Wheels Of Grace Magazine

Volume 13, Issue 3

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6 | WheelsOfGrace.com | #61 Motorcycle Camping: How To Find The Best Campsites It only takes one motorcycle camping trip to realize why every enthusiast raves about it. These two go together just like peas and carrots! Motorcycle camping is freedom in its purest form: it's just you, your motorcycle, and the great outdoors enjoying a night under a starry sky. No frills, just simplicity, self-sufficiency, and solitude. And maybe a couple of empty beer cans if you and your friends tie one on for the evening. Finding a place to rest your head after a long days ride isn't as easy as it is for people living the van life or traveling in a four wheeled vehicle. Your options are usually more limited. In this blog, I'll take you through how I find campsites on my motorcycle trips. It's much easier than you'd think! Digital Resources for Finding a Campsite While many are not motorcycle specific, there are plenty of apps and websites out there that will help in your search of finding the right campground. Here's a list of resources I'll often use for help. These are in order of most used to least used. • Google Maps • Google Street View • Ultimate CG • The Dyrt • recreation.gov (App & Website) • Reserve America • onX Hunt + onX Offroad • US Forest Service • HipCamp – the AirBnB of camping apps • Facebook Groups For Motorcycle Camping • bunkabiker.org While some Apps do require a fee to use, such as Ultimate CG, they're worth the small fee in exchange for finding great camping. Some of these free apps (ex. the Dyrt) offer Pro options, which allow for you to view the maps without cell service. Often, the best campsites are in areas with no signal. Planning Ahead: Finding Campgrounds for a Motorcycle Trip There's nothing worse than watching a beautiful sunset as you frantically attempt to find a place to sleep, passing campground after campground with "FULL" signs at the entrance. After a long day's ride, it's nice to be able to relax and kick the boots off hassle free. Don't assume that that cool campground you heard about is going to have a spot for you, especially on a weekend in the area's busy season. Prior to my trips, I spend a lot of time on Google Maps planning my entire itinerary, including campsites. Google Maps is the first place I go to search for campgrounds, as Google provides such an integrated network of links and information all in one place. If you have a desktop computer or tablet, I suggest using those tools as it's far easier to multitask on devices larger than a phone. If you're stuck with a tablet or phone, Google Maps and Google Street View are great apps to have on hand, just not as user friendly. You'll have to switch between the two apps to use all the options as Google Maps on a desktop. Why do I choose Google before the others? It simplifies the work for me. Most campgrounds have reviews and are directly linked to their respective reservation systems. Plus, I can map out my days route to see how far the campground is from my starting point. In situations where a campground allows you to choose your site during the reservation process, you can also look at the campsite from an aerial view to see what you're reserving. For example: Are there trees for hammocks and/or tent shade? From here, I tend to broaden my horizons and check out some of the more specific categories below. Choosing the Right Campsite for You or Your Riding Group State and National Park Campgrounds One of the best ways to experience a national or state park is by camping within the park boundaries. While these are not the most secluded campgrounds, I tend to enjoy them for the easy access they offer to the area I'm visiting. Usually, this requires more than a month's notice, so plan and reserve your site online. Depending on the park you're choosing as a destination, you may have first come, first serve (FCFS) options when you arrive. Larger parks, like Yellowstone, fill their FCFS sites before 7am most days in the peak season. Relying on FCFS sites in National Parks is my least favorite thing to do. Additionally, their online reservation systems show full campgrounds over 30 days in advance. In situations like this, I wouldn't suggest showing up on a whim in hopes of finding a campground. I'd rely on one of the next options below. Typically, State and National Parks utilize recreation.gov, Reserve America, and Xanterra for making online camping reservations. In my experience, it's easiest to visit the park website prior to moving on to one of these reservation systems. Having these apps on my phone is handy for last minute or on-the-go reservations. National Forest Campgrounds If you'd like a little less of a family-focused atmosphere while still enjoying the outdoors, National Forest Campgrounds would be more ideal for you or your riding group. While our National Forests are usually the best bet to finding free campsites, their established campgrounds usually require a reservation fee. When I say established, don't expect showers and electric hookups. You're usually fortunate to have a paved parking surface, food storage box, and a pit toilet nearby. Due to their lack of amenities, the camping fee is usually minimal. The seclusion and nearby scenery definitely makes up for the lack of "glamping" options. These campgrounds can also be found using Google maps, the Recreation.gov app or website, or the US National Forest App. Often, National Forest By Staci Wilt of RideForFood for Law Tigers Motorcycle Camping: How To Find The Best Campsites Established campgrounds in the National Forest may offer picnic tables, fire rings, and tent pads, although each campground's amenities vary.

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