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So, I’ve been thinking about doing some extended motorcycle trips (here in the US) like several weeks or more, and I am always curious about other peoples experience as it is always enlightening and often times I hear a word of caution that I reflect on when I stumble into the same problems.

I have a sub 10k mile bike, that runs like a top and has been mine since mile 1. It has new tires, Airflow windscreen, shad sh23 sidecases, dryspec d38 tail bag. That i’ve fine tuned with my tent and sleep system etc.

I have done some short several day trips with the above and feel comfortable with the setup I have as far as battery/charging, riding comfort. What i’ve never really needed was anything civilized like showers and the like.

I have heard of Pilot Flying J stops for showers and some fuel and grub. I downloaded the App and was amazed at how many dots were all over the country. But I don't know if I can stay in the parking lot with my bike unless I setup a tarp and cot next to/over the bike. If I need to (and probably will) I will stop at a hotel. But what other alternatives are there? State Parks? Air BnB

I will probably wait until march or so, when it is not frigid.

Thanks!
 

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I bought my new 2020 Wee in March of this year with the intension of taking some bike trips with it. I have taken 2 9 day trips on the bike and a few weekend camping trips this summer. I have found that State parks are great places to stay. A lot of them will have showers and and pretty cheap, if not free ( I found a really nice one by Watkins Glen that was free). I have heard of people asking farmers if they can stay in a field or something like that. Granted I have not done that yet but I have heard of it. I do know that a lot of the big truck stops have showers that you can pay for and use. I have set my bike up very well for long distance riding. I started in March with 1 mile on it now I have 14K on it. Planning on taking a 15 day trip next year on it so that will be fun.

In terms of gear that I have. setup the bike with better springs front and rear, cause I'm fat lol. Madstad brackets and tall windshield. I have a custom seat and a Russel Day Long. SoloBox 42L panniers and top box. Dry duffle bag from Amazon. Happy trails Pannier racks, skid plate, center stand, and engine crash bars. I have a few battery backup changers that I bring with me on the multi day trips, but I use the charger in the dash to charge my phone while riding and I will also charge a battery pack off it too. I have a SAE plug battery tender charger if I really need it.

I'm an Eagle Scout so I have always fell into the whole " Be Prepared" mind set. But I have found, only pack what you need. You can always stop somewhere and pick up a sweatshirt if you get cold or something like that. I found that you always come back from a trip with more stuff you left with so pack light to start with.

Every ones riding style is different but getting up early and getting going for a couple of hours in the morning is nice, then stop and have breakfast, then you are fueled till early after noon, you can get a late lunch and then find a place to stay. One of the things i like about taking trips to different places is to simply meet and talk to people. if you get into camp you can always find some to chat with and most of the time you will have a good time.

I'm guilty of getting home sick and sometimes I just don't want to do it anymore. This past August I rode home from PA to NH in one day. I know its not the longest day in the world but I did take the long way home. I spent 11 hours on the bike that day and only stopped to eat once. By hour 8 or 9 I just wanted it to be over so I pushed, I could feel myself getting tired and sleepy but I just wanted to be home in my own bed. Thankfully I made it home in one piece but getting tired on the bike is what gets people into trouble. You get tired and start to loose your focus on the task at hand and bad things start to happen.

I know I could be rambling at this point but I hope it helps lol. Please feel free to ask anything.

Ride safe
Nate
 

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Pilot/Flying J's are one of the largest travel stop chains, along with Loves, Petro/TA, AmBest and a host of independents/ regionals. P/FJs tend to be the cleanest, TA and AmBest not so much, Petro is typically the most expensive. There are good and bad exceptions to all of the above. Within P/FJ, the Pilots are more express-oriented. Most have a fast food franchise integrated. Flying Js mostly have a Denny's, a few have fast food franchise. Both have a "heat lamp" deli. As far as "camping" there, or any of them, contact their Customer Service and ask: I doubt it. When I drove OTR semi, P/FJ & Loves were my go-to for all things Class 8. Hikers, bicyclists, MC's would chain up to a light pole and sleep in the Drivers Lounge (FJ's, few Pilots & Loves have a lounge). Outside is pretty noisy with 25-300+ trucks and refrigeration units running all night, and the fuel islands are busy 24/7. Depending on the locale, you may get solicited by "on demand" companionship agents.
 

