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Test Tour Cancelled due to COVID-19 Pandemic

Old 11-21-20, 04:58 AM
  #1  
Bassmanbob
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Test Tour Cancelled due to COVID-19 Pandemic

I was planning a local three day/ two night test run tour to gain experience and knowledge to self-supported bicycle touring with a buddy of mine during the first weekend of December. We both have little to no experience touring, so we thought it would be a good idea to stay local and do it together in case one of us needed help. Here in Florida, camp grounds tend to be booked in the cooler months, and with the pandemic, they seem to booked even tighter. All of the local state camp grounds were booked solid, so I booked the KOA in Ft. Pierce for Friday night. It's a commonly used campground for those touring the ACA Atlantic Coast route and then the KOA in Okeechobee (about 40 miles in land) for Saturday night.

Thursday, I received an email from the Ft. Pierce KOA that my booking was cancelled and I received a refund. When I called to alert them of their mistake, I learned that they are cancelling all tent site bookings until further notice. The attendant mentioned that due to the tendency of tent campers to use more of their common area facilities, they are more likely to spread the COVID-19 virus than their RV guests who will use their own bathrooms and kitchens. I explained that while I was disappointed about the cancellation, I understood why they are doing this. In an attempt to salvage the tour, I called the other local state campsites, but everything was booked solid. We considered just doing a one night tour to Okeechobee, but we've decided to cancel the tour and attempt to rebook it sometime between mid-January to late- March. There is no guarantee that a campsite will open up for a Friday night, but we can at least try.

As it turns out, KOA is opening a new and very large site about 4-6 miles west of their current site in Ft. Pierce. I will see if they will be open to tent campers during this second wave of the pandemic. It may be a bit out of the way for Atlantic Coast touring folks, but it should have better amenities. I'm not sure if the current KOA in Ft. Pierce will remain open when the new one opens in mid-January.

As mentioned previously, I'm disappointed, but I totally understand why this KOA has cancelled tent camping bookings. We all need to do our part to better protect ourselves and others. My friend and I had discussed social distancing, mask-wearing when in common areas and we even purchased all our food for the trip to limit further interactions with others. There will be another time.
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Old 11-21-20, 05:41 AM
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My sympathy for any countries peoples whose leaders failed to emulate New Zealands early hard lockdown approach to Covid.

You've been very much let down.

Last edited by rifraf; 11-21-20 at 07:00 AM. Reason: single word removal "if"
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Old 11-21-20, 06:33 AM
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What about some of the State lands with Primitive camping?
I camped on the west side of the state, when it was still way too hot...
Water Management District lands, and WCA lands often permit camping at their walk in or equestrian trail sites.
also, FPL easements and such.
once you get used to it Stealth camping may the way to go. Be quiet. Set up in the dark, leave at sunrise. Don’t leave a trace. That’s how I camp when solo and when I used to go camping with my daughter.
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Old 11-21-20, 06:34 AM
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Really, Rifraf, was that necessary??

Bassmanbob, why not use your house as home base and do 40-60 mile loops with the bike fully loaded? Pitch the tent in the back yard, cook all your meals there, pee in the bushes. Really no different than doing it 40 miles away from home.
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Old 11-21-20, 06:58 AM
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Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Really, Rifraf, was that necessary??
How do you think it was intended?

Much of the world has an out of control wave of death running through it.

Some countries don't.


​​​​You don't feel any frustration?

I'm currently visiting NZ and can go where I want without fear due to virtually no community transmission.

I believe the total death toll in NZ was 25 as of yesterday.

https://www.worldometers.info/corona...y/new-zealand/

I had hoped to be touring in the UK/Ireland but their figures are going up currently

Originally Posted by TiHabanero View Post
Bassmanbob, why not use your house as home base and do 40-60 mile loops with the bike fully loaded? Pitch the tent in the back yard, cook all your meals there, pee in the bushes. Really no different than doing it 40 miles away from home.
Great idea

Last edited by rifraf; 11-21-20 at 07:08 AM.
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Old 11-21-20, 07:23 AM
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I agree with the primitive site and/or backyard idea. I did that back in the 1970s when I was first starting out.

