Thursday, October 17, 2013

I am not a solo rider, nor am I a camper

Since I have been back from my Transcontinental Trip to PEI,  I have gathered some random thoughts which I am going to share with you.  This is only the first of a few to follow

It was also my plan to give you some statistics and costs and also to thank those that hosted me.  They all went out of their way to make me feel welcomed and I really appreciated it.

I am not a camper.   I have never camped before and it was only a couple of years ago that I purchased some camping equipment.  I bought a tent, a sleeping bag and a self inflating sleeping pad.

    Spring 2012 setting up my new tent

I was preparing for iMBC2012 where we had a bloggers get-to-gether in Baker City, Oregon.

I am also not a solo rider but I don't mind riding by myself to meet others.  To be by myself for a day or so is manageable for me.   I remember that I left before 6am from Vancouver and I arrived at our campsite around 4:30p in Baker City, OR.   I pushed myself .  It was hot and I rode over 500 miles that day.

Here I am in Baker City, OR.   I couldn't believe it .    I was actually camping.   This was my first time and I will always remember this day

    Baker City, Oregon   July, 2012

Vstarlady arrived a day earlier and she was my mentor, you know, show me what to do and what to bring.

I am glad that this was a top rated campsite and by that I mean that it is up to KOA standards but not a KOA  but imagine my delight when the tent fee for that night was only $22.   Since I was going to be retiring soon I thought that this would be a way for me to continue to tour around the country when I no longer had an income.

I am not a solo rider but when the plan to ride across the country was in the planning stages, the plan was for me to meet up with David and Karen and then the three of us would ride together and head to Portland, Maine.   We decided to meet in State College, PA at the KOA campground in Bellefonte, PA

David came from Montreal, QC and Karen came from Kingston, ON so they both had a 2 day ride.  I had to ride 3,000 miles and I allowed 9 days.  We're talking MILES not kilometers and all of this distance I would be by myself and I had no one to rely on if I had any problems.  Of course I didn't wish to be on the Interstate all day pounding out the miles so along the way I made a few detours.

On July 10, 2013 Wednesday I left early and reached the Cdn/US border around 7am.  My plan was to take I-90 for two days to get away from familiar territory.   Remember that I am not a solo rider, nor am I a seasoned camper but for this trip I decided that I would stick to KOA campgrounds as they are the Mcdonalds of campgrounds with a consistent standard even though they were more expensive than independants.   My thought was that 2 nights at the campsite would be equal to 1 night at a Motel6 so I would still be ahead.   Yes, I did have a budget for this trip but I will save this info for another more detailed post but my budget did allow for staying at  hotels for the whole time.  My plan was to see how much I could save by camping.

We were in the middle of a heat wave and it was nearly 100°f for the first couple of weeks.  In full riding gear all day I wasn't sure if I could survive sleeping in a tent (due to the heat) but I also knew if I didn't try to camp for the first few days, then I would just be hoteling it all the way

Here I am entering Spokane, WA.  I have no idea where the KOA is but I am relying on my GPS to lead the way.   It is still fairly early around 3:30pm   The next KOA is in Idaho but I wanted to relax a bit, get something to eat and generally just relax at the campsite, which was not always possible

I arrive at the Spokane KOA after a non-rushed  431 mile day.    There is still lots of daylight left.  I check in and while I am setting up the couple next to me come over to talk.   I found that when you are traveling by yourself you are more approachable.  After I set up I ride over to a fast food place to grab a bite.  I am sweltering in my riding gear but I am slowly eating in air conditioned comfort.   I am dreading the thought of gearing up again to ride back to the campground

There is good WiFi here and soon enough it gets dark and time to call it a day.   It is my desire to be on the road by 8am every morning

    KOA: Spokane, WA    July 10, 2013

I like the feeling of self sufficiency that camping brings to motorcycle touring. 

I can tell you that there is no better feeling than being in a tent, with your clean body sandwiched within your sleeping bag miles from home and I would get to do this again many more times on this trip


  1. After the title statement, I expected a solid argument on why camping was unsuitable for you. On your Spokane stay, I would've stopped at a grocery in the afternoon and picked up stuff for dinner. Usually after arriving and setting up, I usually don't feel much like riding anywhere. And, for me, preparing dinner is an enjoyable part of the experience.

    1. Richard:

      you are getting a bit ahead of me. Remember that I am a novice and over time I developed a routine which worked better. What you said is precisely why I did things differently as the days rolled on. Sorry about the title, I actually liked camping provided there were water facilities. I never revealed my inner thoughts about my trip, until now . . .

  2. You may not have started your trip as a camper or solo rider, but I think you may have ended it as those.

    I am like Richard - once I get to my destination for the day I really hate getting back on the bike for short errands.

    1. Trobairitz:

      I am purposely keeping my comments short as I intend to include more thoughts in the next blog post. I had nearly always gone on group rides but over the past few years I have been avoiding them preferring to just meet at the restaurant or follow far behind the sweeper. Either that or just keep to small groups of friends.

      Your second sentence will be answered soon on a blog post. I am attempting to let you into my mind and what I was thinking as I was riding solo, and the things I learned along the way to make things simpler & easier

  3. "I am attempting to let you into my mind and what I was thinking"

    There's a frightening thought...

    1. Richard:

      There are different dynamics when you are in a group. If a problem surfaces then you have more minds to figure it out. All was not bright sunshine and roses. I was learning to adapt to self sufficiency and it seem to be working out, at least for the first couple of days, until day 3 . . . when I encountered my first low point

      of course my life may not be that interesting so I could just skip it

  4. I don't know Bob, you sure sound like a solo rider.....perhaps a few more similar experiences, but with less rushed slab riding, more slower introspective riding.....sometimes, being alone and knowing there's no one around for miles and miles, is a good thing.

    1. Dom:

      These series of posts are coming from my thoughts, thoughts which I never expressed before and perhaps will explain my evolution from Group to Solo rider, and from non-camper to avid camper. There was a reason for my rushed pace across SD, WN until I met you in Holmen, WI of which you were aware but which I never revealed. This was the reason for my rushed pace as I would have preferred to be your monkey on the Great River Loop

      I had a lot of time to think on Hwy 50 after I left CO being alone with hardly anyone else around, and now I find out there were rattlesnakes hiding in the sagebrush and tumbleweeds

      Riding has forever changed for me. I look at the map and see where I had been, all the way over to PEI. I used to think that CA was far, far away and was a major trip. I now think of it as an overnight jaunt

  5. Good work. you have overcome your fears. now you have years to enjoy the victory. as for camping I like la quinta government rate.

    1. Mr Conchscooter:

      you might say that. Let's say I am not afraid to go by myself again . I don't think we have La Quinta's up here but I've seen them in the "states.

      can I get Government rate if YOU BOOK for me ? I still haven't made it to KW. I could be an associate from Canada

  6. I enjoy solo riding a lot, I also am fine with a well matched riding buddy or 2. But, I really dislike large group rides like some of my past Sturgis experiences have been. Trying to get 15 people to agree on anything is crazy.
    I also like to camp but I'm fine with lower priced hotels too.

    Bob, now you need a lower paced, non Interstate Highway, ride to enjoy your surroundings and see the countryside!

  7. I am still a solo rider in my heart although I enjoy having hubby around. I don't worry much about having a breakdown (meaning the bike), that's what the AAA, CAA or in Europe the ADAC is good for ;-)
    I have camped when I young and I enjoyed it but now I am a creature of comfort and rather prefer a decent accommodation. I like B&Bs the most as it provides you interaction with the locals.