CURIOUS NIGHTS - CycleBlaze

Bicycle Travel Forum

CURIOUS NIGHTS

Leo Woodland

We once slept by mistake in a Turkish graveyard (and once, purposely, in a British one).

It is in the nature of bikies and vagabonds that they end up in curious places.

How about you? Tell us about the oddest place in which you've slept and how it came about.

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Leo Woodland

In the jail, but I can’t decide which of two such nights was strangest.  Both were in 1974, riding from Indiana to Montana on a very low budget tour, but without a tent or sleeping bag - everything I was carrying was in a small rucksack on my back.  I asked to sleep I’m the jail in Fort Madison, and I was allowed to sleep in their small single cell jail overlooking the Mississippi River, on a bare metal slat cot.  They just asked that I closed the door when I let myself out in the morning.  Quite nice, actually.

Probably odder though was the jail in Alliance, Nebraska - a larger, staffed facility.  They let me stay in the drunk tank.   It was fine, except that the lights were left on and the walls painted brilliant white.  At least I had the cell to myself - until they admitted a bona fine drunk in the middle of the night.  He sounded like he was going to die for about the next hour until he finally passed out so I could get back to sleep.  In the morning they brought us both a sack breakfast with coffee and a cinnamon roll and then let me out.

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
Leo WoodlandTo Scott Anderson

Nice story! Thanks. Divided by a common language comes into it as well because a cot outside the US is different from how it's understood outside (where it's a children's bed with vertical bars).

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Leo Woodland

I can't say I've slept in any truly odd places like cemeteries or jails, but I have slept in regular touring campsites with odd wildlife encounters.  I've been awakened by cows, chipmunks, raccoons, deer and dogs just outside my tent. 

Perhaps the sleeping accommodation I'm most proud of occurred before I became a bicycle tourist.  Again, not odd, but at least unusual, my son and I spent a night in a quinzee that we built ourselves.  It got down to 10-degrees (F) that night and I froze my ass off. 

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
Leo WoodlandTo Gregory Garceau

Oh dear... what's a quinzee? Sorry

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
Wayne EstesTo Leo Woodland

The oddest place I ever slept during a bike tour was a 1-hole vault toilet building in a state park that had no facilities other than the toilet. It was raining cats and dogs all night. The land surrounding the toilet building had 5 cm deep standing water. That was way back in 1990 when I was more tolerant of adversity.

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
Gregory GarceauTo Leo Woodland

No problem, and thanks for asking.  A quinzee is basically a cave dug out of a mound of snow.  The walls of snow supposedly provide insulation from the cold air outside.

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
Susan CarpenterTo Leo Woodland

It wasn't me, but I had a warm showers guest from Czechia who slept in a chest freezer while touring all lower 48 USA states. He also quite liked self-serve car washes.  

I had a overnight jail experience reminiscent of Scott's night in Alliance, NE - only mine wasn't on a bike tour. 

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
Lyle McLeodTo Leo Woodland

I also slept in a British graveyard by choice ... sort of. In '82 on my post Uni grad tour of Europe I ended up in Birmingham on a very wet and stormy night. As this was a 'broke student shoe-string tour', wild camping, even in a city, was the norm.  I thought I was pitched up in a park in my home made (leaky) bivy sack. When the rain stopped and the sun came up it turned out the park was in fact a graveyard.

However interesting this was, our most 'curious' night was not on bike tour (if Greg can tell tales of winter camping in a quinsy (Canadian spelling), let me indulge in this one) but on a trek in Peru in 2011 with our kids. Lares trail is a lesser known, and far less frequented, alternative to the Inca Trail that passes through the Inca Sacred valley. Most of the trek is between 4,000 - 4,800 m elevation. To say the least the altitude can mess up your sleep, and your mind.

On night three of the trek, Kirsten awoke and said she had the weirdest sleep ever. She thought she was being watched all night by a local kid. We were several miles from the nearest village (which would have had a total population of about 12), so she put this off as just a weird dream. We crawled out of our sleeping bags at 7 am, zipped open the tent, and saw this!

Never pass up a marketing opportunity ... a young girl outside our tent in a remote Andean valley at 7 am, with a plastic bucket full of bottled water and coke, just in case we wanted to purchase some!

Very interesting, very very curious, and just one of many things we saw on this trip, as with all the others we all do, that made us realize that the world is a very big and diverse place.

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago
John PescatoreTo Leo Woodland

My very first bike tour was as a 12 year old in 1969 or so when three of us decided to ride out bikes 100 miles west from Freeport, Long Island NY to Montauk Point. The sleeping plan was to find our friend's family at the Hither Hills Campground, eat dinner with them and camp on their site.

Long story short, we couldn't find them, so we got back on the bikes and biked to the beach to sleep on the beach, despite the No Camping signs. Within 5 minutes a policeman escorted us off and said we would charged with vagrancy and spend the night in jail until someone bailed us out if he caught us on the beach again.

Back on the bikes, and light rain had now started. Up ahead we saw the lights of a 7-11 convenience store and headed there. But, just as we pulled up, the lights went out and the manager came out, locked the doors and drove away. In those days, it was called 7-11 because it was open from 7a to 11pm.

So, we rolled out our sleeping bags on the cigarette butt-strewn concrete front of the store, huddled against the wall to try to stay dry. At 6am, the morning guy woke us up and said we had to be gone by 7am, but a bit later he had pity on us and came out and asked if we wanted any of the stale stuff he was going to throw away and let us have sodas, too. We hadn't eaten the night before and had no money anyway (we spent all our money at a go-kart track we ran into on the trip out). We had a feast!

Reply    Link    Flag
1 month ago