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Old 07-10-11, 10:24 PM   #1
hybridbkrdr
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Using actual campgrounds (not stealth camping)

I read a bunch of messages here once on people sleeping in cemetaries etc and wondered if some of you people actually use real camping sites. I just want to know if you think it's worth it, and if not, why not?
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Old 07-10-11, 10:33 PM   #2
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It is worth it..Showers, restrooms, electrical outlets to charge batteries, picnic tables with covered areas.
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Old 07-10-11, 10:36 PM   #3
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I'd think more people would use campgrounds than would use cemeteries.
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Old 07-10-11, 10:49 PM   #4
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Europe has lots of really nice campgrounds, because lots of people,
even with cars,
tent camp, .. on their generous holidays .. that they voted for.
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Old 07-10-11, 10:59 PM   #5
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I use official campgrounds most of the time for a hot shower and easy access to drinking water. I think most people do, too. I free-camp when I'm too tired to search or ride to an official site, when I don't feel like paying 35$ to be surrounded by RVs, but mostly because some free sites are simply better.
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Old 07-10-11, 11:36 PM   #6
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I like to ride over 100 miles per day, often on unpaved roads. If a campground has a shower, it is always my first choice.
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Old 07-10-11, 11:58 PM   #7
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Bikes pay only $5 in California State Parks. But, the best thing is that no reservations are required AND you won't be turned away. That means if the bike site is full they will find another spot in the park for you to camp. You can go to the choicest parks at the peak of the season and not worry about having a place to stay.
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Old 07-11-11, 12:08 AM   #8
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Not sure what you read here, but given the choice between a campground or a cemetery, the decision is pretty obvious.
I suppose if you need a spot to flop for the night and nothing else is available, a cemetery is one where you probably wouldn't be bothered, at least by anything human.
Another consideration is that a cemetery usually has a church nearby. A back churchyard is usually a wonderfully accepting and accomodating place to stay the night.
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Old 07-11-11, 12:49 AM   #9
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Showers sound good, but they aren't always necessary, kinda a hedonistic choice if there is swimable water, or lots of water you can sponge bath in. My beef with camps is they often aren't terribly nice, or well maintained these days. You pay the same to occupy a handkerchief sized piece of mud as the RV guy with a bus. Increasingly even public parks are catering to the RVs (not against them by the way, just a value proposition thing).

I just did a trip by car with the kids, the annual migration. I have done the same trip by bike several times. It is about 2 weeks by bike, and I did it alone. That works out to about 14 camp grounds at say 35 each or 490. Doing the same thing in a car with 5 we stayed in one camp ground, it is nearly possible to do it in one day. That is 35 bucks. Plus gas, about 150. For 5 people. Food worked out to about 10 meals for the 5 of us. Could be about 30 on the tour. Return trip by tour on train is about 200. So my point is that my cheap bike tour which allows me the opportunity to get out there for a long time, ends up costing a fortune, it is actually more, there is usually gear, etc... So to keep the price reasonable, I have to make an effort to do stuff on the cheap. I also personally try to get out on the road. I dont have time to sit around an sight see at a park, and the parks are not always scenic anyway. I may arrive at dusk and leave at sunrise. Parks just don't cut it. And there can be long stretches with no parks.
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Old 07-11-11, 01:57 AM   #10
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European campgrounds range from a small grassy field with shower and toilet block to massive holiday parks with fancy swimming pools and thousands of campers and RVs. These huge ones can be pretty grim and would not be my first choice.
Most of the medium sized ones have a special area for small tents so you get a bit of a small-campsite feel.

There is a sliding scale of costs so campers pay much less than RV or caravan owners. There is a charge for the pitch and for each camper so solo travellers pay more than small groups.

Things I like: powerful hot showers, good coffee, good security, some company for dinner.
Things I dont like: Crazy campers driving on the grass at night, loving couples who pitch up as close to your tent as possible on an empty site and are a bit too loud, kids jumping over guylines.
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Old 07-11-11, 05:41 AM   #11
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Stealth, campgrounds, hotels, I use them all when they suit my purpose. I even stayed the night in my cousins back yard one night, while they where gone on vacation! Thing is, many of the campgrounds around here have gone to RV only. I hate to try and sleep on a crushed gravel bed next to some RV, it's like crashing in the local trailer park!
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Old 07-11-11, 06:41 AM   #12
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Bikes pay only $5 in California State Parks. But, the best thing is that no reservations are required AND you won't be turned away. That means if the bike site is full they will find another spot in the park for you to camp. You can go to the choicest parks at the peak of the season and not worry about having a place to stay.
That's the first I've ever heard of that.
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Old 07-11-11, 06:48 AM   #13
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BLM land. Thank God.
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Old 07-11-11, 06:53 AM   #14
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Personally I prefer camping in campgrounds to camping outside a designated campground. I don't mind camping wherever occasionally, but in general I prefer to have toilets, showers, etc. available.
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Old 07-11-11, 07:08 AM   #15
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I am not big on stealth camping. I do like to camp for free when I can though. So places like small town parks and church yards are frequently my choice. These are the norm in the plains for me.

Places with cheap hiker/biker sites are my first choice where they exist (like California and Oregon state parks), but much of where I tour there are none. I usually avoid KOA type places or anywhere with site costs much over $12 if at all possible.

