Motorcycle Camping in the US - good idea for a visiting Brit? - Kawasaki Versys Forum
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post #1 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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Motorcycle Camping in the US - good idea for a visiting Brit?

Hi, I have just bought a Versys 650 LT in Houston and will be setting off for Alaska on the 7th July this summer. I am in the UK and have not, as yet, had a ride on the bike (actually I have not even seen it!) and I was wondering if camping in the US is a good idea!
Well maybe 50/50 camping /motels!
I ride and camp in the UK (despite the weather) but I was wondering how popular it is and if camping sites are numerous? My google search seem to pull up RV sites and something called KOA...

anyway....., in the UK I use a website that lists all camping sites in an area and it is very easy to locate them and make a booking but I cannot find anything similar for the US.

I am hoping I can be riding somewhere in the US and just pull out my smartphone to locate the nearest campsite that accepts bikers! Just like booking.com etc....

If there are any keen US motorcycle camper out there I am all ears!

Last edited by farmerboy; 02-18-2017 at 01:49 PM.
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post #2 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 05:52 PM
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May I suggest a google search on "motorcycle camping" and maybe add USA or something similar.

I did just that - and came across several very good articles.

Being British or Yank or Canadian or whatever - makes no difference.

No matter where you go - there you are.
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post #3 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 06:18 PM
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From Houston to Alaska you will run across a lot of state parks with camping, Federal Parks with camping, Federal lands with free and fee camping, and private campgrounds. I mix camping and hotels when I am travelling depending on weather and locations.

Every state has a website dedicated to their state parks with maps of their locations.

KOA is a private corporate campground company that focusses on RV camping but usually has an area for a tent. If not, you have to pay RV price to camp.

Also google free camping in the US and you will find a host of sites to review.

My Versys Travels:


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post #4 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 07:12 PM
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May want to try Campgrounds and Camping Reservations - ReserveAmerica also. I've used it for camping with my family, but not for MC camping per se.
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post #5 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 09:16 PM
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just goolge camp sites and forget about 'motorcycle'. i've camped a bunch in the states and never had a problem because i was on a bike, motorized or other.
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post #6 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks all, problem solved! I have even found a nice app for the iPhone which locates tent campsites. (I really do need to improve my "googling" skills!)
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post #7 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 11:32 AM
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As an FYI almost all small towns in the western half of the US have RV parking/tent spots in the town park. A Google for the local court house phone number will get you answers when you pick a town. They are usually minimal facilities but they are some times free.
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post #8 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 03:23 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Duffy View Post
As an FYI almost all small towns in the western half of the US have RV parking/tent spots in the town park. A Google for the local court house phone number will get you answers when you pick a town. They are usually minimal facilities but they are some times free.
That's a great tip - it's little bits of essential local knowledge that can be invaluable to a "foreigner". Much appreciated.

John
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post #9 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-21-2017, 06:30 PM
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Give us a better idea of your route when the trip gets a little closer. Some of us might be able to meet you for a short section of the trip, or offer a place to stay for the night (depending on work, in my case).

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post #10 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 03:37 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks!
I have booked a flight for 4th July from the UK to Houston and will be setting off a day or two after that and heading for Truckee (CA) to meet my pal. (He has a BMW GS) We will then ride north to Alaska on or about the 14th July and be back in Truckee about 4 weeks later (say.. 14th Aug). I will then continue south (solo) to return to Houston and get my flight home on the 23rd Aug.

I really have no idea of the route as yet but I am keen to try and avoid anywhere too hot - google maps takes me via Las Vegas and Death Valley which I believe is seriously hot at that time of year! Any route recommendations are very welcome and it would be great to meet up with people.
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post #11 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 09:25 AM
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Your whole route to Truckee is going to be hot and miserable that time of year. You best bet is to find a route that climbs in altitude and is away from interstates and cities if you want a chance for cooler weather.

At least it will be a dry heat. Plenty of water and a cooling vest under mesh gear will help.

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post #12 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 10:04 AM Thread Starter
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Hmmm... we do not "do" heat in the UK!
I am wondering if camping is a good idea... an air conditioned bedroom is hard to beat... but nearly 50 days at $70- $80 dollars a pop adds up!

