY. Earlier in the day the sprinklers in the city park came on while he was at breakfast. He had left his tent fly open and returned to mess inside.

    Thinking back on my trip last summer, and considering that there were two of us, I think Valyrgl's estimate is a good one for those of us who tend towards the "high side." And she's right, you will eat a lot more than normal. While decadent treats are one of the perks of touring (my weakness is fried chicken, something I never eat during normal life), you will need quality food. Where she and I part is in the area of potent potables. I am wine-o.
    i went ahead and purchased the maps. just to ensure that i can't look back! must follow through. haha, i enjoy both beer and wine =) i'll try to stick to fruit mostly but im not sure if thats practical consider the weight of fruit.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
    It is hard to estimate what you will spend. We vary widely rider to rider. Heck I vary widely tour to tour.

    That said I have found that a free place to camp can be found the majority of the time, especially in the middle of the country. City/town parks church yards etc. Just ask around. If it is obvious how to find the local police I might start there. I don't always expect permission and might ask a store clerk "Do you think anyone would bother me if i pitched a tent across the street in the park". If that fails I might ask about other possibilities. Librarians tend to be very helpful in small towns and may call around and find someone who will let you camp. Churches are another option.

    On the west coast the hiker/biker sites in Oregon and California are nice, cheap, and available.

    As far as daily expenses, I am pretty comfortable on something like $20 a day, but could fairly easily spend as little as $10 per day or as much as $30 a day depending on the trip. Personally I try to have a lot more than I will need available and spend what I feel like at the time. I like to budget time similarly if possible. It is nice to not have to feel limited.

    I think buying the AC maps for the first leg of the trip is a good idea for two reasons. If you are unsure of how to find places to stay they will get you started and then it becomes easier to know where and how to ask. Also you can evaluate whether they are worth it to you. Then if necessary you can have more maps sent via general delivery.

    Personally I find the maps worth the cost if I am going somewhere they have maps for.
    excellent, thanks. im glad to hear its possible to spend as little as 10 dollars a day. that is ideal considering the limited amount of funds i will have. i could wait an extra month and save a full months salary but then that would place me up north in oregon when it is getting cold and i was hoping to travel down the coast during a warmer month.

  12. #12
    Senior Member BigBlueToe's Avatar
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    I like the ACA maps. They have a ton of information and they're durable. I find them a bit difficult to interpret at first because there's so much information crammed into small places. However, in the campground or in restaurants I pore over them at length and find them very useful. I like the routes they choose because they often take you off the main drag to some pretty back roads with less traffic. Down the west coast I'd go with the Kirkendall/Spring book. It's "The Bible".

    I almost always cook dinner and first breakfast. I camp in campgrounds, and there aren't usually restaurants nearby. After I've completed a day's ride I don't want to get back on my bike and ride off to a restaurant; I want to be done for the day. I try and find a store as close to the night's stop as possible and carry the food as short a distance as possilbe. I usually cook oatmeal for first breakfast. It's easy and light and pretty filling - though not filling enough, because once I get on the road I usually stop at a restaurant for second breakfast. I always carry a loaf of bread, a jar of peanut butter, and a jar of of jam. That way I've always got snack food (I'm diabetic so I can't just eat any old thing) and in a pinch I can have a couple of P. B. & J. sandwiches for dinner.

    One thing that seems fairly constant among bike tourers is the fact that you eat far more than you do at home. Be prepared for a voracious appetite. It makes it hard for me to travel cheaply, though it's still a lot cheaper than car camping or motel traveling. I'm a big guy, though, with a big appetite. Maybe there are some people who don't get so hungry on tour.

  13. #13
    Senior Member staehpj1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottiethomas View Post
    excellent, thanks. im glad to hear its possible to spend as little as 10 dollars a day. that is ideal considering the limited amount of funds i will have. i could wait an extra month and save a full months salary but then that would place me up north in oregon when it is getting cold and i was hoping to travel down the coast during a warmer month.
    Do be aware that you will need to be very frugal to get by on $10 a day.

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