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In the West US you can camp on BLM and national forest land for free. Developed campground sites will have a small fee.

Wal-Mart let's people camp in their parking lots.
 

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Not sure why anyone would want to “camp” overnight in a commercial or gas station parking lot? Noise, cars whizzing by all night, lights, hard ground, possibly unsafe.

I thought motorcycle touring was supposed to be enjoyable!
 

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We found travelling by cage the national parks were the nicest in April before the unis get out.
Really depends on where you are going as some passes are closed even in May.

A yearly National Parks Pass will get you into all parks and most monuments for a single $80 purchase good for a year

I'm a bit surprised you opted for the SH23s for camping touring. I really liked mine - especially the top loading bt would think them small for camping. Skiman has it right ...only pack what you need and pack light.
Skip cotton entirely as hypothermia is a real risk and takes too long to dry. Multi-layering technical fabric works well on a bike and doubles for extra warmth.
In March almost anywhere I'd have a ColdPruf layer along.
 

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A Heated jacket in the Spring and fall will extend your days and it is just another layer without the electrickery👍
And never succumb to a case of "gettherertis" on an overly long ride. Know your limitations and plan the ride accordingly.
KOA's have rental cabins that you could use as a base for a day or two stay in a good sightseeing/riding area.
 

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A Heated jacket in the Spring and fall will extend your days and it is just another layer without the electrickery👍
And never succumb to a case of "gettherertis" on an overly long ride. Know your limitations and plan the ride accordingly.
KOA's have rental cabins that you could use as a base for a day or two stay in a good sightseeing/riding area.
 

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Extended motorcycle trips are nothgin more than a string of daily trips strung together. Depending on the time of year and where you are riding will determine what you need to take. Also realize there is huge difference in "need" and :want" to take. You'll quickly find out really how much stuff you can do with out.

I see guys packing for a week long trip with two full panniers, top box and then soft bags on the panniers and pillion seat loaded with Dog only knows what. When moto traveling less is more and the more stuff you take is just more weight to lug around making the riding expierence less fun and accelerating tire wear.

A buddy of mine when on a 5 week trip from South Central Pennsylvania to Prudhoe Bay Alaska and back with an extra pair of jeans in case it rained and the jeans he was wearing got wet.

1/2 the stuff you think you need, yo don't. Out of the other 1/2 the stuff you'll only use a portion of it.

For long duration trips 3 or 4 days worth of cloths is all you need. Every few days stop at a laundromat or stay at a motel that has a washer/dryer and do a load of laundry. Packing for weeks on end is easier than packing for a week. When traveling for a week you end up taking extra cloths so you do not have to do laundry. When traveling weeks on end unless you are going to buy new cloths you cannot carry enough so just give up and do laundry

Also remember since you are wearing a jacket and over-pants the cloths underneath do not tend to get dirty very quickly. So a pair of jeans and t-shirt are good for a couple days. So it really boils down for me to underwear and socks. I like fresh everyday.

Food is easy there are a billion restrauant, grocery/convenience stores. The big problem is trying to eat remotely healthy. Fried foods, burgers, chips, prepackaged sandwiches, soda, sweet and/or salty snacks are cheap and easy but after a while it nothing but a calorie bomb after calorie bomb. Its not like you are hiking the Appalachian trail where you are burning 20,000+ calories a day. Sitting on a bike day after day is about a strenuous as sitting on your couch watching Chuck Norris and Christie Brinkley use the Total Gym.

Tires and other maintenance items while out and about are another kettle of fish.

The biggest thing you can do for a successful trip is wake up everyday with a positive attitude and go into every situation chin up and a smile on you face.
 

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In areas with motorcycle campgrounds, tent camping is typically pretty reasonable. Usually $10-$15 night and have showers, some have food, firewood etc. State parks seem to run $25-$30, but sometimes have primitive for cheaper.
Harder to find are things like county or city parks, but those can be real gems. We have a county park in Carroll County, GA with excellent tent camping, very nice bathhouse and a big laundry room for about $17.

Not sure, but you may be able to pay the $5 day use fee at some state parks with campgrounds and slip in and grab a quick shower. I ran into a coin operated shower on Skyline Drive.

