Where I Lay My Head Is Home...

To camp or not to camp? A very basic, simple albeit important question that is at the forefront of my thoughts whilst working on a road trip plan. 
  • How many miles per day will be ridden?
  • Will we work out of a central location for more than two days?
  • Whom am I traveling with?
  • Location of final destination?
Okay, full disclosure here: I love to camp! So, I am very one-sided on 'what-I-think', however, I will open my mind to other possibilities and I will also try and be very realistic with my expectations.
North Carolina, 2007
I must also confess that despite several years as a Marine grunt, I still enjoy sleeping outside amongst the rocks, trees, desert, fill-in-the-blank. I will also admit that I have some rather romantic ideas of camping despite enduring some rather, shall we say, damp camping expeditions. I must stop here and return to the mainline of this post. Please forgive me for becoming sidetracked-thank you!
So, for all my big talk about camping, the reality of establishing a tent site after a 500 to 600 mile day is not always a task I look forward to, in fact, I probably will tie-up at a cheap motel! Porque no?
Beartooth Run 2011
I draw the line at rain: long miles in the rain with rain at the end of a bone-chillen,' wet day only to set up camp in the rain equals a resounding, NO! 
Rainy day, Tennessee, 2006.

You have seen them and maybe you have even stayed at one they are the KOA, Kampgrounds of America. They have been around since the 1960's, assuming of course that what I read in the Men's Room of the South Bend KOA
is accurate. These fine establishments are privately owned campgrounds located through out the Estados de Unitos. They run the gamut from a 1980's slasher-style-movie to grand opulence. What the KOA's offer is a relatively inexpensive alternative to motels. Their "KOA Kabins" are simple, AC/Heat, bed and a roof over your helmet, err head. I swear by them!
Sketchy KOA, Ft. Smith, AR 2013.

Nice KOA Kabin, Charlottlesville, VA.
State or county parks have been good to us. Bowman, North Dakota and Duchess County, New York were clean, cheap and scenic...
County park, Duchess County, NY 2012.

RV campground, Mt. Pleasant, IA 2010.
County park, Bowman, ND 2011.
My inspiration for this post began to unfold before me as I was looking at various bivy covers. As I started down that path, I realized that I actually have a full-on Gore-tex bivy cover. That in turn brought me to this thought: since I may only be spending a single night at a campground, why not fore go the ritual of setting a tent up? Hey, I claim the moniker of "Iron Vaquero" and cowboys normally sleep out under the stars whilst they are out on the range so, if I really am a cowboy that rides a steel horse (Thank you Mr. Bon Jovi) than by all rights I ought to be using a sleeping roll! And that brought me to this: USGI Gore-tex bivy cover. Very simple, easy and quick set-up...
Bivy cover buttoned/zipped up.

Bivy cover open.
I suspect that I maybe utilizing this system  this summer (I'm thinking about visiting the four corners of Pennsylvania...) and during the Road To Ruinas trip. The green bag that you see inside is the lightweight usgi patrol bag. The patrol bag snaps into the bivy cover and thus preventing the bag from moving around. The set-up has enough room to prevent the dreaded sleeping bag panic attack...Of course my venerable Thermarest sleeping mat will be underneath for added comfort! So, we shall see how this set-up works during practical applications! Ride on!


  1. I think you need to keep both options open on any given day. Setting up camp after a long day isn't bad if it's dry but nobody wants to deal with that when they are already wet from a long day in a moist saddle. On the other hand, I've slept on a picnic table in the rain just because lodging wasn't in the budget! I remember that night like it was yesterday but I can't pick out a single "adventure" from staying at a motel.

  2. I'd rather camp as well, I hate motel rooms, but like Scott says if you're already wet, a warm dry motel room is inviting. I've stayed in the KOA cabins, they're alright but really about the same price as a cheap motel room. The advantage to the "Kabin" is your bike is right outside and ground level. Give me a State or County park every time. I'm also not opposed to the cheapest option of all, crashing in a ditch for a few hours, and your bivy bag would be perfect. Best night I spent while moto-traveling was in an $8.00 county park, about 75 yards from the shore of Green Bay.