Jill Homer

Article Summary:

The best aspect of bicycle touring is the slowness of it. Better to stop and enjoy a relaxing evening than press the limits of energy and darkness trying to make it those last 20 miles to the nearest campground / hotel.

Bicycle Tour: The Art of Camping in a Ditch

There's a subtle art to camping in a ditch; and we've had to camp in more than one. Since you're parked in an unlikely spot right next to the highway, you have to get around all the aspects of unconventional camping.

The first problem to overcome - cars.
Sure they're loud and their headlights will blind you, but I like to think of them as my escape route should I have an accident such as an entanglement with a rabid coyote.

Second is lack of amenities
Not so much a problem in the wilderness, but in plain sight of the road the absence of a bathroom can be annoying. Most ditches have at least bushes, and with a little creativity anyone can disappear behind a two foot bush.

Third is water.
When camping in a ditch, patience is key.

Fourth is location.
Thanks to the wonders of public ownership, we can park anywhere we please on BLM land. But what to do when you come across miles of private land? I've found that highway underpasses make good hobo homes, and few will complain if you camp on the highway right-of-way. Stopping right on private property will probably get you to the nicest spots, but often at the expense of staying incognito.

Finally, there's no shame in camping in a ditch.
Better to stop and enjoy a relaxing evening than press the limits of energy and darkness trying to make it those last 20 miles to the nearest campground / hotel.

The best aspect of bicycle touring is the slowness of it. Everything about bicycle travel completely contradicts the American trend of speed traveling - you know, the people who "visit" ten national parks into five days and spend most of their time driving. You've set out to truly soak in the scenery. Don't squander it trying to get from Point A to Point B. Stop. Sit back. Relax.

Jill Homer is a graphic artist and freelance travel writer currently residing in Tooele, Utah. She specializes in outdoor adventure writing. For more information please visit www.biketoshine.com or contact jill@biketoshine.com.

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