Out of the box, but some businesses have showers for employees like service techs. We have them in some of our branches. If you happen to be utilizing any type of service business, worth asking.

A regional or national gym membership would get you into the showers too.
 

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If grabbing a motel, the Staybridge Suites chain under the Holiday Inn group has free laundry and even a laundry basket in each room for carrying your stuff back and forth to laundry room. Get extra bang for your buck and stay Mon-Wed night for the included evening meal with beer/wine (check on this during current times - some have modified or stopped). The Homewood Suites from Hilton have laundry but not free. Evening reception Mon-Thursday.

If you are going to splurge on a room, these are nice and of course join the loyalty programs at any chains so you can earn free nights. Register for all extra point/free night promotions. Sometimes just 2 nights can earn a free night. While I prefer mom & pop motels on a bike trip so I can park right out front, the nice amenities of the two mentioned above are hard to beat and they usually are kept to at least a minimum standard. I travel for work and these are my favorites. Typically we have enough points for free nights all week on a typical bike trip.
 

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So, I’ve been thinking about doing some extended motorcycle trips (here in the US) like several weeks or more, and I am always curious about other peoples experience as it is always enlightening and often times I hear a word of caution that I reflect on when I stumble into the same problems.

I have a sub 10k mile bike, that runs like a top and has been mine since mile 1. It has new tires, Airflow windscreen, shad sh23 sidecases, dryspec d38 tail bag. That i’ve fine tuned with my tent and sleep system etc.

I have done some short several day trips with the above and feel comfortable with the setup I have as far as battery/charging, riding comfort. What i’ve never really needed was anything civilized like showers and the like.

I have heard of Pilot Flying J stops for showers and some fuel and grub. I downloaded the App and was amazed at how many dots were all over the country. But I don't know if I can stay in the parking lot with my bike unless I setup a tarp and cot next to/over the bike. If I need to (and probably will) I will stop at a hotel. But what other alternatives are there? State Parks? Air BnB

I will probably wait until march or so, when it is not frigid.

Thanks!
I guess I'm not understanding something. If you don't need "anything civilized like showers and the like" why in the world would you camp at a truck stop? I can't imagine anything worse.

Lots of free/very cheap campsites all over the country. Free Camping Near You | Go Camping for Free!
If you pay a little more you can find sites with showers and even laundry. Or stay at a hotel every third/fourth day.

I've done a number of long (3+ week/7000+ mile) trips, and as noted it's just a bunch of overnight trips strung together. If it's a really long trip you may need tires, an oil change or even chain/sprockets, but that's easy to plan for and arrange.

I assume that you're retired, or about to be? I'm in same boat, have another 16 months or so of working. And while I'm planning on taking some long trips, I'm not planning a trip, if you catch my drift. I'll hop on the bike and go. May have a general destination in mind, may just do it day by day.
 
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I belong to the Good Sam Club and have stayed at some of the motorhome parks. Cost was $10 and they had showers. Was much better than the KOA's. Some folks love stealth camping. The National Parks have been nice but are getting overcrowded now. I learned there is an annual Park pass for veterans.. Show them your DD214 and ID and get a free pass. Available at Parks and from the local Forest Service office. Camping is 1/2 price for the card holders too. Reservations are available through Reserve America. Camping & Campground Reservations Online | ReserveAmerica
Another opportunity would be the hostel system, It's not just for kids wearing Birkenstocks and and wearing Rastafarian dread locks.
 

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Back in the 70’s I took a month and rode solo across Canada, down into Mexico and back up across the States. Had basically no money so used a one man tent to sleep off the road, occasionally in rest areas and very occasionally in campgrounds mainly for the shower and to dry out my clothes. After retiring I have camped with a buddy on long rides but we add in the occasional motel esp on rainy days. When riding with the wife, it is always motels and restaurants. Solo on a long trip, I just find a cheap motel and eat mostly in restaurants. Nothing worse than pulling into a camping site soaked and in the pouring rain. Much easier to dry out the gear and quicker to get going in the morning from a motel and this is really my preference now and I do tend to cover long daily distances. If camping in a campground, try to add the the occasional multi day stop if there are interesting sites,trails etc in the area.
 
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