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Old 03-11-12, 04:46 PM   #1
Roustabout
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Where Do I Leave Transport Vehicle?

This is kind of a dumb question, but as they say the only dumb question is the one which is not asked. I bought a Yakima roof mount rack to transport my wife and my touring bikes to wherever we plan on starting our credit card tour. Plan on maybe doing a short 3-7 day tour and we'll see where we go from there. Hopefully will do a loop or circuit and come back to our original starting point. The question I have is where should I leave the vehicle and roof rack while we are gone? I want to make sure that the transport vehicle is safe and in good hands in our absence. Do you leave it at a hotel, even though you may not be staying there the whole duration of the trip? Leave it in front of the police station? Just wondering what other people do. We don't necessarily want to ride on our bikes to the starting point of our tour. Nor do we want to ride the bus, train, etc. to get to our beginning waypoint.
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Old 03-11-12, 05:03 PM   #2
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I left my car behind a small-town gas station for three months, once.
He didn't want to charge me anything - but I asked for a tune-up and oil change and gave him extra.
That was Lakeview, Oregon.

A few years later I left my car for six weeks in Dupuyer, Montana.
Again, the guy said - "I didn't do anything - no big deal."

And I never was worried at all.
Key = Small town.
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Old 03-11-12, 05:12 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Roustabout View Post
Do you leave it at a hotel, even though you may not be staying there the whole duration of the trip? Leave it in front of the police station? Just wondering what other people do.
I've done both of the above, but it was with the agreement of the hotel and police department respectively. The hotel in this case was located near an airport and had an established (and reasonable) fee schedule for leaving a car in their lot when no longer staying there. The police station was after we had called them asking for appropriate parking lots in their town and they suggested their own parking lot. On another trip the town had a long-term parking arrangement in their downtown parking garage. And I've sometimes just driven through a reasonable-looking neighborhood and asked a resident who happened to be outside if I could park in front of his house for a week or so.
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Old 03-11-12, 05:31 PM   #4
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All of the above. I've had good luck with mom&pop motels after staying there the night before departure, & with inexpensive chains (Holiday Inn, Super 8, etc). Get permission of the day shift manager/owner.

Bigger town &/or 10-14 day trip: airport long-term lot (cost probably $15 but you know you won't get towed) or hospital parking lot (free in smaller towns, & lots of patients' cars spend 2 weeks there).
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Old 03-11-12, 07:52 PM   #5
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During one tour that didn't actually happen (got sick on the first day and had to go back), the owner of the motel let me keep my car in their yard for free as long as I'd stay for couple of days which I was planning anyway. I'll likely be back to actually do that tour in South Carolina some day.
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Old 03-11-12, 07:52 PM   #6
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Theres always the storage rental places, a garage sized one,..
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Old 03-11-12, 08:38 PM   #7
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I want to make sure that the transport vehicle is safe and in good hands in our absence.
If there is a WS host in your departure city, they might let you leave your car with them. I did that in New Braunfels. I've also left it in parking lots and behind a business, but had a nagging concern during the tour about how many wheels I'd have left.
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Old 03-12-12, 01:21 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Roustabout View Post
This is kind of a dumb question, but as they say the only dumb question is the one which is not asked. I bought a Yakima roof mount rack to transport my wife and my touring bikes to wherever we plan on starting our credit card tour. Plan on maybe doing a short 3-7 day tour and we'll see where we go from there. Hopefully will do a loop or circuit and come back to our original starting point. The question I have is where should I leave the vehicle and roof rack while we are gone? I want to make sure that the transport vehicle is safe and in good hands in our absence. Do you leave it at a hotel, even though you may not be staying there the whole duration of the trip? Leave it in front of the police station? Just wondering what other people do. We don't necessarily want to ride on our bikes to the starting point of our tour. Nor do we want to ride the bus, train, etc. to get to our beginning waypoint.
Remember that in some towns it is a violation for a car to park in the same place ON THE STREET for more than XX hours - maybe 48, maybe 72, etc. You should maybe check locally. I have left my truck in a police station employee parking lot with permission from the chief, which took quite a few back and forth emails to get in a town where 48 hours was the limit. The chief was polite and wanted to help but wanted lots of information beforehand which I can understand.

I am expecting to contact an agent of my long time insurance company, State Farm, and ask for a place or for suggestions in the town where that agent has his office. After all, they insure the vehicle, although through a different agent. I would also be willing to try an independent garage - one with cars and trucks parked outside awaiting repair. Be sure not to leave anything of value in the vehicle.

On my next trip I expect to start from home which eliminates this problem but it is certainly legitimate to start from someplace other than home and need to find a place to leave your vehicle. Good luck.
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Old 03-12-12, 04:44 AM   #9
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We did a combination hub-and-spoke and out-and-back tour at Christmas, and debated how we would handle the situation. In the end, we booked the cabin for the entire time, and just left the stuff we didn't want for the out-and-back part of the tour there.

We were going to do an out-and-back tour this past weekend, and were debating where to leave the van. In this case, the van would have contained a tandem, suitcases, etc. ... some valuable things we didn't want to just leave unattended. We debated about asking if we could leave the van at the motel where we stayed for the first 2 nights of the weekend, and we debated about leaving the van at a park which was the start and finish area for randonneuring events this weekend. In the end, we decided not to bother with the out-and-back tour, and drove to our destination instead, camped, and did a little bit of a hub-and-spoke style tour.

However, if the van were empty, my inclination would have been to leave it on a residential street of the small town we were planning to start the tour from. But not directly in front of someone's house, of course ... that's a bit of an imposition ... but in small towns, you should be able to find the right sort of place to park that's a bit out of the way.
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Old 03-12-12, 06:21 AM   #10
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I thought I had found the answer with long-term parking at airports. I left my truck at the St. George, Utah airport for a week and it was free! Last summer I had a little glitch at the Whitefish airport. There was an airport in town which turned out to be an unattended grass strip. I found the Whitefish/Kalispell airport, but the cost was something like $42 per week! A woman in my group found a storage place where she could park her van behind locked gates for $20 a month.
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Old 03-12-12, 06:28 AM   #11
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All of the above... I've done google searches on overnight parking ordinances for towns I plan to park in, its hit or miss, sometimes the town web site lists locations, sometimes not. +1 for asking the local police about legal overnight parking, particularly if its a small town force where the chief answers the email.
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Old 03-12-12, 08:17 AM   #12
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Glad that I asked the question. Hadn't seen many posts in the pasts which addressed this topic. Thanks for the replies.
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Old 03-12-12, 09:37 AM   #13
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I contact a warmshowers host and ask to park in their yard.
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