I was living in northern Florida last winter and spring when the pandemic hit, and the state's response then was to effectively close all state park lands, including the entire Florida Trail. So the primitive site idea may not be an option at all for you.
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Old 11-21-20, 07:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
I was planning a local three day/ two night test run tour...

Unfortunate, but I'm not surprised. I've visited various state campgrounds in the winter in Florida..they can be jammed.

A 2-3 day shake-down cruise is definitely a good investment.

Other options.. You've so far targeted high-amenity campgrounds ((southern)state parks and KOA) which is where many folks flock to as they "camp" with microwaves, convection ovens, wifi, cable TV, triple bump-outs, double axel Class A's (basically camping by taking along everything you want to leave behind). As a bike-tourist you're already prepared to exclude all that. You might look for alternatives on HipCamp..sort of a AirBnB version of camping:
https://www.hipcamp.com/discover/florida

Or look for alternative campgrounds (city, county, utility company, military, Corps of Engineers...) that fewer people are aware of..and often have fewer amenities..and fewer campers..perfect..

Try:
ALL US AND CANADA CAMPGROUNDS LOCATOR: STATE PARKS NATIONAL PARKS FORESTS MORE california oregon washington new york pennsylvania more

You'll probably get a security warning on this site..their certificate isn't up to date...the owner profiled on this site actually passed away in recent years and it's run on somewhat of a shoestring currently. I downloaded the data and created my own map & search index/database. It's very useful as you can isolate(hmm..don't remember on the website, but on my version..) county-only, or city-only..etc.. campgrounds. Only public(government related) campgrounds are listed here, no private campgrounds.
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Old 11-21-20, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by fishboat View Post
Unfortunate, but I'm not surprised. I've visited various state campgrounds in the winter in Florida..they can be jammed.

https://www.hipcamp.com/discover/florida

ALL US AND CANADA CAMPGROUNDS LOCATOR: STATE PARKS NATIONAL PARKS FORESTS MORE california oregon washington new york pennsylvania more

You'll probably .......
Always great to see people sharing resources - thank you
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Old 11-21-20, 08:10 AM
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Unfortunately I'm not surprised, during our summer we fortunately had improved things sufficiently so that camp grounds were open. I stayed in some and there were simple rules for bathrooms, either one or two people at a time depending on size, and mask of course obligatory, which of course everyone did and does because we know this reduces transmission.

our second wave is mounting, as expected and no surprise, as we knew that increased meetings and colder weather results in more close person to person contact, so our restrictions are coming back. The same is happening in most countries, but again, no surprise. We all knew it would happen.

re cold weather, it is very strange to read of campgrounds being open when I am about to put on studded winter bicycle tires and have already ridden on snow and ice.

I wish your states health care workers, and those of all of your country the best, it appears that they will be going through a challenging period, something most of us don't really appreciate or fully acknowledge as we don't see it personally.

re a test tour, I'm sure you can plan out some sort of loop system, good luck with it in any case.
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Old 11-21-20, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by rifraf View Post
Always great to see people sharing resources - thank you
You're welcome, glad to help.

It looks like Florida has some public options available..



When planning a trip, I create a potential route and upload it into my version of the us campground database and then take a look at camping options along the way:

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Old 11-21-20, 08:17 AM
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That's a pretty neat resource.
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Old 11-21-20, 09:37 AM
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Originally Posted by Swampthing View Post
What about some of the State lands with Primitive camping?
I camped on the west side of the state, when it was still way too hot...
Water Management District lands, and WCA lands often permit camping at their walk in or equestrian trail sites.
also, FPL easements and such.
once you get used to it Stealth camping may the way to go. Be quiet. Set up in the dark, leave at sunrise. Don’t leave a trace. That’s how I camp when solo and when I used to go camping with my daughter.
I am not typically too into stealth camping. I tour more out west and tend to camp for free in plain sight, but a lot of Florida is just perfect for stealth camping. Pretty much the whole 200+ miles of Florida west of where I live in Tallahassee is largely pulpwood forests where you can get off the road and be unseen. East of here a lot of the way is pretty good for that as well where it isn't too swampy. Just stock up on water and food in the afternoon.
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Old 11-21-20, 10:11 AM
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Have you tried the state facilities during midweek?
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Old 11-21-20, 05:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
... ...
Thursday, I received an email from the Ft. Pierce KOA that my booking was cancelled and I received a refund. When I called to alert them of their mistake, I learned that they are cancelling all tent site bookings until further notice. The attendant mentioned that due to the tendency of tent campers to use more of their common area facilities, they are more likely to spread the COVID-19 virus than their RV guests who will use their own bathrooms and kitchens. ... ...
Wow. I have seen anti-tent camper attitudes with some campground staff before. Such as the time I had a small suggestion for a staff person at a California state park, and she loudly responded that you tenters are low revenue, you are lucky we let you camp here at all. But this is the first time I have seen an organization that caters to RVs show so much blatant contempt against a low revenue class of campers.

