Credit card across the USA



nun

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Sep 10, 2004
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I'm planning to ride across the USA (Seattle to Boston), but I want to avoid camping as much as possible and stay in motels, so I paln to do it "credit card touring". I want to minimize the amount of stuff I carry and have a good bed and a warm shower at the end of the day as the old bones will realy appreciate it. Has anyone done a cross country tour like this? How difficult is it to find accomodation
each day? Any advice?
 

steve

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Aug 12, 2001
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nun said:
I'm planning to ride across the USA (Seattle to Boston), but I want to avoid camping as much as possible and stay in motels, so I paln to do it "credit card touring". I want to minimize the amount of stuff I carry and have a good bed and a warm shower at the end of the day as the old bones will realy appreciate it. Has anyone done a cross country tour like this? How difficult is it to find accomodation
each day? Any advice?
Testing replies to this thread because a problem has been reported.
 

greene

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Dec 11, 2004
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nun said:
I'm planning to ride across the USA (Seattle to Boston), but I want to avoid camping as much as possible and stay in motels, so I paln to do it "credit card touring". I want to minimize the amount of stuff I carry and have a good bed and a warm shower at the end of the day as the old bones will realy appreciate it. Has anyone done a cross country tour like this? How difficult is it to find accomodation
each day? Any advice?

I met some folks who did a credit card tour across the US. Their book is America at Twelve Miles an Hour and the website is twelvemilesanhour.com (I think that is the name of the website, you may have to do a websearch) The folks are Phil and Merj Shrout.
 

skymax

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Jul 25, 2005
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I have asked this question myself as I am 55 and my health is not good, yet I am determined to do it anyway. Here is what I learnt about SOLO motel touring.

If you have buckets of money to throw about on first-class Motels/Hotels read no further you wont have any problems, but for the rest of us....

The cheap Motels in towns are often located in undesirable areas and the adjacent rooms are often rented by the hour which can disturb your sleep.
Older Ma and Pa Motels in rural areas can be quite OK.
Both of the above rarely get below $35.

You will meet far fewer people when you stay in Motels of any kind and hardly any fellow cyclists as most cyclists stay at hiker/biker campgrounds.

Do'nt stay at RV parks unless you want to be kept awake all night by Redneck beer parties. (Pitching your tent conveniently close to the toilet/shower block may seem like a good idea, it's not.)

The more expensive the Motel the less chance they will let you take your bike into your room. Ask for the laundry or storeroom as an alternative. (Make sure the manager knows you want to leave early.)

Read 77 year-old Earl Norman's tour diaries featuring motel touring (particularily his Lewis + Clarke tour) for a good idea of what to expect.
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journal/author/?o=aw&author=bikerearl&v=11j

I hope this helps, see you on the road.
Skymax.
 

nun

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Sep 10, 2004
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skymax said:
I have asked this question myself as I am 55 and my health is not good, yet I am determined to do it anyway. Here is what I learnt about SOLO motel touring.

If you have buckets of money to throw about on first-class Motels/Hotels read no further you wont have any problems, but for the rest of us....

The cheap Motels in towns are often located in undesirable areas and the adjacent rooms are often rented by the hour which can disturb your sleep.
Older Ma and Pa Motels in rural areas can be quite OK.
Both of the above rarely get below $35.

You will meet far fewer people when you stay in Motels of any kind and hardly any fellow cyclists as most cyclists stay at hiker/biker campgrounds.

Do'nt stay at RV parks unless you want to be kept awake all night by Redneck beer parties. (Pitching your tent conveniently close to the toilet/shower block may seem like a good idea, it's not.)

The more expensive the Motel the less chance they will let you take your bike into your room. Ask for the laundry or storeroom as an alternative. (Make sure the manager knows you want to leave early.)

