We are thinking where to ride this winter and the Southern Tier is the most probable option. However, we are worried about accommodation, as we need to work with our laptops along the way and we cannot always camp. We have been checking accommodation online and the prices are quite high. However, previous experience has taught us that once you get there, you find many other accommodation options that were not online. So I was wondering how easy it is to find cheap accommodation along the Southern Tier route (South-East California, South Arizona, South New Mexico, rural Texas, Central Louisiana).
Also: do most camp sites in the US have electricity plugs and common rooms with tables?
Private campgrounds, like KOA are most liky to have plugs and a common room. Others won't. But most Starbucks and fast food places have plugs and free wifi. I would suggest getting a solar charger or an extra battery pack.
I have done most of the southern tier from St Aug to Sanderson TX. I did a lot of it off the ACA route. I can say that the gulf coast is expensive because of "snow birds" I had a really bad experience at the in fanning springs and highly recommend the campsite there.
Many of the RV campsites are fully equipped with community kitchens and rec rooms. I would highly recommend getting a data plan with tethering or a wifi hotspot. Most the roads you will be on will have plenty of connectivity. Exception being west texas and sourhtern Arizona if you go that route. At worst it would be a day or two with no connection.
I would be prepared to do a lot of hoteling if you are going in the winter. Last year when I did it was consistently sub 30s and probably 40% of the time it rained.
Thank you for your comment, that was very useful. During what months did you travel? Was it snowy as well? Is it a very popular route where you continously find other cyclists or not quite?
It was pretty much solo and I went through the forgotten coast from Perry FL and then took souther Louisiana down to Lake charles. I did not go up to derider. There are some sketchy sections of 90 and a couple bridges I am happy to never have to do again but well worth being off the beaten path. Pretty bike friendly with a few short exceptions.
There is a place on Pecan island that is a great warm shower that you have to stop at. Her name is Juanita and she is a really cool person. I would be prepared to camp because the accommodations inside are not always available.
I left on Jan 19 and flew back in March for family reasons. I will be heading out when things settle down. If you could do late fall I think that may be prefferable to mid winter early spring.
Motels found on line are generally chains. The mom and pop places are not, usually less expensive, and often not as desirable. Depends on your tolerance level. You can get info on off line motels by calling the chamber of commerce, post office, or police department in the next town on your tour. Also, WS members, even tho they may not be potential hosts.
Most, maybe all state and federal parks have electrical outlets.
Fall, October/November on the ST, is always the best time for touring. If later, be prepared for cold snaps and rain. Snow in eastern Az mountains.
Thank you for all these advices, we will take this into account :)
If you are passing this way and need a place to stay or repairs give me a call. I have a place you can stay if needed.
Thank you for your offer, we'll probably be passing by around early April or late March I think, but we will contact you when we get closer even if it's just to have a beer