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Old 08-17-11, 07:20 AM   #1
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Pacific Coast Questions

Do many of the campsites on the coast have honor boxes that you need to have the right change for and if so do they accept checks? I am wondering if I need to bother with taking checks. I know that a few places on the TA it was good to have some checks, but I have not needed them elsewhere. I never use checks at home so it might be a chore figuring out where I put them

I am not sure how sandy and/or unsheltered the sites will be on the coast (I'll be staying in hiker/biker sites in state parks where possible). Will I be able to get by with MSR Needle stakes for my Eureka Spitfire 1 or will there be an issue with them holding in sand? If necessary I'd probably just take 2 different stakes for the ends, unless that is a really bad idea. The MSR Groundhogs are longer wider and have more faces. Would they be adequate or do I need something wider yet like maybe the MSR Blizzard? I have been able to get by with the needle stakes in a wide range of places, but I have only ridden a bit on the coast and stayed in a yurt the one night there.
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Old 08-17-11, 08:30 AM   #2
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I don't remember any self-pay option for hiker/biker sites, at least in the state parks I stayed at (Oregon/California only). In each case I checked in at the booth entering the park. Especially in Oregon, they were very strict about wanting to make sure those staying in hiker/biker sites were really touring hiker/bikers, presumably because of the problems California has had with transients moving into the sites. I wanted to stay a second night at Ft. Stevens near Astoria, and the rangers actually had to get approval from a manager before they would allow me to do that. Having said that, I think I'd bring some checks anyway. They don't weigh much. Every campground I've ever stayed at out west that did have a self-pay box has accepted checks.

As to the stakes, each hiker/biker site I was in was on solid ground where any kind of stakes would have been fine. No sandy campsites. However, there are lots of state parks and I didn't stay in all of them.

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Old 08-17-11, 09:04 AM   #3
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I don't remember any self-pay option for hiker/biker sites, at least in the state parks I stayed at (Oregon/California only). In each case I checked in at the booth entering the park. Especially in Oregon, they were very strict about wanting to make sure those staying in hiker/biker sites were really touring hiker/bikers, presumably because of the problems California has had with transients moving into the sites. I wanted to stay a second night at Ft. Stevens near Astoria, and the rangers actually had to get approval from a manager before they would allow me to do that. Having said that, I think I'd bring some checks anyway. They don't weigh much. Every campground I've ever stayed at out west that did have a self-pay box has accepted checks.

As to the stakes, each hiker/biker site I was in was on solid ground where any kind of stakes would have been fine. No sandy campsites. However, there are lots of state parks and I didn't stay in all of them.
Thanks. That helps a lot. On the checks I'll take them if I find them without too much hunting. On the stakes, unless I hear dissenting opinions I'll stick with the MSR Needle stakes. I guess there are always rocks and sticks
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Old 08-17-11, 10:22 AM   #4
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Coastal camp grounds are in the trees, not on the beach/sand - your regular stakes will be fine.

I paid at an "Iron Ranger" at Kirk Creek - which I highly recommend staying at if possible. Not every campground has a manned entrance.

If you're not into finding your checks, chances are pretty good of being able to find someone in the campground who can make change for a $20.
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Old 08-17-11, 10:22 AM   #5
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P.S. - I should know this, but when are you going?
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Old 08-17-11, 11:04 AM   #6
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P.S. - I should know this, but when are you going?
I arrive in Seattle on August 27th, spend one night there, and hop on the Bremerton Ferry after lunch on the 28th to start the actual bike tour from Bremerton.
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Old 08-17-11, 11:17 AM   #7
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Coastal camp grounds are in the trees, not on the beach/sand - your regular stakes will be fine.

I paid at an "Iron Ranger" at Kirk Creek - which I highly recommend staying at if possible. Not every campground has a manned entrance.

If you're not into finding your checks, chances are pretty good of being able to find someone in the campground who can make change for a $20.
Yeah I guess it isn't like the places where we stayed in Forrest service campgrounds and were the only ones there. Also I guess there are towns frequently enough to make it easier to maintain a supply of small denomination bills.
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Old 08-17-11, 11:30 AM   #8
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Most are manned during normal hours 8am-8pm or so,shorter during the off season.In Cali,the summer season is basically,Memorial day to Labor day.

If you get in after the rangers have gone,your on the honor system.There are boxes at the enterance booth or close to the sign boards as you enter.

During the off season,you can use the boxes or there are Camp Hosts in most campgrounds.Snowbirds come out and stay the off season in some of the campgrounds.They'll have an RV parked somewhere,it will be marked on the campground map at the signboard.They can help with questions,sell firewood,generally keep an eye on the place.

California State campgrounds except cash and checks,both in person and at the machines.No ATM or credit cards.

Most of all,have a blast,your going to love it.

