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Trans American with warmershowers.org

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Trans American with warmershowers.org

Old 02-07-13, 05:14 PM
  #1  
watson
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Trans American with warmershowers.org

Has anyone ridden the Trans American cycle route from East to West using any of the "warmershowers"network for stops and accommodation ?
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Old 02-07-13, 05:41 PM
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Warmshowers can be great, but there are few protections.
As a host there were two persons who were trashed who wanted a place to "crash" -
(And they could easily have seen the age differential and the "no alcohol" request.)
Of course, one can always say "No" whether host or guest.
It's probably a little harder when you really need a place.
And therein lies the risk - esp. for solo women.

There was one person who was looking for places who I googled.
Turned out that although recently out of college -
He had plea bargained down serious abuse charges - sexual and physical - related to frat hazing.
When I shared my concern with Warmshowers - they said, "Not our responsibility."
I dropped out of hosting immediately.
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Old 02-07-13, 05:59 PM
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Does Warmshowers have a review system like Couchsurfing? I've had overwhelmingly good experiences with Couchsurfing but I tend to only allow guests that have been vetted by others.
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Old 02-07-13, 05:59 PM
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I haven't ridden the entire TransAmerica route but I have used both warmshowers.org and couchsurfing.org hosts extensively in my bike touring, some of which was on the TransAmerica route.

Is it possible? In a limited way, yes. You can only be hosted where there are hosts. This is why I use couchsurfing more than warmshowers because there are many (times) more couchsurfing hosts than warmshowers hosts. The more remote the place, the less likelihood you'll find a host. As I mentioned on a previous thread, the more you are relying on other people to host you, the better your planning has to be. I often get last minute requests from people to stay at my house. I usually refuse as I am busy, like to plan to have visitors, and want some time to interact with potential guests before offering hospitality.

Also, I don't know outgoing you are but it helps greatly if you enjoy spending time talking with friendly people you have just met. Can you converse with people you've never met for, at least, an hour? If not, then you might not find spending night after night with strangers all that much fun. Nothing like spending 6 hours riding a bike to someone's house only to discover you have nothing in common and are uncomfortable at the house.
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Old 02-07-13, 07:54 PM
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I love to tour to meet new people and see new places. But after certain tough days, I can be poor company. Had a day like that last fall. After 102 degree temp and 25+mph headwinds, I had nothing left. That's one of the reasons I hotel it. Expensive, but I'm not beholding to anyone.
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Old 02-07-13, 08:00 PM
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I rode the TransAm this past summer. I stayed at 22 Warmshowers Hosts' homes. I know this because I sent all of them Christmas cards this year...I was surprised by the number I had been hosted by! They were a big highlight of my tour. I made sure I arranged as far in advance as possible.

Warmshowers does have a feedback system. It is designed for both guest's and host's. I made sure I gave feedback on all those I was hosted by...all were wonderful! I think during the summer some of the Warmshowers hosts that are on the route and are one of a very small number of hosts for their town get overwhelmed with guests. If you choose to enjoy Warmshowers make sure you communicate a good length in advance...especially if they request that in their profile.

I am also a host, but live off the beaten paths. Yet we still host on occasion...my profile basically says give us a call, if we're home, then heck Yes! Come on over. I do check their profiles for any negative feedback...but so far none have been discovered and our guests have always been great!
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Old 02-07-13, 08:10 PM
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We are a WS host and have only had good experiences. We normally only allow people who keep an updated blog, so we can read about their background. You can tell a lot about person by the way they write, about their experiences, the kind of things they do, the places they go, etc.