Read 77 year-old Earl Norman's tour diaries featuring motel touring (particularily his Lewis + Clarke tour) for a good idea of what to expect.
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journal/author/?o=aw&author=bikerearl&v=11j

I hope this helps, see you on the road.
Skymax.
Thanks for the advice I think my plan will be to camp about 1/3 of the time and stay in hotels the rest of the time. I'm planning this cross US trip as the last thing I do in the States before I return to the UK, sort of a goodbye. I've lived in the US for 18 years so its a big trip and I don't mind spending a few thousand dollors on the hotels to make is a comfortable and enjoyable trip.
 

nun

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Sep 10, 2004
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greene said:
I met some folks who did a credit card tour across the US. Their book is America at Twelve Miles an Hour and the website is twelvemilesanhour.com (I think that is the name of the website, you may have to do a websearch) The folks are Phil and Merj Shrout.
Thanks I'll check out your recommendations
 

nun

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Sep 10, 2004
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skymax said:
I have asked this question myself as I am 55 and my health is not good, yet I am determined to do it anyway. Here is what I learnt about SOLO motel touring.

If you have buckets of money to throw about on first-class Motels/Hotels read no further you wont have any problems, but for the rest of us....

The cheap Motels in towns are often located in undesirable areas and the adjacent rooms are often rented by the hour which can disturb your sleep.
Older Ma and Pa Motels in rural areas can be quite OK.
Both of the above rarely get below $35.

You will meet far fewer people when you stay in Motels of any kind and hardly any fellow cyclists as most cyclists stay at hiker/biker campgrounds.

Do'nt stay at RV parks unless you want to be kept awake all night by Redneck beer parties. (Pitching your tent conveniently close to the toilet/shower block may seem like a good idea, it's not.)

The more expensive the Motel the less chance they will let you take your bike into your room. Ask for the laundry or storeroom as an alternative. (Make sure the manager knows you want to leave early.)

Read 77 year-old Earl Norman's tour diaries featuring motel touring (particularily his Lewis + Clarke tour) for a good idea of what to expect.
http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/journal/author/?o=aw&author=bikerearl&v=11j

I hope this helps, see you on the road.
Skymax.
Here is what I'm planning/doing so far to prepare for my Northern Tier Coast to Coast trip that I'll do a couple of years from now. Comments about prep, equipment or strategies will be appreciated.

I'm 43, 5'10 and 210 lbs, so not exactly the idea mountain climbing machine. I got back into cycling to loose weight and the idea of a cross-country tour evolved as I regained my love for cycling and as a way to say goodbye to the US, where I've lived for the past 18 years, before I go back the the UK. My goal is to be down to between 180 and 170 lbs before I start my trip.

I've been riding my 2002 Bianchi Volpe regularly over the last year and working up my weekly milage from 0 to 150. Three times a week I do 30 miles in the evening and then a 50 mile ride at the weekend. The first time I did 50 miles I almost didn't, in that I was so completely knackered at the end. Now I feel it, but I'm not wiped for the entire day. Over the next year I plan to do some week long tours around New England attempting to do over 50 miles each day with a loaded bike. Right now its taking me just over 3 hours to do my 50 mile rides on an unloaded bike, so I hope that 60 to 70 mile days are not out of the question, but I'm not used to doing this day after day yet.

I've changed my bike's components to things that I like better so that I know exactly what I want in the bike I'll buy to do my cross country trip. I have a Brookes B17 saddle that now feels very comforatble, I've raised my handle bars with a Nitto technomatic stem, got used to SPD clipless pedals and bought a Carradice nelson Longflap saddlebag as my first piece of bike luggage. I'll get a couple of Carradice panniers to round out the luggage. I'm looking at specialized touring bikes and I'm saving up for a Co-Motion Americano, Atlantis or Litespeed Blue Ridge.

My approach to camping equipment is to go as light as possible, so Sil-tent and ultralight camping equipment, no cooking stuff. The logistics of my trip are begining to come together. I live in MA and want to ride west to east so that I have the reward of heading home. I'll rent a car and drive one way from Boston to Seattle with the bike and gear in the back and drop the car off close to Anacortes, Wa and dip the bike's wheel in the Pacific. I'll probably book motels for the first 5 days so I can shower and get good sleep and be conservative about milage becasue of the mountains maybe 30 miles a day through the Cascades. I have the Adventure Cycling maps, but I'm a bit disappointed by the detal so I plan to get a set of "electronic" maps from National Geographic to complement them. My finish point will be Revere Beach just north of Boston. From there I'll stay with friend sfor a couple of days before shipping the bike to the UK and flying from Logan to Heathrow. In the UK I think I'll pick up the bike and ride back to my home town in the North East of England, its about 300 miles so it should be a breeze after the transamerica.
 

