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.
|Description of Lodging
|Behind public water company-owned “shed” near golf course in bivy sack from 12-4 a.m.
|13 miles past Dayville, Oregon
|Behind guard rail in bivy sack from 12:30-4:30 a.m.
|At Idaho rest stop with public bathroom and running water, on lawn in bivy sack from 1-5 a.m.
|Behind guard rail in bivy sack, next to Clearwater River. from 12-4 a.m.
|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.
|In weeds off US-287, 10 miles from Ennis, in bivy sack from 2-7 a.m. (overslept alarm).
|Rockefeller Memorial Parkway, Wyoming
|In cabin at Flagg Ranch from 11 p.m.-3 a.m.
|Jeffrey City, Wyoming
|In weeds off road in bivy sack from 12-5 or 6 a.m.
|At Chedsey Hotel from 10:30 p.m.-4 a.m.
|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.
|On grass in public park in bivy sack across the street from Trail’s End Motel from 2-6 a.m.
|At Newton Bike Shop dorm from 5:30-8:50 a.m.
|At Holiday Lodge from 2:30-7 a.m.
|At Southern Inn from 12-5? a.m.
|At Scenic Rivers Motel from 7 p.m.-5 a.m.
|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.
|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.
|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.
|On wood church deck in bivy sack from 12:30-6:30 a.m.
|Under picnic table in bivy sack by gas station from 10 p.m.-7 a.m. during thunderstorm. Wet, overslept.
|Under trees in bivy sack from 11 p.m.-7 a.m. during thunderstorm. Wet, shivering and cold; overslept.
|At Budget Inn from 8 p.m.-5 a.m. (overslept).
|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.
|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.