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RV & Bike Touring

Old 04-21-24, 04:01 AM
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RV & Bike Touring

Hi folks. As a recently-retired cyclist, my wife and I are finally able to travel wherever and whenever we want, to ride various parts of the country. My goal with this thread is to not only share ideas for bike rides, but also nearby campgrounds. She isn't comfortable doing much on-road riding, so we favor trails.

Based on those goals, here are our typical steps for planning bike tours:

1. Pick out a ride we want to do.
2. If the ride is longer than we are able to do in one day, break it up into as many segments as necessary.
3. Plan each day as an out-and-back from wherever we park the car.
4. Based on the steps above, pick a campground within a reasonable driving distance from the trailhead(s).
5. If the trail is longer than works with the above steps, consider using more than one campground, spread out along the trail.
6. If a variety of campgrounds are available within a similar distance, pick the more desirable one.

Using those steps, I have found that we are usually able to compromise on the best campground, vs it's distance from the various trailheads. Of course, there are also times when the campground we end up using is farther from the trail than we could have been, but it is also closer to other non-cycling related activities we want to do. Like everything in life, it's always a compromise.

Anyway, do any of you use an RV in conjunction with bicycle touring? Do you have a similar or better process for planning your tours? Any campgrounds you've used that worked well as a hub for rides? I'll share a couple we have done in future posts, but just wanted to throw this out there to get the ball rolling.

Our next tour will be in the northwest Arkansas area, and from perusing this forum, it looks like the Razorback Greenway definitely needs to be on the list of trails to ride. I haven't picked out a campground yet though. Any other suggestions for rides and/or campgrounds nearby?

Thanks in advance.

Last edited by rv_biker; 04-21-24 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 04-21-24, 06:19 AM
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I will be watching this. As this is similar to what we did this past winter. So I will be looking forward to your experiences and information.
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Old 05-26-24, 11:53 AM
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Windsor, Missouri

Sorry it's taken me awhile to circle back to this thread, but I've been busy riding!

On my current trip, I've had a great stop combining RVing and bike touring. I stayed in the Farrington Park campground in Windsor, Missouri, right at the intersection of the Katy Trail and the Rock Island Spur.

The Trail(s):

For those who don't know, the Katy trail runs from Clinton, Missouri to St. Charles, Missouri (near St. Louis). It is hard packed crushed limestone, and is well-maintained and smooth, for a non-paved trail. It winds through small towns, really making you feel like an explorer, with infrequent road crossings, and most of those are rural roads with very little traffic (use normal cautions when crossing, as always though). I won't go into much detail here, since that trail is well-reviewed elsewhere online. I rode out and backs on two different days, returning to my RV in the evenings.

The Rock Island spur runs from the Windsor area to near Kansas City, is newer than the Katy and, at least in the Windsor area, not nearly as smooth. Unfortunately, it appears as though the folks maintaining the Rock Island have been using a tractor with tractor tires (as opposed to smooth tires), so the trail is riddled with ruts from the tractor tires. I found it so unrideable as a result that I turned around way before I wanted to and went back to the Katy for the remainder of the day. Hopefully the trail will smooth out and/or the workers will stop using tractor tires. Until then, unless you are on a mountain bike, I would avoid it.

The Campground:

Farrington Park is a small park in a small town with only 8 sites, but had plenty of availability in mid-May 2024 when I was there. The sites are level gravel, with full hookups and strong wifi included. I paid $30 per night, and they do not accept credit cards. Cash or check only. Near the sites is a shower and rest room building, but I didn't go into it so I can't comment on cleanliness. The park is right beside the Rock Island trail, and it is a short ride through town to get to the main intersection with the Katy. Windsor is small but has a bank, some ATMs, and a few restaurants and shops.

Overall, it was a great place to see parts of the Katy and the Rock Island trails. Hopefully when the Rock Island is smooth, even more riding will be available from the area.

Enjoy!

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Old 05-26-24, 12:14 PM
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An RV is a great idea. We are looking into it.
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Old 05-26-24, 12:16 PM
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Bentonville, Arkansas

I just realized that I forgot to mention our experiences in NW Arkansas, as I alluded to in the first post. Here that is:

The Trail(s):

Because of time constraints, we were only able to ride two days. On day one, we parked at Compton Gardens in Bentonville, Arkansas and rode from there north to Bella Vista Lake and back. The trail is smooth and paved, and moderately curvy in places. There are frequent intersections with mountain bike trails, and it was pretty crowded the day we were there, so we had to be constantly alert for MTBers crossing the trail as we rode. Everyone was courteous, so it worked out ok, but we were wishing that we had tried it on a weekday during the school and workday, instead of on a weekend.

On day two, we parked at the Crystal Bridges Museum and rode some of the trails around there. Those are fun and interesting because of the quirky sculptures lining the trail. Those trails are also smooth and curvy, but that ride is more about sight-seeing rather than covering any significant distance, so we didn't mind the curves. Unfortunately there was construction going on in that area, so we didn't get to ride as mush as we hoped, but the riding was fun anyway.

