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Hey folks! First post, and first moto camping trip. Quick background: I've been riding for about a year. I have a 2019 Street Twin that I love. I mostly commuted in Chicago on it, but made some day trips to Michigan outside the city. I also rented a Street Twin in SF on a work trip, and rode Hwy 1 to Santa Cruz and up through the Big Basin redwoods (amazing day).

Around May 15th I'm making a move from Chicago to NC due to a lot of life changes recently (heartbreak, coronavirus uncertainty). After 13 years in Chicago, I've decided to move all my things to storage for the time being, load my bike with camping gear, and ride south to stay with family for the summer.

I know it's a strange time to be going on a road trip, but it'll save me money, keep me socially isolated, and it'll be a welcome dose of freedom in this cabin-fever time. And for my own personal reasons, it'll be a cathartic goodbye to my life in Chicago, and a welcome achievement.

I'll be coming the route through Columbus OH, down 35, to 64, to 77. Once I'm in WV I'd love to find spots to camp, and country highways to make the ride more fun.

I'll have a simple tarp and hammock setup, with some essential cooking and rain gear.

I'd love advice on how to find the best spots to camp (or areas to avoid), or some specific sites along the way to check out (or drives to enjoy). I'm hoping state parks will be open by May 15th, which would make finding a camp site a lot easier, but who knows. I can always stay at a hotel in a pinch, but I'd like to avoid it.Really any suggestions or insight would be greatly appreciated.

Hope you all are safe and healthy in this strange new world.
 

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Forestry land offers primitive camping and BLM land is open to the public, both free of charge. Google a public land finder, if that's of interest.
 

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+1 on the public land option

You ever see the T-shirts "you never see a motorcycle parked outside of a psychiatrist's office"? Probably not the worst thing to do, especially getting out of Chi-Town (no offense, I refer to any city).

Personally, I've never understood the hammock idea. But have never tried it. Doesn't seem very waterproof. Even any cheap tiny WalMart tent I've found to be pretty much as small and light as real/pricey mountaineering gear, and worth the price. A nicer sleeping bag, even synthetic, but a mountaineering type not a boxy Walmart special is probably worth it (and can usually be found online for decent prices clearing out last years stock in March or so.) Air-filled sleeping pad. One medium/large saddle bag with clothes etc., the other can fit camping gear, then tank bag and/or backseat bag (a backpack, not motorcycle specific back seat bag) can fit the food and other less essential loose stufff. A pair of used saddlebags for $50 is probably worth every penny. Roll-top dry bags as well (cheap ones would probably work fine). And bungee net. If you don't use them already...right there with the aeroplane, cell phone, and skateboard as the greatest inventions of all time.

Real rain gear, even cheaper mountaineering type stuff as long as it is breathable, but that actually seals out water is key. Nice boot covers can be bought for as low as $30, as many boots aren't really waterproof anyway, same glove covers on ebay, RainX Anti-Fog on the visor can be priceless (applied in a very "thick" coating and allowed to dry, not wiped on thin). I might suggest a heated jacket and/or grips (although that's about all your bike can probably power), used on ebay could be as low as about a hundred for both and worth every penny out on the road exposed to elements. I don't know your length of trip or tolerance for pain vs budget lol but some of this stuff could pay for itself in keeping a person comfortable on the road and not giving up and paying for a hotel.

In the Adventure (ADV) bike world they like to "gorilla camp" which is basically squatting anywhere they please. Might be worth viewing those sites for ideas. Can work well out west, but where you are most things are owned and expressly private...but in a pinch, exhausted from being on the road, and if a body is quiet, doesn't leave a trace, in-late/out at the crack of dawn I think many people have found they can slip into almost anywhere, up into a cornfield on the tractor path, or park at a gate or ride around it and camp just inside on a closed logging road, wherever someone can find but won't be found...for 6 hours or so nobody really seems to care. A nap at noon in a park or rest area can be a nice break from the road while drying the previous night's dew from one's gear. There is almost always somewhere to stash a small bike and person until daybreak. Unless you find the one exception who's greeting you with a shotgun at 2am lol. But those ADV guys talk about this as if its a legitimate, common practice. Again, very doable out west where pretty much most National Forest and BLM land allows camping anywhere, for free. I guess on a budget knocking $15(if you can find a site for that)-$35/night, a thousand a month in camping fees can be the difference between affording a trip or not. You could spend less on gas on a road trip than rent cost in Chicago. In normal times public swimming pools/rec centers are usually pretty easy to find to shower at, some people have suggested buying gym memberships for that purpose but that is complicated and not ideal. Couchsurfing.com is an idea, if people are into it these days. There seems to be a general human trait to help travelers that goes back to the beginning of time.

Plenty of people cook on road trips but I've found one large restaurant meal and snacking the rest of a day has worked; there are plenty of options buying grocery store basics or prepared food, canned proteins, more vegetarian based snacks that carry well, can save even carrying all that cooking equipment, washing, etc. It's a tradeoff, having warm food 3 meals a day vs all the work it takes to carry cooking equipment...but I've stopped cooking because it wasn't worth it. Some hummus, bean dips, it ends up being a basic veg diet outside of warm meals, but I've found that's much better than lugging around pots and pans, heavy water is a factor in primitive camping forest lands etc...not worth it IMO.

Sounds like fun, I've toured the country on numerous shapes and sizes and I think a 600 sportbike is a totally legitimate steed for road trips. Have fun!
 

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Hey folks! First post, and first moto camping trip. Quick background: I've been riding for about a year. I have a 2019 Street Twin that I love. I mostly commuted in Chicago on it, but made some day trips to Michigan outside the city. I also rented a Street Twin in SF on a work trip, and rode Hwy 1 to Santa Cruz and up through the Big Basin redwoods (amazing day).

Around May 15th I'm making a move from Chicago to NC due to a lot of life changes recently (heartbreak, coronavirus uncertainty). After 13 years in Chicago, I've decided to move all my things to storage for the time being, load my bike with camping gear, and ride south to stay with family for the summer.

I know it's a strange time to be going on a road trip, but it'll save me money, keep me socially isolated, and it'll be a welcome dose of freedom in this cabin-fever time. And for my own personal reasons, it'll be a cathartic goodbye to my life in Chicago, and a welcome achievement.

I'll be coming the route through Columbus OH, down 35, to 64, to 77. Once I'm in WV I'd love to find spots to camp, and country highways to make the ride more fun.

I'll have a simple tarp and hammock setup, with some essential cooking and rain gear.

I'd love advice on how to find the best spots to camp (or areas to avoid), or some specific sites along the way to check out (or drives to enjoy). I'm hoping state parks will be open by May 15th, which would make finding a camp site a lot easier, but who knows. I can always stay at a hotel in a pinch, but I'd like to avoid it.Really any suggestions or insight would be greatly appreciated.

Hope you all are safe and healthy in this strange new world.
How did this go? Find any place good?
 
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