Where I Slept in the Trans Am Bike Race Felix Wong

Below is a list of where I slept or camped during the 2015 Trans Am Bike Race.

In summary, I stayed in hotels 11 times, slept on a bunk bed in Newton Bike shop 1 time, and stealth camped a dozen other times behind guard rails on gravel, off road on grass, on concrete at churches, or on/under picnic tables.

Day Location Description of Lodging
1 Deerhorn, Oregon Behind public water company-owned “shed” near golf course in bivy sack from 12-4 A.M.
2 13 miles past Dayville, Oregon Behind guard rail in bivy sack from 12:30-4:30 A.M.
3 Cambridge, Idaho At Idaho rest stop with public bathroom and running water, on lawn in bivy sack from 1-5 A.M.
4 Kooskia, Idaho Behind guard rail in bivy sack, next to Clearwater River. from 12-4 A.M.
5 Darby, Montana First, at Days Inn in Lolo, Montana from 4:30-8:30 P.M. First shower of race. Then, 30 feet off road on grass in bivy sack from 3-6:00 A.M.
6 Cameron, Montana In weeds off US-287, 10 miles from Ennis, in bivy sack from 2-7 A.M. (overslept alarm).
7 Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, Wyoming In cabin at Flagg Ranch from 11 P.M.-3 A.M.
8 Jeffrey City, Wyoming In weeds off road in bivy sack from 12-5 or 6 A.M.
9 Walden, Colorado At Chedsey Hotel from 10:30 P.M.-4 A.M.
10 Fairplay, Colorado At Riverside Inn from 10 P.M.-2 A.M. Nap in bivy sack in weeds from 5-7:00 A.M. after got too cold.
11 Tribune, Kansas On grass in public park in bivy sack across the street from Trail’s End Motel from 2-6 A.M.
12 Newton, Kansas At Newton Bike Shop dorm from 5:30-8:50 A.M.
13 Pittsburg, Kansas At Holiday Lodge from 2:30-7 A.M.
14 Houston, Missouri At Southern Inn from 12-5? A.M.
15 Ellington, Missouri At Scenic Rivers Motel from 7 P.M.-5 A.M.
16 Goreville, Illinois 4 miles off route at America’s Best Value Inn in Carbondale, IL from 12-5 A.M., and napped on concrete porch of Lick Creek Pentecostal Church from 7-8 A.M.
17 Utica, Kentucky 1 mile off course on concrete in front of doorway of church from 12-5 A.M. Warm enough to not need to sleep in bivy.
18 Lincoln Homestead State Park, Kentucky Parkview Hotel in Bardstown, KY from 11 P.M.-3 A.M., and on picnic bench in covered picnic area at Lincoln Homestead State Park from 6-8 A.M.
19 Chavies, Kentucky On wood church deck in bivy sack from 12:30-6:30 A.M.
20 Virgie, Kentucky Under picnic table in bivy sack by gas station from 10 P.M.-7 A.M. during thunderstorm. Wet, overslept.
21 Konnarock, Virginia Under trees in bivy sack from 11 P.M.-7 A.M. during thunderstorm. Wet, shivering and cold; overslept.
22 Christiansburg, Virginia At Budget Inn from 8 P.M.-5 A.M. (overslept).
23 White Hall, Virginia At Colony Hotel in Waynesboro from 10 P.M.-2 A.M. 15-minute nap on church concrete at 4 A.M.; nap on grass from 5-7 A.M. due to pain from Shermer’s Neck.
24 Yorktown, Virginia Biked all night. No sleep until 9 hours after finish.

Musings on Sleep

Motels along the Trans America Bicycle Trail averaged about $70 (including taxes), which was not cheap when you consider I often only stayed in them for 4 hours. But they provided a decent place to shower, do laundry in the shower or sink, recharge electronics and get a few hours of sleep. They helped conserve energy especially when it was cold outside. Towards the end of the TABR I found myself being able to wake up in them much easier than outside, when I had a tendency to oversleep my alarm.

Most nights were warm enough that I only slept inside my 32-degree down sleeping bag once or twice before shipping it back home in Newton, Kansas. But there were a couple nights when I was cold to the point of shivering; both times were during thunderstorms inside a bivy sack which apparently wasn’t very waterproof and got saturated.

My initial strategy was to ride a couple hours past sunset and wake up before sunrise, resulting in 4-5 hours of sleep. Surprisingly, despite normally needing 8 hours of sleep each night, I managed this pretty well for the first couple weeks of the race and only overslept my alarm a couple times. However, by the third week when fatigue and injuries racked up, I was oversleeping and needed to rest a lot more. Thunderstorms and being cold also kept me in my bivy sack much longer than planned.

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Cycling clothes on bed and black Litespeed Archon C2 in cabin room of Norblad Hotel in Astoria, Orego.Guardrail along highway 86 by Powder Creek.Lick Creek Pentecostal ChurchConeva Church of God.Bivy sack under picnic table at gas station in Virgie, Kentucky.Porta potty at Konnarock, Virginia.

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4 comments on “Where I Slept in the Trans Am Bike Race

  1. Comment by Adam

    Did you encounter any people when you went to sleep or when you woke up? No police activity? Were the places you slept in legal? You did arrive very late at night and left early in the morning, so it’s possible no one ever saw you come and go.

    • Comment by Felix Wong

      l only encountered people once, at 12:30 A.M. at a church in Chavies, KY (shown in the featured photo of this post). A couple guys living next door to the church must have seen my lights so they came out wielding a rifle and shouting, “Anyone need some help?” They kept searching so I came out from behind the porch and replied, “Sorry, cyclist,” and explained I was biking across the country and just pulled over to get some sleep. They were relieved, saying that I scared them, although they added, “I bet we scared you too!” They were nice and took no issue with me sleeping on the church deck.

      The other times, I was much stealthier and usually was gone before daylight broke. 🙂

  2. Comment by Allan

    Does anyone carry a bike lock. Seems it would be easy to sleep so hard that someone could walk off with your bike.

    • Comment by Felix Wong

      I carried a lightweight cable lock which I used a few times (including a couple times before the race to run errands), but I ended up shipping it back home when I arrived in Newton, Kansas. After that I simply brought in my bike into stores such as Walmart and Walgreens. Employees for the most part understand and do not care that you do so as long as you are not, say, blocking exits or product displays by doing so.

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