The Campground:

We stayed at the Prairie Creek campground on Beaver Lake, which is a short drive from the trails. We didn't ride from the campground to the trails, using our towed vehicle to carry our folding bikes to the trails instead. The campground has numerous camping loops, and is very scenic and natural. It is a Corps Of Engineers park, and the normal rate is $24 per night. We only paid $12, since we have a lifetime senior pass to the National Parks, so we got a 50% discount. Our site had electric and water, but no sewer. There is a dump station as you leave the campground, so lack of sewer isn't much of an inconvenience unless you plan to stay longer.

Enjoy!

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Old 05-26-24, 12:32 PM
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Edmond, Oklahoma

The Trails(s):

We rode the Route66 Trail, which winds along the north side of Arcadia Lake, and goes along the dam. The trail is paved, and wide, and there are separate paved trails for cyclists and walkers/joggers, which is a nice respite from the usual concerns about conflict between the two groups. The trail is a long steep downhill to the bottom of the dam, and then a steep climb back to the top. Not being that strong of a rider, the climb was so steep that I had to walk a good portion of it. My wife made the long climb, but just barely. There are also hiking trails in the woods along the lake, which we enjoyed on day two.

The Campground:

We stayed at the Central State Park campground on Arcadia Lake, which is right on the trail. Rates are $35 per night with full hookups, but we got a 20% senior discount. The sites are paved with plenty of shade and natural views. No wifi.
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Old 05-26-24, 02:13 PM
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Yes, done exactly this. I ride, my wife does not, but she is very happy to drop me off or pick me up as needed. I can fit a bike in the bed of by pick up with needed camping gear. I am OK on road riding so will as needed, bike out of the campground as needed. Or catch a ride to a local rail trail. Have done this in Maine (Acadia and a trail in Dover, Maine) or the Erie Canal trail, Castelton, VT., etc….. there are tons of trails to explore and usually camping nearby as well. I have a hard time though deciding on a ride, or go kayaking as often times (in New England) the campground is in a beautiful lake.
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Old 05-26-24, 05:50 PM
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Go to Hill City, SD.

Get an RV site here:

https://www.crookedcreekresort.com

You can literally ride onto the Mickelson Trail from the back of the campground.

Do an out and back north one day and an out and back south to Custer the next day.
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Old 05-26-24, 07:53 PM
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If you go to the Black Hills, there is the Oreville Campground a very short distance from the Mickelson Trail. I was there 14 years ago, not sure how much has changed. You could camp there a few nights, do some out and back rides on the trail.
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/blac...a/?recid=26043

There are some campgrounds along the Natchez Trace where cars and RVs are welcome for free. But first come first serve, they might be full. That is not too far east from Arkansas. They also have some bike campsites (no RVs) that you could ride out to for a day, camp for a night, ride back. This is road, not trail riding. But no commercial traffic and as long as you are not too close to a major city like Jackson, traffic is light and is generally respectful of bicyclists. I did about three fourths of the Natchez Trace a year ago with a friend, more detail on our trip here:
Natchez Trace April 2023 Trip Summary
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Old 05-29-24, 06:26 PM
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I believe what you are doing is also called a hub and spoke tour. I've done a few of those. One thing to consider outside of campgrounds is dry camping on public lands such as National Forest and BLM lands. Most NF and BLM land allow dry camping within certain limits. Dry camping is even easier when an RV is involved because the whole goal is to leave no trace once you're gone. Refrain from having a camp fire and disturbing the surrounding area. A portable propane campfire can be handy under such circumstances.
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Old 05-31-24, 07:48 PM
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Rend Lake, Southern Illinois

The Trail:

This is a Corps of Engineers lake, and the trail winds through the north and south Sandusky campgrounds, then around the lake along the dam. The trail is paved and 20 miles round trip.

The Campground:

We were in the south Sandusky campground. Sites have full hookups, are paved, well spaced, with natural scenery. Some are lakefront. Large campsites with picnic tables and fire pits. Rates are $26 per night, half price with senior lifetime National Parks pass. Excellent!
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Old 06-01-24, 06:15 PM
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Since you are at Rend Lake or possibly still nearby, check out the Tunnel Hill Trail from Harrisburg to Karnak, IL. You can camp right on the Ohio river near New Grand Chain, IL, and actually there are two different campgrounds near by. You can start somewhat in the middle at Vienna, IL and ride out and back both to the north and then to the south.
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Old 06-06-24, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by robow
Since you are at Rend Lake or possibly still nearby, check out the Tunnel Hill Trail from Harrisburg to Karnak, IL. You can camp right on the Ohio river near New Grand Chain, IL, and actually there are two different campgrounds near by. You can start somewhat in the middle at Vienna, IL and ride out and back both to the north and then to the south.
Thanks! I had to drop off the RV for maintenance, but I'll check out your suggestion when I can!
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