I am planning a solo trip starting Mid-May from GA to San Antonio, Texas where my sister is currently living. This will be my first long-distance bike trip and am looking for advice, hosts, and things I may need to know about routes. Any tips, experiences, places to see, or offered hospitality is greatly appreciated! I am very excited about the trip, but am still new to the touring experience. If anyone has done a similar trip through these southern states (Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama) and there are some things I may need to know, please tell me. I want to camp some, but would like to stay with hosts as much as possible :)
I will be starting a solo ride from Atlanta to New Orleans next Saturday, April 9, so I should be covering the same territory as you will starting out. I initially wanted to take the Natchez Trace Parkway down, but it is a little too far west for this trip. My route planning took place on mapmyride.com which was easy to try different routes. The print out has good turn by turn directions, but the map is obliterated by mile markers which one cannot get rid of. Anyways, I will be posting my journal here: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/atl-to-no-2011
You should read some of the journals for those areas and you will get some good information... as well as entertainment plus get you fired up to go. It did for me. Anyways, I have only done a few tours, this will be my longest. My hope is to go cross country when time allows. Stay in touch and I will let you know what I discover.
I haven't planned my exact route yet, but I heard about mapmyride.com so I was going to use that. That would be great if you find out anything along the way that might be helpful to know (on my end). Are you planning to camp along the way at campgrounds or how are you going about that? I was curious if its easy to find places to stay or if campgrounds aren't as plentiful in some areas. Another thing, I have been researching what types of things to bring. Do you recommend any certain type of biking gear to bring?
I hope you have a great time, and am excited to see how things turn out! I want to go cross country as well one day and tour through europe.
I traveled that way a few years back, so won't have current info, but some general stuff I found, The folks in Georgia and Louisiana, were amazingly nice, friendly, Other states they were OK, As far as your camping, if you are not going to be at camp grounds, a lot of the area you will go through is swampy, so it might be difficult to find a spot to camp. However if you stop at the local fire dept, or sherifs office places like that and ask if there is anywhere you can camp, most likely they will tell you of a nice place to pitch you tent. I've done this many times and ususally have good results in most small towns. In texas bring LOTS of water, it will be HOT and dry, long distances with no services. Make sure your tent has GREAT bug netting, it will be very buggy that time of year.
Have a great time,stay positive even if you have a bad day. If you get to a point your body aches, dont worry it will go away in a few days.
Do you know the rules about camping if it is not in a "designated" area like a campground? I know after a while, campground fees will add up, so I wondered about staying at other places in the national forests, if that's legal?
Thanks for the encouragement :) !
Sorry to say I really don't know the rules, as they change, and never read them anyway. Some National forest lands you can camp on for free.
I have many times just camped along the road when I found a nice place I while riding, just kept away from the road and no one has ever bothered me. On that note, I will say try not to have a brightly colored tent, dull is best drab green or brown.
Realize some of the areas you are going will have wild animals, DO NOT keep food in your tent especially if you are camping out in the wild, have a sack to hang food and things that have scents in a tree, at least a few feet out from the trunk and six feet off the ground.
You should be able to find listings for free park service lands if you do a web search, however, if they are not on your route, it won't help much.
Here is another trick I learned, and I think it will work for you as you are young, and a woman, I am now a little older for this to work, but worked well when I was younger too. When you get near a place you think you want to stay, find a friendly looking person, just ride up, say hi with a big smile, and ask if they know anywhere nearby to camp, you will be amazed how many folks invite you to stay at their home, or camp in their yard, or at least point you towards a campground. It also works great at small country stores and cafes, give it a shot, I met folks doing this that really made my trips something to remember, one that influenced me enough to become a teacher.
Best wishes and remember you are taking too much stuff :-)
Oh and here is a link, its for RVs, but will list some places usefull to you also. And in texas you won't have to hang your food, as there are no trees LOL