skymax

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Jul 25, 2005
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nun said:
Thanks for the advice I think my plan will be to camp about 1/3 of the time and stay in hotels the rest of the time. I'm planning this cross US trip as the last thing I do in the States before I return to the UK, sort of a goodbye. I've lived in the US for 18 years so its a big trip and I don't mind spending a few thousand dollors on the hotels to make is a comfortable and enjoyable trip.
Nothing wrong with that mate, there are no rules as you know, you make them up as you go along:)
Neil Gunton stayed in motels at least half the time on his first Transam and survived on fried eggs, lemonade and peanut butter and jam (jelly if your a yank reading this) sandwiches.
Will you be keeping a journal on Neil's site?
If so I would like to read it.
 

skymax

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Jul 25, 2005
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PS, I would love to hear more about the "electronic maps" from NG if you have the time. It seems, from my research, that AC maps alone often do'nt suffice , and I am a member.
You're right about the self-cooking. Messy, heavy and smelly. Out of all the Diaries I've read the stove is usually the first thing to be mailed home, usually in the first fortnight.
The minority who use them are usually broke hippies surviving on tree-bark and snails. (On the Transam, different if you are crossing the Gobi Desert or something).
 

nun

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Sep 10, 2004
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skymax said:
PS, I would love to hear more about the "electronic maps" from NG if you have the time. It seems, from my research, that AC maps alone often do'nt suffice , and I am a member.
You're right about the self-cooking. Messy, heavy and smelly. Out of all the Diaries I've read the stove is usually the first thing to be mailed home, usually in the first fortnight.
The minority who use them are usually broke hippies surviving on tree-bark and snails. (On the Transam, different if you are crossing the Gobi Desert or something).
Yes I plan to put a journal on Neil's website. I'm holding off on buying any internet connection and PC stuff as in the two years until I start I'm sure things will move on a lot. I bought the Northern Tier maps to see what they were like and while I like the listings for motels and places to stop along the way I was disappointed in the detail. Also they truely are only "of the route" . NG does a a package called "Back Roads Explorer" that lets you generate topographic maps of your route and will overlay road maps. I think this will give a lot more detail! I'd love to find some decent guide books for the Northern Tier route, but they don't seem to be many titles around. At one point I was thinking of the Appalacian Trail, but its a far greater challenge than cycling across the country. However, there are numerous detailed guide books and maps that give you contact information for everything along the trail. Nowhere have I found a good guide book for the Norther Teir that lists motels, restaurants etc.
 

gregw

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Sep 5, 2003
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nun said:
I'm planning to ride across the USA (Seattle to Boston), but I want to avoid camping as much as possible and stay in motels, so I paln to do it "credit card touring". I want to minimize the amount of stuff I carry and have a good bed and a warm shower at the end of the day as the old bones will realy appreciate it. Has anyone done a cross country tour like this? How difficult is it to find accomodation
each day? Any advice?

I think this would be very difficult. Granted, you would be traveling lighter and therefore could do longer miles to reach a motel, but there are many stretches (hundreds of miles) without motels. I would advise taking ultra-light weight camping gear for those stretches. A one person tent or bivy, sleeping bag and 3/4 length pad, combined can be under 6lbs easy. You never know where you will end up due to weather or mechanical failure.
 

skymax

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Jul 25, 2005
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gregw said:
I think this would be very difficult. Granted, you would be traveling lighter and therefore could do longer miles to reach a motel, but there are many stretches (hundreds of miles) without motels. I would advise taking ultra-light weight camping gear for those stretches. A one person tent or bivy, sleeping bag and 3/4 length pad, combined can be under 6lbs easy. You never know where you will end up due to weather or mechanical failure.
I will certainly be toting that kind of gear. I hope to get tougher and camp in the NICE PLACES by choice.
I kind of liked Neil's attitude on his first Transam where he was quite happy to camp or stay in Motels as the mood suited him.