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Old 08-17-11, 11:39 AM   #9
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Maybe I'll see you on the road. Thinking seriously about going from mid-Oregon to S. Cal, starting early to mid September. Either way, have a great trip. It's a gorgeous ride, and after Labor Day should be the perfect time to be there.
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Old 08-17-11, 12:27 PM   #10
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Thanks guys!
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Old 08-17-11, 01:21 PM   #11
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enjoy the trip.
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Old 08-17-11, 06:24 PM   #12
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I'm a Canadian planning a trip down the coast - I am going to assume would it best to bring small amounts of U.S. cash for the boxes?
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Old 08-17-11, 09:31 PM   #13
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I'm a Canadian planning a trip down the coast - I am going to assume would it best to bring small amounts of U.S. cash for the boxes?
This, and any vending machines you may run across during your trip. It always seems that whenever I crossed the border into Canada, it was on the weekend. And just try to by a Coke at a rural gas station with an American $5.00 bill.
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Old 08-17-11, 10:23 PM   #14
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I am heading down the coast in early Sept. I assume that if your starting in Bremerton that you will be crossing the old bridge into Astoria. Do you know how the roads/camping are from Brem - Astoria?? Might take the same route.
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Old 08-18-11, 07:47 AM   #15
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I don't have specific information. However, on lots of tours I've had frequent nights where I had to pay the "iron ranger" for my stay. They always take checks, so I just stick my checkbook in the ziploc with my spare maps, addresses, etc.
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Old 08-18-11, 08:11 AM   #16
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I assume that if your starting in Bremerton that you will be crossing the old bridge into Astoria. Do you know how the roads/camping are from Brem - Astoria??
Not really. I am following the AC maps for that section and planned to just wing it relying on their listed services. From the ACA map it looks like there are plenty of options for both camping and motels. I looked at the roads some with Google Maps Street View and they looked OK to me.
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Old 08-18-11, 10:07 AM   #17
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I arrive in Seattle on August 27th, spend one night there, and hop on the Bremerton Ferry after lunch on the 28th to start the actual bike tour from Bremerton.

I know you probably will have plenty to do when you get here, but if you find yourself bored and looking for something to do there is a bike-in movie on the 27th. They're showing quicksilver, and it will have a live score!

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Old 08-18-11, 12:47 PM   #18
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Not really. I am following the AC maps for that section and planned to just wing it relying on their listed services.
I take it you have seen the official on line publication for the OR portion. I was amazed at how thorough it is. Thinking about doing that section next year.
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Old 08-18-11, 04:28 PM   #19
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Yes. It looks like a nice map. I figure it, the Kirkendall and Spring book, or the ACA maps will each get the job done. Also I figure that if you wanted to you could find your way with no map at all on this route. I elected to use the ACA map for a few reasons...
  1. I am very familiar with their (ACA) maps in general.
  2. I figure they are probably the most up to date if you use the online addenda.
  3. They have a more complete list of services, including libraries, restaurants, bike shops, hospitals, post offices, campgrounds, motels, and other stuff.
  4. The services have addresses and phone numbers listed.
  5. There are elevation contours.
  6. Zip codes are listed (helpful if arranging mail drops).
  7. I am using them for the California portion of the trip and figured I might as well be consistent.
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Old 08-18-11, 05:15 PM   #20
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I can think of quite a few beach campgrounds where sites are sand. But all save one of those are in areas with high use and as far as I know no hiker/biker sites. I'd say about half the ones that are sand are on very well packed sand so most stakes would be fine.
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Old 08-19-11, 01:20 AM   #21
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If you are staying at State Park Hiker/Biker sites then it is also useful to carry quarters for the showers - some showers are free, others require coins. It is hit and miss, 50 cents might be enough in some showers.
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Old 08-19-11, 04:38 AM   #22
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I can think of quite a few beach campgrounds where sites are sand. But all save one of those are in areas with high use and as far as I know no hiker/biker sites. I'd say about half the ones that are sand are on very well packed sand so most stakes would be fine.
Thanks. Sounds like the needle stakes will be fine

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If you are staying at State Park Hiker/Biker sites then it is also useful to carry quarters for the showers - some showers are free, others require coins. It is hit and miss, 50 cents might be enough in some showers.
I generally carry a prescription bottle with a couple dollars worth of quarters and a spare pair of spd cleats.
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Old 08-19-11, 04:41 AM   #23
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I know you probably will have plenty to do when you get here, but if you find yourself bored and looking for something to do there is a bike-in movie on the 27th. They're showing quicksilver, and it will have a live score!

Sounds like fun, I'll keep it in mind.
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Old 08-19-11, 09:53 AM   #24
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Crossing the 'old' bridge into Astoria ..
Old? jeez.. they built it in the 1960's, not the 1860's
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