Shaggy’s Long Rides: Santiago Peak Saddleback Mountain
On any long ride, there is much opportunity for saving money, and conversely much opportunity for luxuries. This post will go over some basics: saving money on lodging, fuel, citations, navigation and more.
Many people are willing to spend the extra money for private rooms, I am not one of them. Hostels are alive and well in the US, despite many believing them to be a foreign phenomenon. They are at the upper end of my budget range. When traveling in a city my order of preferred accommodations are:
And if all else fails:
- Leave the city, find somewhere creative to camp
I only explore my next option when I know I can’t actualize my first (for example, I will begin looking for CouchSurfing hosts once I have realized that I don’t know anyone in the city who can offer me a place to stay).
While enroute to a city, I often find myself sleeping on the side of the road. Rest stops are great for this, even if you’re on a bike. Just find yourself a secluded bush/tree and roll out your sleeping bag. Furthermore, the Pacific Coast is littered with small paths down to the ocean that serve as functional spots to get some shut eye, and there really is something alluring about waking up on a cliff overlooking the sea. Motels/hotels are nowhere near cheap in America, and for me, a bed for a night is not worth $60 or more. If it is for you, then by all means disregard my bushwacking tactics.
I found this nice camping spot just north of the California/Oregon border on HWY-1
On another note: keep in mind that the only state in the U.S. that allows lane-splitting is California. Once outside our state, you’ll need to act as though you are any other vehicle on the road. Also always be weary of the space between you and the vehicle behind you when changing lanes in Oregon. They are more strict about leaving a reasonable gap in these situations.
Oregon does not have state sales tax. If you need something, buy it here!
Before your trip, verify your bike is getting the fuel economy you expect it to get. I once did a long trip on a bike that was getting 30 mpg when it was expected to get about 55. I lost a lot of extra money on gas, and time working on the carb throughout the trip to try and appease the issue. Unfortunately what it needed was a re-jet and thus without the parts I was unable to correct it. If you can’t find the time to re-jet it yourself before the trip, it may even be worth paying someone else to do it. I would have probably saved more in fuel savings than the bill for a professional re-jet.
On PCH between LA and SF (specifically in the area of Big Sur), you’ll occasionally come to gas stations selling at extremely high prices, such as $8/gallon or more. You don’t want to let your tank empty to within 15 miles of running out. By avoiding this, you can avoid having to fill-up at one of these extortionate gas stations, as there is certain to be another station selling at normal prices within 15 miles or less…some MUCH less. If you find that you do require some fuel, fill only the minimal amount to get to the next station.
It’s actually significantly cheaper to use a GPS app on a GPS-enabled device than it is to use paper maps these days. As mentioned in the introduction post, I use OSMAnd on my Nexus 7 (a $200 device that I use in place of a laptop).
Food will be an issue of preference. I often cook for myself in hostels (guacamole is a staple of my travel diet), or find cheap but reasonably healthy food by asking locals. Or use Yelp, it’s a good resource for finding places to eat while traveling.
These are just a few ways to keep the major costs of your journey down. They have save me thousands throughout my travels, not just on motorcycles but backpacking and by car as well.