Anyway, it has occurred to me that if I enjoy the trip and end up keeping the bike in Texas I can return in cooler times of the year and maybe bringing my UK tent will be a foolish move. If anyone out there is a keen motorcycle camper and can recommend a decent USA tent I am all ears.
Obviously it needs to be small (just for me) and fit on the back of the bike. Preferably easy to erect and maybe even made of something that reflects the heat? I have searched and there are hundreds.... spoiled for choice so a recommendation will be invaluable.
Thanks

found this which may be useful:

Last edited by farmerboy; 02-22-2017 at 10:43 AM. Reason: addition
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post #13 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 11:20 AM
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Check out the average temps for the areas you will be traveling through. The nice thing about the low humidity areas is that the temps drop quite a bit when the sun goes down. I traveled though parts of the west on my Versys back in 2012. Check out one of my links in my signature. If you can get to the higher elevations in NM and curve through UT on your way to CA you might get some reprieve from the heat and see some great roads and views.
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post #14 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 11:23 AM
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I prefer a free standing mesh tent with vestibules that can be kept open for a breeze, but quickly shut if a rain pops up.
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post #15 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 12:49 PM
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I agree with Twowheeladdict, I can't stress enough about avoiding riding in humid areas as much as possible, not just the temperature; the time of day you ride is really important. For example, I live in the Sacramento area which can easily top 100 degrees in August . Fortunately, the humidity is really low, like 15%, and the temperature will frequently drop 30 degrees at night. We will go for months without rain as well. Since the days will be longer, it's a real pleasure to hit the road early in the morning. Stick to the coast, the foothills and mountains, where the best riding is anyway!

Unfortunately, I don't know how to avoid the humidity in Texas!
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post #16 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 02:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farmerboy View Post
Hmmm... we do not "do" heat in the UK!
I am wondering if camping is a good idea... an air conditioned bedroom is hard to beat... but nearly 50 days at $70- $80 dollars a pop adds up!

Anyway, it has occurred to me that if I enjoy the trip and end up keeping the bike in Texas I can return in cooler times of the year and maybe bringing my UK tent will be a foolish move. If anyone out there is a keen motorcycle camper and can recommend a decent USA tent I am all ears.
Obviously it needs to be small (just for me) and fit on the back of the bike. Preferably easy to erect and maybe even made of something that reflects the heat? I have searched and there are hundreds.... spoiled for choice so a recommendation will be invaluable.
Thanks ...
I have been using the REI Half Dome tent for several years. It works great. I will hold me and all my gear comfortably, has lots of ventilation, doesn't leak in a downpour, packs relatively small and light. I also bought a matching "ground cloth" for it.

https://www.google.com/webhp?sa=N&hl...lf+dome+2+plus

I have used ReserveAmerica to get my campsites for years, works great. But certain, highly desirable State Park campsites need to be reserved several months in advance. But those are not your average campsites or state parks.

I've found that when it's hot, having ventilated protective gear is a must, and a smaller/lower windscreen helps.
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post #17 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 03:06 PM Thread Starter
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I have had a quick look on google maps and I have discovered that elevations are shown if you select the bicycle option!
So.. if I route towards Albuquerque I will climb well over 5000 ft which will reduce temps by at least 10 degrees. Which is good I think.
Then St George UT and onwards to Truckee all at reasonable elevations. I have selected "avoid highways" - how does that route look to get me to Truckee?

Maybe heading west to Pheonix, Los Angeles and then up the coast may be better? I have a week to do it... just mulling over ideas at the moment...


https://www.google.co.uk/maps/dir/Ho...62!2m1!1b1!3e1

Last edited by farmerboy; 02-22-2017 at 03:14 PM. Reason: map ref
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post #18 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 03:10 PM Thread Starter
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Trialsguy - that tent looks perfect... thanks!
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post #19 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 05:19 PM
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That will get you there, although you are missing some beautiful country. Recomendation if you have time: I would cut over at 95, north on 395 and cut west over the Tioga Pass and go through Yosemite which is someplace everyone should go at least once in there lifetimes, It's just spectacular! Tent camping is at a huge demand in Yosemite Valley so you would need to reserve NOW. When leaving, head out 140 which follows the Merced river. Turn north on HWY 49 at Mariposa which will take you on an incredible made for motorcycle road that has been dubbed the Mini Dragon. Follow 49 through California Gold country and take the short stretch on Interstate 80 to Truckee. This will be a memorable ride..

If this is a round trip, by all means, on the way home, go to the coast and follow HWY 1 as far south as you want, you won't regret it!
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post #20 of 47 (permalink) Old 02-22-2017, 07:34 PM
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St George, UT is a nice town and if you went north of the Grand Canyon the roads are "nice". There are also some great parks in the southern Utah area.
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