Why should dollars be flowing from your wallet while you are unaware of your surroundings and unconscious? People pay too much to sleep. We are avoiding that in the name of conserving re$ource$ AND enjoying creative problem-solving. We are camping our way along the TAT. And this enhances our adventure, as we experience more of our environment.
In solo cycle adventures years back, I decided to sleep free most of the time and found that loading docks, schools and churches (& a couple abandoned houses), are types of places where you can snooze without inconveniencing anyone, if you are judicious. You should also be a little daring and not the nervous type. In retrospect, the process is safe and satisfying.
A week of free campsites:
>Sun 6/4/17: We did a legit camp (and only $10) at the Hatteras Cape Point Campground. Unlike coastal California, which offers ZERO last-minute campsites (at $40), the huge grassy (mowed) campground was mostly empty. And there were many fine and jumpy green tree frogs.
>Mon 6/5: Havelock, NC. After 2 ferry rides and a couple bloggy hours at McD’s, we searched after 10 pm for our free campsite. It is smarter to choose your site before it gets dark and then return to it when ready. But with Google maps, you do have an advantage (sometimes) that I didn’t have decades back: Paul found a couple roads that looked like dead-end forest roads but when we went down one, it turned out to be a driveway. People live everywhere in these woods. With some searching, we found a nice hidden grassy spot behind trees behind a large industrial building. Now; when you find your site, kill your lights immediately and arrange your bikes so they are in the ride-away position for later. The problem with modern motorcycles: there is no light switch allowing a darkened approach. So, we weren’t as careful as we might have been, and Deputy Hillburn spotted us. He approached in the dark, checked our ids, and was very cordial, allowing us to stay. It began to rain, and our tent was like a stinking sauna.
>Tues 6/6: Candor, NC: At twilight, we did some surveying and spotted some legit grassy zones on the freeway. (No worries; this is not CA! There are large grassy/tree zones far from traffic.) In our return after dark, I noticed an area in the woods at the end of one freeway offramp and we ended stashing our bikes and ourselves in there. We have discovered that our large dark greenish-colored ground cloth has a better secondary use: covering the fronts of all 3 bikes, making them unnoticeable to passersby. Our off-ramp sleep was peaceful; only a few large semis exiting during the night.
>Weds 6/7: Pisgah National Forest, NC. This was kind of easy. Except we had no idea if we’d find a good spot. After leaving a $22 campsite at the bottom of a dirt forest road, we rode 11 miles up the mountains, bright LED Honda lamps blazing (they are good), before finding a nice turnout. We had bear spray at the ready. And a wonderful peaceful night. No cars passed.
>Thurs 6/8: Antioch Baptist Church, Waynesville, NC. Churches are good because they have so much downtime. (Is that how Christ meant it to be? Nah. But let the upside be good sleep for motorcycle campers.) This one had a steep windy drive with no view from nearby homes. Ideal. There was loud freeway noise through the trees. But that can be soothing.
>Fri 6/9: Unicoi Baptist Church, Tellico Plains, NC: This one was the best. It had no facing homes and an open carpeted porch facing the woods. We didn’t need a tent and still had a roof over our heads. As with most churches, a cemetery was adjacent (this one with some tombstone LED lights). Nice touch.
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness, and brought us into the kingdom of the son he loves.” Col1:13