On the TA for example I think we stayed free more than half the time with no need for stealth. I think our campsite cost per night averaged below $5 per person even if you include the few times we got a room, yurt, cabin, or teepee. It helped that three of us shared a tent and therefore a site or room fee where we were not charged per person.
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Old 07-11-11, 10:28 AM   #16
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That's the first I've ever heard of that.
It's been that way for years and years. For a few years it was only $1! Then it went to $3, then to $5, but it is still a great deal. Some county parks here in California also have this policy. It's too bad that they don't have a clue on the East coast and elsewhere. It's nice not to worry about having a place to stay. Most state campgrounds have showers and many have wi-fi.
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Old 07-11-11, 10:43 AM   #17
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I'm doing a little three night tour, this week. All three nights I'm staying at campgrounds. On the second night out, I'm paying $20 for a campsite with water and electricity, so I can recharge my lights and electronic items. The other nights, I'm paying $5 for "tent" sites. I'll still have access to showers and water, nearby.
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Old 07-11-11, 10:51 AM   #18
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Some of the H/B campsites in California have gone up to $8,OH MY!,still a decent deal.There are campgrounds in California that get booked months,sometimes years in advance,if you can get there hiking or biking,they will not turn you away.There are some good things in California besides weather.

I like campgrounds where available and use them when I can.Lots of places I wander in the desert,there are no campgrounds,so it's sleep when you get tired,not so tired you sleep in a wash.

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Old 07-11-11, 03:52 PM   #19
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Depends on the costs and what is available. Campgrounds in NC range from $15-$35 a night at state parks with private ones running $50+(motel range), cemeteries and church yards can be free (though I often make a small donation). I have also had good luck with VFD's (Volunteer Fire Departments). I usually try to get showers and electricity at least twice a week, with one night being a motel with access to laundry facilities. Recently all of my "tours" have been S24O's so it hasn't been as much of an issue.

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Old 07-11-11, 04:35 PM   #20
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Bikes pay only $5 in California State Parks. But, the best thing is that no reservations are required AND you won't be turned away. That means if the bike site is full they will find another spot in the park for you to camp. You can go to the choicest parks at the peak of the season and not worry about having a place to stay.
From my understanding it's the same with COE campgrounds. $8 a night and guaranteed spot.
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Old 07-11-11, 04:56 PM   #21
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Bikes pay only $5 in California State Parks. But, the best thing is that no reservations are required AND you won't be turned away. That means if the bike site is full they will find another spot in the park for you to camp. You can go to the choicest parks at the peak of the season and not worry about having a place to stay.
Note that not all California State Parks have these "Hike and Bike" sites which don't allow or require reservations. They're common in the parks along the coastal touring route, but not frequently found in other parts of the state. And even the ones with official Hike & Bike sites do not guarantee that you won't be turned away if the regular site is full. While they do usually find some place for non-motorized travelers to pitch their tent (frequently in a day-use picnic area so you have to set up camp late and take it down early), they reserve the right to turn people away.
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Old 07-11-11, 05:10 PM   #22
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IMO they usually are not worth it. I have absolutely no problem with the $5 per night California charges, but much more than that is well, too much for me while on a longish tour.
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Old 07-11-11, 05:56 PM   #23
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Note that not all California State Parks have these "Hike and Bike" sites which don't allow or require reservations. They're common in the parks along the coastal touring route, but not frequently found in other parts of the state. And even the ones with official Hike & Bike sites do not guarantee that you won't be turned away if the regular site is full. While they do usually find some place for non-motorized travelers to pitch their tent (frequently in a day-use picnic area so you have to set up camp late and take it down early), they reserve the right to turn people away.
Luckily, I've never been turned away, but, then again, I've never seen the H&B carpeted wall to wall with campers.
And, that's in Southern California at the choicest parks at the peak of the season.
It's best to check ahead to see if they have a H&B and what their policy is.
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Old 07-11-11, 06:56 PM   #24
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It's been that way for years and years. For a few years it was only $1! Then it went to $3, then to $5, but it is still a great deal. Some county parks here in California also have this policy. It's too bad that they don't have a clue on the East coast and elsewhere. It's nice not to worry about having a place to stay. Most state campgrounds have showers and many have wi-fi.
I didn't know it but I can see the camping on the cheap for bicyclist but I cannot imagine not being turned away under any circumstances. There are a lot of California parks that would be just about horrible to stay in on a busy holiday weekend, especially if they don't turn people away when the campground is full. Wouldn't there be a law about capacity for safety and sanitation concerns?
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Old 07-11-11, 07:02 PM   #25
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Some of the H/B campsites in California have gone up to $8,OH MY!,still a decent deal.There are campgrounds in California that get booked months,sometimes years in advance,if you can get there hiking or biking,they will not turn you away.There are some good things in California besides weather.

I like campgrounds where available and use them when I can.Lots of places I wander in the desert,there are no campgrounds,so it's sleep when you get tired,not so tired you sleep in a wash.
I'm still having trouble with "won't turn you away".
I'm addicted to the desert SW. I've tossed my bag just anywhere hundreds of nights. I prefer it that way. Of coarse I was hiking. I'm yet to discover being closer to civilization (bicycling) but my day is coming and I think I'll be fine. I think I'd freak out if people stumbled across my path though. That would be weird for me. Can't stomach a KOA. WalMart of camping.
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