Roadside Camping...anyone done it?

Discussion in 'Road Trips/Touring' started by danthern, Feb 10, 2012.

  1. danthern

    danthern Active Member

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    Howdy...Planning a cross country trip in early June from my home in Alabama through the Rockies up into B.C. Canada back down the Pacific Coast Hwy then home via Vegas, Grand Canyon, etc. Somewhere around 7k miles and about 3 weeks planned on the road. We'd like to experience nature at it's finest and save a few bucks so camping part of the time is an option we're considering. Does anyone know the rules for pitching your tent in the wide open spaces of Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, etc? Is it OK to arbitrarily pick a non-populated spot that isn't posted and plop down?
     
  2. Bodeen

    Bodeen Well-Known Member Staff Member Moderator Contributor

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    I cant answer your specific question but I do have a suggestion. I assume you are motorcycle camping. I suggest hammock camping, saves a ton of space. Hammock, tarp, bottom and top insulation can pack down very small. I can provide you with a ton more info if you are interested. PM me if so.
     
  3. poohbear

    poohbear Active Member

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    As for "arbitrarily pick a non-populated spot that isn't posted and plop down?" most of the time not a good idea, fire (campground) laws or might be private land. I haven't been there in a while but I do know that before, the campgrounds in the national parks thur-out the states of Colorado, New Mexico and Calif. where very cheap and safe for tents. Look at your route, find some parks along the way and plan on camping there. But be ready because I have seen it snowing in the Rockies in late May, so it might be a bit cool. Let us know about your trip, and good luck.
     
  4. SilverFoXD

    SilverFoXD Active Member Contributor

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    In general, National Forest lands allow what they call 'dispersed camping' anywhere except in the high-use areas and near existing campgrounds. Best to check with the rangers at a station for the specific forest for their rules, locations, and suggestions. Campfires away from campgrounds may not be allowed, due to our ongoing drought conditions.

    BLM and state land is generally OK, but it is tough to know just what land qualifies as it is rarely if ever marked. Private land is almost always off limits and Indian reservations always forbid non-member camping.

    In any case, be well off the main road. Out of sight is also out of mind.

    Agree with Poohbear, use the existing campgrounds whenever possible. If you plan to hit many of the National Parks or Monuments the annual pass is a great option, even better if you are a senior (like me) and thus eligible for the discounts. Advance reservations for camping is highly recommended, particularly if you will be there during the high tourist seasons. Weekends are always crowded.

    The Rockies in June can be cold and wet, or beautiful, hard to predict. Expect the NW to be wet and the SW dry. Carry extra fuel as distances can be deceiving and the fact a map shows a named dot does not mean a town,or gas station, is there.

    That said, California is in the midst of a budget crisis and has raised their user fees. Camping can almost be as expensive as a motel, so check ahead. The PCH is a great ride, but slow, so take that into consideration as you plan.

    Have a great trip, and keep us posted. Photos are always appreciated. Check in if you have questions.
     
  5. marcus22

    marcus22 Junior Member

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    I have never done it....but I would love to do it. I have a couple of suggestions

    1. read this story: Across the Country on a Honda C70 Super Cub - ADVrider

    its a great read of a kid camping on his way to New York from California. you will get a lot of ideas and maybe ask him questions yourself.

    2. the hardest part I would think is getting "my" bike off the road and out of sight. it is an ultra classic. so if you can overcome that I think you could do it and ask for forgiveness if you get caught. make up an excuse like "I didn't think it was safe to ride last night so i thought I would be better off here".

    3. take pictures and send them our way so we can enjoy your trip too:D
     
  6. danthern

    danthern Active Member

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    Thanks everyone.....just the kind of answers I was looking for. I plan on keeping a daily journal of sorts and will be taking a laptop so I'll be glad to share pics and highlights with the forum. Thanks for the links, I'll be checking those out and I'm intrigued with the hammock camping idea! Certainly will be looking into that...This will be, by far, my longest road trip. My buddy is doing the lions share of the planning and is going an awesome job of mapping out the route, side trips, points of interest, etc. He has the GPS and bike mounted camera. I'm really just following along and thats the way I prefer it! :)....We do plan on hitting several parks so we'll take advantage of those facilities when we can. Thanks again and keep those tips and advice coming!
     
  7. danthern

    danthern Active Member

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 11, 2012
  8. danthern

    danthern Active Member

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    Thank you sir!
     
  9. R_W_B

    R_W_B Senior Member

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    Absolute best for small pack and comfort while sleeping. Does require two trees.

    Where you are going the post below will be good, but on the way I would think the one above is best. In my youth (during the last ice age) you could get away with camping as you proposed (and also dirt bike riding just about anywhere) but things have changed. Population is heavier, most land is now owned by someone that does not want trespassers and or any legal precedence thereof from lawsuits.

    Sure sounds like a fun time though danthern. I would get a list of KOA's etc just in case.
     
  10. danthern

    danthern Active Member

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    Thanks guys, for all the great tips. We'll be interspersing camping with hotels/motels hpoefully about equally. Our route will have us traveling through numerous national forests so it looks like dispersed camping is going to be the ticket. I've been able to locate (on the net) a great map of every nat'l forest in the country with camping details specific to each one. It's gonna make things a ton easier to plan. I haven't needed to tap the expertise here in quite a while but what a weath of knowledge you all are. Thanks again!
    Dan