If that happened to me, I would let it sit for a couple of days so that I would be less angry when I write a very terse e-mail to their national office. I would probably not want to go to that campground anyway, they would find other ways to let you know you are not welcome, but a complaint to the home office may make things better for bikers in the future in that and other KOA camps.

I stayed at a KOA in California along the Pacific Coast for one night. In that case I was surprised that they offered a hiker biker price for bicyclists, even though we were staying in a regular campsite that they otherwise could have charged a car camper more for.

There are good places, and ... others.
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Old 11-21-20, 11:36 PM
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I'd like to thank everyone for their replies and for not letting this become a political discussion. Thank you, especially to fishboat for the links to alternate campsites. I couldn't get through on the second link, but the first gave me some other options I will consider for the future. Unfortunately, my buddy already has some family obligations now for that first weekend in December, so we will attempt to book this between January and April 2021 if the pandemic is not too out of control at that point. I may still drive to the Okeechobee campsite that Saturday with my wife and dog and possibly go for a little bike ride on the Lake Okeechobee Scenic Trail (LOST).

Some of you also mentioned going out of the area and mid-week. Part of the plan for this trip was to not miss too much work and to do it close to home in case we needed to be "rescued" by one of our wives. We were going to take only three hours off work Friday afternoon, considering the Ft. Pierce campground is relatively close to where we live.
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Old 11-21-20, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
Wow. I have seen anti-tent camper attitudes with some campground staff before. Such as the time I had a small suggestion for a staff person at a California state park, and she loudly responded that you tenters are low revenue, you are lucky we let you camp here at all. But this is the first time I have seen an organization that caters to RVs show so much blatant contempt against a low revenue class of campers.

If that happened to me, I would let it sit for a couple of days so that I would be less angry when I write a very terse e-mail to their national office. I would probably not want to go to that campground anyway, they would find other ways to let you know you are not welcome, but a complaint to the home office may make things better for bikers in the future in that and other KOA camps.

I stayed at a KOA in California along the Pacific Coast for one night. In that case I was surprised that they offered a hiker biker price for bicyclists, even though we were staying in a regular campsite that they otherwise could have charged a car camper more for.

There are good places, and ... others.
While I'm disappointed, I'm not at all angry at the KOA for cancelling my reservation. If anything, I actually respect their decision to protect their other campers who won't use as much of the common areas as "tenters." It also potentially protects the local community too.

On a side note, I called my daughter this afternoon to let her know that my wife and I will not be attending her first Thanksgiving at her house. It was very difficult to do this, considering I knew we'd let her down. There were going to be ten people at the table from 4-5 households. The CDC is recommending spending the holiday with those we live with, and I can't argue that point. I feel an obligation to protect myself, my wife, my daughter, everyone else that was going to be there and potentially many of the elderly people I interact with at work on a daily basis. It's a rough night with all this cancelling, but it beats what others are going through with this virus and potentially doing harm to myself or others. Be safe, everyone.
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Old 11-22-20, 12:13 AM
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I went fat biking at a recreational area today, lots of camping sites available.



But, in any case, things could always be worse. On the way home, someone was having a very bad day.

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Old 11-22-20, 06:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
While I'm disappointed, I'm not at all angry at the KOA for cancelling my reservation. If anything, I actually respect their decision to protect their other campers who won't use as much of the common areas as "tenters." It also potentially protects the local community too.