It would be interesting to know the whereabouts of those hundreds of miles stretches where nothing is available, I presume you are referring to the Northern Tier? Pherhaps joining the L+C at midway (if East/West) would be more interesting than the more remote NW parts of the NTier?
 

nun

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Sep 10, 2004
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skymax said:
I will certainly be toting that kind of gear. I hope to get tougher and camp in the NICE PLACES by choice.
I kind of liked Neil's attitude on his first Transam where he was quite happy to camp or stay in Motels as the mood suited him.

It would be interesting to know the whereabouts of those hundreds of miles stretches where nothing is available, I presume you are referring to the Northern Tier? Pherhaps joining the L+C at midway (if East/West) would be more interesting than the more remote NW parts of the NTier?
If I do the cross USA trip on my own I'll definitely be carrying ultralight camping equipment with the goal to keep my equipment below 30lbs. So I'd take something like a Tarptent and a 1lb sleeping bag. My other thought is to pay to get on one of the fully supported trips. This has the advantage, or maybe its a disadvantage, of taking care of all of the accomodation food an logistics and also gives the support of other riders. I haven't decided which way to go yet, but either way I'll do the "Bicycle America" route that starts in Oregon. Their tour manages to stay in motels/hotels every night, there are a few 100 plus mile days in there though.
 

nun

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Sep 10, 2004
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skymax said:
I will certainly be toting that kind of gear. I hope to get tougher and camp in the NICE PLACES by choice.
I kind of liked Neil's attitude on his first Transam where he was quite happy to camp or stay in Motels as the mood suited him.

It would be interesting to know the whereabouts of those hundreds of miles stretches where nothing is available, I presume you are referring to the Northern Tier? Pherhaps joining the L+C at midway (if East/West) would be more interesting than the more remote NW parts of the NTier?
There are links to the route of the "America by Bicycle" cross country tour at the bottom of page below.

http://www.abbike.com/amNorth.shtml
 

Greyfox10025

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Oct 16, 2003
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Hi Nun,
I do extensive credit card touring every year somewhere in Europe. This year it was the Loire Valley (the old standby) and Geneva to Avignon. My advice is carry little, there are always stores. In the US accomodations are usually easy to find although towns are farther apart. As a last resort in very small towns check with the local police or churches. You willnot only find a warm bed but meet someinteresting people. Check out the site below for some ideas.
www.TodMoore.net
 

Nick H.

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Oct 3, 2005
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Has anyone used hostels on such a trip? I did a credit card tour from Vancouver to San Francisco last year, and a few people mentioned hostels to me. But I never used them, partly because I snore really badly and didn't want to wake up everybody else in the dorm. So i used hotels and motels and spent a fair bit of cash.
 

nun

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Sep 10, 2004
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Nick H. said:
Has anyone used hostels on such a trip? I did a credit card tour from Vancouver to San Francisco last year, and a few people mentioned hostels to me. But I never used them, partly because I snore really badly and didn't want to wake up everybody else in the dorm. So i used hotels and motels and spent a fair bit of cash.
.

Hostels are pretty much non existant once you get off the coasts. I see that your writing from the UK so I'm not sure how much you know of the size of the US. I'm from the YK but I've lived in the US a long time and cycling in the two places is very different. Most places in the UK there's somewhere within a few miles ride to get stuff. In the US there are 100's of miles with absolutely nothing. In planning a trip across the northern US I wanted to do it staying in motels every night and to do it you have to put in quite a few centuries. Even for experienced riders it can be a challenge. I think its imperative that you carry enough stuff and supplies to camp out
and survive for a couple of days comfortably. Also cell phone coverage can be spotty in the West. Having said all this I don't think its necessary to get a bike with trekking tyres and put 100ls on it. I'll do it with 30lbs on the back in a saddlebag and 2 small panniers and 700cx32 tyres.

PS here's an W-E tour that stays in hotels each night, there are some long days

http://www.abbike.com/amNorthIt.shtml