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Old 03-29-2013, 10:41 AM   #76
El Buzadero
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As with most online forums, this thread seems to have excessive analysis and speculative theory. How many have actually had an issue when so-called 'stealth camping'? Has anyone ever been accosted by zombies or their ilk at a rest stop? How many cops have actually run you off when you were sleeping for the night?

I've crashed out in a myriad of oddball locations across the country. I work all over the place and regularly ride. Other than the odd animal encounter or surprise sprinkler, I've never had anything more than a mild interaction with anyone bothering me. And that was more curiosity than anything. I think somebody sees a bike and a tent, bedroll, bivysac etc next to it and they naturally assume that the rider is simply trying to get some rest.

That being said, if it's raining I have been known to pull into the Home Depot or Lowe's and roll my bike into one of the display sheds in the parking lot, lay out a pad and bag and bivy inside for the night. Again, the worst level of interaction was no more than some bemused looks in the early morning hours by arriving employees as I was rolling out my bike, warming it up and getting on my kit.

Of course, YMMV. There will always be some extreme exception story that someone will be able to relate about a friend of a friend of a guy at work whose brother in law had some horror story about the toothless hillbillies that grabbed someone and zip-tyed their sleeping bag and tossed it off a bridge. It's never happened to me, though.
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:30 AM   #77
sprouty115
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Originally Posted by El Buzadero View Post
As with most online forums, this thread seems to have excessive analysis and speculative theory. How many have actually had an issue when so-called 'stealth camping'? Has anyone ever been accosted by zombies or their ilk at a rest stop? How many cops have actually run you off when you were sleeping for the night?...
I'm certainly no RTW traveler but I've stealth-camped quite a bit. And the only thing I've figured out is that I must have a cop/game warden magnet somewhere on me. Because I swear, a solid half of the time, no matter where it is, I get a flashlight in my face at some point in the night. Sometimes twice. I've never been tossed or given a single bit of grief, but for some reason people in uniform love to politely wake we up and ask "hey, how ya doing?"
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Old 03-29-2013, 11:36 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by El Buzadero View Post
As with most online forums, this thread seems to have excessive analysis and speculative theory. How many have actually had an issue when so-called 'stealth camping'? Has anyone ever been accosted by zombies or their ilk at a rest stop? How many cops have actually run you off when you were sleeping for the night?

I've crashed out in a myriad of oddball locations across the country. I work all over the place and regularly ride. Other than the odd animal encounter or surprise sprinkler, I've never had anything more than a mild interaction with anyone bothering me. And that was more curiosity than anything. I think somebody sees a bike and a tent, bedroll, bivysac etc next to it and they naturally assume that the rider is simply trying to get some rest.

That being said, if it's raining I have been known to pull into the Home Depot or Lowe's and roll my bike into one of the display sheds in the parking lot, lay out a pad and bag and bivy inside for the night. Again, the worst level of interaction was no more than some bemused looks in the early morning hours by arriving employees as I was rolling out my bike, warming it up and getting on my kit.

Of course, YMMV. There will always be some extreme exception story that someone will be able to relate about a friend of a friend of a guy at work whose brother in law had some horror story about the toothless hillbillies that grabbed someone and zip-tyed their sleeping bag and tossed it off a bridge. It's never happened to me, though.
I had never even considered using the display sheds in a Lowe's/Home Depot parking lot. Dude, that is freaking brilliant!!!
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Old 03-29-2013, 07:01 PM   #79
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Puke Lowe's Hotel

I have used Lowe's buildings out in the parking lot, arrive late, leave early and your bike is inside for the evening! I also enjoy hammock camping, a Hennessey hammock is a great way to go. I have stayed along side the interstate system in Mississippi. There is a fence along the interstate and a service trail along the fence, you can get 100 yards from the highway and the noise is less. Hammocks are easy up, comfortable (for me) and with the snake skins can be put up in heavy rain (in your riding gear) without even getting wet!

Good thread!!

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Old 03-30-2013, 11:39 AM   #80
Jamie Z
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Originally Posted by El Buzadero View Post
How many cops have actually run you off when you were sleeping for the night?
In the past 15 years or so, I've stealth camped dozens of times--perhaps into the hundreds. I've had cops run me off exactly once. Or maybe twice, depending on how you count it.

In a small Iowa town a buddy and I were taking a cross-country trip. We scouted a good place to set up behind a maintenance shed in a small city park. After going into town for dinner and a couple drinks, we walked back to the park where we were approached by a couple of officers who sternly told us we weren't allowed in the park after dark. We tried to sell him on our trip and pointed out that we'd be gone in the morning, but he wouldn't budge. He insisted that we head elsewhere.

So... we moved to a different part of town where we thought we would be ok. Sometime around sunrise at 5 or 6am, another officer came up, flashlight shining. We both woke up and peered outside. He told us we'd have to pack up and leave immediately, that we were on public property and camping wasn't allowed.

That's been the only place I've ever been asked to leave.

I've been approached by officials on two or three other occasions. Once when I set up my tent near a boat ramp in Missouri, a park ranger or game warden came by in the morning as I packed up. He gave me a lecture about how there was a campground nearby and I shouldn't have stayed where I did. He asked for my ID and ran my license. For his part, he was right. I passed the campground, but when I saw what they charged for a simple tent site, I found someplace cheaper.