On a side note, I called my daughter this afternoon to let her know that my wife and I will not be attending her first Thanksgiving at her house. It was very difficult to do this, considering I knew we'd let her down. There were going to be ten people at the table from 4-5 households. The CDC is recommending spending the holiday with those we live with, and I can't argue that point. I feel an obligation to protect myself, my wife, my daughter, everyone else that was going to be there and potentially many of the elderly people I interact with at work on a daily basis. It's a rough night with all this cancelling, but it beats what others are going through with this virus and potentially doing harm to myself or others. Be safe, everyone.
Yeah, I think this is a time to take Covid 19 very seriously. Whether or not one thinks closing the tent sites was necessary, I would assume their motivation was to protect their customers, employees, and the general public. I was initially pretty annoyed when I heard that elsewhere they had shut down hiker biker sites first because they were shared sites, but upon reflection it makes sense.

Personally my choice has been to just not tour this year since I really do not want to do the shorter tours that I might have considered this year. For some reason week end or other short tours just don't appeal to me. When ever I consider them I wind up deciding against them in favor of either just doing day trips in the area or doing something else. Not sure why, but I am just not one of those people who enjoys getting out for a really short tour.

Btw, I have been distracted by my canoe and the local waterway. As the Covid situation eventually improves it is possible I may remain distracted and do more canoe tripping rather than long bike tours. Time will tell, but there are more than enough trips on my bucket list to keep me busy for probably as long as I will be able to pursue them.
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Old 11-22-20, 06:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Bassmanbob View Post
..I couldn't get through on the second link..
If you use the Chrome browser it'll warn you about "not secure", but it has a button to push through and go there anyway. I've never had any issues with the site, from a security standpoint. I'm grateful they allowed the data download..with that, I can reproduce all the database/data searching and map functionality on my own. Pretty easy to do. Google "my maps" is free and easy easy to upload and delete gpx tracks, lat/lon excel files...

Each campsite waypoint on the map(or in the data download) has a brief summary of the amenities to expect (water, vault or flush toilets, elect, number of sites, contact number......). Useful reference.

djb Canada included

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Old 11-22-20, 05:20 PM
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I did a couple of trips in the Banff Jasper area this summer and there was reduced camping in the NP sites. Very reduced. I couldn't figure out why because the sites are already so widely dispersed (to let wildlife walk through) but found out it was all about reducing contact numbers in the washroom facilities. Less people, less people in washrooms. Also, no showers at all.
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Old 11-22-20, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by staehpj1 View Post
Yeah, I think this is a time to take Covid 19 very seriously. Whether or not one thinks closing the tent sites was necessary, I would assume their motivation was to protect their customers, employees, and the general public. I was initially pretty annoyed when I heard that elsewhere they had shut down hiker biker sites first because they were shared sites, but upon reflection it makes sense.
I know of some private campgrounds in PA that were not talking tent campers at the height this spring because they didn’t have the resources to frequently clean restrooms. NJ state parks I believe are still only open for camping at 50% capacity to reduce contact. I went to one for a long weekend and saw plenty of people ignoring the mask requirement when using restrooms. The sites where I stayed had good space between them, and I used the woods to empty the bladder. When I did use a restroom it was not during peak times.
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Old 11-23-20, 09:28 AM
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I think I see a typo in Iowa.

Originally Posted by fishboat View Post

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Old 11-23-20, 11:13 AM
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Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
I think I see a typo in Iowa.
ya..actually I did find two errors in the list of 13000+ campgrounds. They had the wrong lat/lon coordinates on a couple campgrounds..easy to spot as the wrong color shows up in the wrong region(a red West campground shows up in the purple South region). I contacted the current site admin and he fixed them. I also found a very nice little campground along the Paul Bunyan Trail in MN that isn't listed in the original dataset..I added it to my d-base.

Eventually I'll add all the routes I've toured to a copy of the map...I'm a data geek & like maps.
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Old 11-23-20, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by imi View Post
Originally Posted by Bassmanbob
..I couldn't get through on the second link..
​​​​​​​
If you erase the ”s” of ”https” in the URL, it should open

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