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Old 07-30-08, 09:12 PM
bicycle tourist
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Austin, Texas, USA
Posts: 1,604

Bikes: Trek 520, Lightfoot Ranger, Trek 4500

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I've cycle toured India and stayed in a huge range of places from $2/night to $150/night - some clean and some quite squalid.

However, one of my more difficult overnights was actually in the USA. I went to college in the Boston metro area and one of my preferred mini-tours was to cycle down to Cape Cod and take the ferry back from Provincetown. It was a ride of 136 miles and the ferry left at 3:30pm. This meant it was usually a two day trip.

One weekend I decided to ride down and stay in a youth hostel in Orleans, approximately 100 miles from my start. It was a hot day but I made excellent time and was at the hostel shortly after 1:00pm. I waited there a bit, but a sign on the door indicated the hostel wouldn't open until 5:00pm. Rather than wait there in the heat, I decided I'd head towards P-town and see if I could stay there overnight - perhaps staying on the beach.

I wasn't pushing myself arrived in P-town after the ferry had left. At the city limits were big signs saying "No sleeping on the beach, $50 fine". As a college student, I had around $29 on me, but $15 needed to be saved for the ferry. I went to find an ATM and somehow it was out of order. I only had my silk sleep sack and no tent but decided I needed to find a campground to stay legal. There were two campgrounds in town. I cycled into the first. They told me something like $12 and I said ok. Then they asked, "do you have a tent?". I'm not sure why they asked, but I answered truthfully, "no". So they told me, "well then we can't rent to you...".

Without much other choice, I found the second campground. I was very careful not to mention anything about tents and fortunately they didn't ask me. However, when they asked me to pick a site, I decided to pick one way on the edge of the campground. I walked my bike there and then decided to head into P-town so nobody would see me in my sleep sack. I spent my $2 on two bananas and the cheapest food I could find. I came back after dusk and snuck back to my campsite and spread out the sleep sack.

Then the mosquitoes came. My carefully picked campsite away from everywhere else was surrounded by swamp. The thin sleep sack provided no protection from them. I sort of tried to sleep anyways. I got a nap or two between being bitten. By 4:30am it was starting to get just a bit light and I had had enough. I got up and decided to ride my bike our of there.

I rode north away from P-town to northern tip of Cape Cod. When I got to the beach, what did I find? Half a dozen folks out there sleeping on the beach! If only I had known! I hung out the rest of the day waiting for the ferry to came. I did catch some naps underneath a pier as I was still somewhat sleepy from the night before.
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