And once in Florida I slept along the treeline inside a gated entrance to the county landfill after passing by many miles of barbed wire fenced cattle pasture. The landfill was scheduled to open at 7 or 8am, and I figured to be up and gone by then. But before sunrise, I heard trucks coming and going. About that time, a light shone on my tent and I stuck my head out. An officer was staring at me holding his light. He asked me, "Do you know you're on public property?"

I thought about it for a minute and replied, "Well, I thought it was better than sleeping on private property." I was being completely sincere, but he took me to be a smartass and warned me that I better by gone in a couple of hours. Uh... ok. I will. Sorry.

I've also been approached by a couple more officials who merely checked on me, wished me well and left me alone and a couple officers who helped me find a place to set up my tent or told me they'd keep an eye on me to make sure I was safe.

I've never had a negative encounter with a civilian. The few encounters I've had with civilians ended up as exchanging pleasantries, or in a few cases, offers of dinner, a shower, laundry facilities, and/or a beer or two.

Jamie
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:41 PM   #81
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Old 03-31-2013, 03:24 PM   #82
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Good thought on the lowes & Home Depot,

They alway have their display sheds out in the parking lot, you can always get in and out.
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Old 04-01-2013, 11:10 AM   #83
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I've never had a problem grabbing a couple hours at a rest area. I just lay out a therma-rest and grab a few zzz's. I imagine though if I set up a tent, pulled out a sleeping bag and started a campfire there'd be a problem. I've never had a problem sleeping next to the bike though. That said I never leave home without a firearm and that may give me some bravado.

Point is; many times personal experience no problem sleeping on ground next to bike at rest areas.
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Old 04-01-2013, 08:01 PM   #84
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I've never had a problem grabbing a couple hours at a rest area. I just lay out a therma-rest and grab a few zzz's. I imagine though if I set up a tent, pulled out a sleeping bag and started a campfire there'd be a problem. I've never had a problem sleeping next to the bike though. That said I never leave home without a firearm and that may give me some bravado.

Point is; many times personal experience no problem sleeping on ground next to bike at rest areas.
Well that would be because, at least as far as I know, the laws are against camping and/or overnight parking not catching a little shut eye. It's common sense that drivers and riders who need a nap will stop and not allowing that would be the height of stupidity. If people were allowed to camp out though the rest areas would end up overwhelmed and over run. Usually the Staties will make a pass thru and if, a couple hours later, you are still there they might check on you. Depends on the cop and what kind of issues they have had in the area. I've never been to a rest stop where you couldn't get a couple of hours of sleep as long as you didn't need to set up camp. Even when it's raining I just stretch out on a picnic table if they have the covered ones.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:36 AM   #85
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They are called rest areas to keep from going to sleep on the highway and killing yourself or another. Just because we don't have a truck or car to take a nap in doesn't mean we can't toss a bag down and catch some sleep.
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Old 04-12-2013, 08:47 AM   #86
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They are called rest areas to keep from going to sleep on the highway and killing yourself or another. Just because we don't have a truck or car to take a nap in doesn't mean we can't toss a bag down and catch some sleep.
In most rest areas, you won't have a problem. Occasionally, however, you'll wake up to a flashlight shining in your eyes and a State Trooper telling you to move along. If you're polite and explain you just need a little shut-eye, the officer might let you stay awhile. In some cases, however, he/she will still tell you to move along, and nothing will change their mind.
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Old 04-12-2013, 12:45 PM   #87
tashi71
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Cemetaries are your friend. Roll in after dark, leave at dawn, take your trash with you.

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Battlefields are your friend. (what's the fine I wonder?!)

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Old 04-13-2013, 04:48 PM   #88
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I'm leaving Boston before dawn Monday morning heading ultimately to North Carolina (Dragon / Cherohala run), gonna see how far I can get before dark. Family in Lexington, KY, 15 hours according to google, seems like a stretch in one shot. Safety considerations aside, does anyone know the laws on throwing down a sleeping bag at rest stops? I'm trying to cover about 2300 miles and my wife is only giving me 4 days.
Wow that seems very aggressive, short of telling the wife to kiss your ass and that you need more time, remind her your canceling your life insurance policy.
With that being said I would think if your on public property your ok just keep a LOW PROFILE. Watch out for Larry Craig at those rest stops hehe. Have a good trip.
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Old 04-13-2013, 05:04 PM   #89
Twilight Error
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Battlefields are your friend. (what's the fine I wonder?!)

Manassas National Battlefield Park, Henry House in the background
Nice shot.

I don't know what the fine would be. I do know that illegal camping in Acadia NP will get your bike towed and you paying a hefty fine as well as impound fees. I didn't actually get caught, as I'd managed to grab the last campsite available that night..
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Old 04-13-2013, 07:10 PM   #90
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Battlefields are your friend. (what's the fine I wonder?!)

Manassas National Battlefield Park, Henry House in the background


Lots of signage around this battlefield saying when you can't be in it.

You wouldn't need to camp here on the battlefield. There are a lot of roads close by that would lend themselves to camping out of the way.
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