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Old 02-08-13, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by raybo View Post
Also, I don't know outgoing you are but it helps greatly if you enjoy spending time talking with friendly people you have just met. Can you converse with people you've never met for, at least, an hour? If not, then you might not find spending night after night with strangers all that much fun. Nothing like spending 6 hours riding a bike to someone's house only to discover you have nothing in common and are uncomfortable at the house.
You address an important point well. I am not good with people I have just met and usually don't feel comfortable staying in their houses. When I crossed the country on ACA's group Northern Tier tour we were hosted by three different people. I never felt fully at ease even though I could sort of "hide" in the group. I know I would have felt extremely awkward if it had been just me and the hosts.
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Old 02-13-13, 10:41 AM
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Thanks for the info Gus , any chance you can tell me the 22 towns that you stayed in with the warmshowers hoasts and how much advance warning of you arrival date do the hoasts usually need ?
Thanks
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Old 02-13-13, 05:05 PM
  #10  
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Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
We normally only allow people who keep an updated blog, so we can read about their background.
I am currently rewriting my profile and would love to know how you phrase this in your profile as well as how you say no! I was thinking the same thing as I am expecting a lot of requests due to my location but can only host twice a month and would have to pick and choose. I want to offer help, but I also have a busy schedule and don't want to come off rude as I will have to say no a lot. Thank you for any advice.

Last edited by el Chilly Willy; 02-13-13 at 05:07 PM. Reason: awkward wording
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Old 02-13-13, 07:08 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by Omiak View Post
Does Warmshowers have a review system like Couchsurfing? I've had overwhelmingly good experiences with Couchsurfing but I tend to only allow guests that have been vetted by others.
They do but not as good as couchsurfing in my opinion. Many people do not comment and if they do, it is almost never a negative comment. I have only had one bad experience where someone did not show and did not call to cancel. I left a negative comment.

I had a couple stay with me that did the TransAm southern tier and they told me they did warmshowers most of the way.
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Old 02-13-13, 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by watson View Post
Thanks for the info Gus , any chance you can tell me the 22 towns that you stayed in with the warmshowers hoasts and how much advance warning of you arrival date do the hoasts usually need ?
Thanks
You need to read each profile because it is going to depend. But I would say most people are 3 days advance. I like a week. I live alone and the place is not always exactly guest ready condition, if you know what I mean. A week gives me an evening or two to fit into my busy schedule to get the place in order.
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Old 02-13-13, 09:12 PM
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Originally Posted by watson View Post
Thanks for the info Gus , any chance you can tell me the 22 towns that you stayed in with the warmshowers hoasts and how much advance warning of you arrival date do the hoasts usually need ?
Thanks
They are all along the TransAm route. Once in the WS site you can click on the ACA trail route option, it will show the TransAm (and the other ACA routes). When you see a host along the route, select their flag and you get all their info. As Spinaker mentioned, it is easier to check it out this way because they are all different. Most have phone numbers, some you'll have to email. Being hosted by WS hosts is a very rewarding experience. I tried to make it a point to ask if I could bring anything over, and those that I stayed an extra day for a rest day, I tried to take them out to dinner.

Last edited by Gus Riley; 02-14-13 at 01:51 PM.
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Old 02-14-13, 08:35 AM
  #14  
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I have not found that warmshowers host stays frequently work out that well for me. It can be more hassle to contact them ahead of time, give them the required notice, and so on. I typically do not know where I will want to stop for the day until I am there. Also I seldom know for sure if I will even want to stay in a particular town until the day before and often not even then.

I have found that it cam be very helpful to have a host lined up for the night before starting the trip and the night before flying home.

When I have managed to stay with a warmshowers host it has been nice, but I definitely do not rely on them for a large portion of my stays.

All that isn't to say that I don't wind up staying with people I meet along the way, people I have met here or on the crazy guy forums, and people who contact me via my journal guestbook.

I wind up camping more than staying with hosts and for that I prefer town parks and other free sites. Where they are available I really like hiker biker sites. They are typically cheap and you get to hang out with other tourists.
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Old 02-17-13, 04:50 AM
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Originally Posted by keywestchillwil View Post
I am currently rewriting my profile and would love to know how you phrase this in your profile as well as how you say no! I was thinking the same thing as I am expecting a lot of requests due to my location but can only host twice a month and would have to pick and choose. I want to offer help, but I also have a busy schedule and don't want to come off rude as I will have to say no a lot. Thank you for any advice.
About the blog request, simply state that you need to have a blog as you'd like to know more beforehand about the people you host. We live in Mexico and the bike tourists we get are normally going down to Argentina or even around the world. The vast majority blog their tours.

Since you can only host occasionally (same here), you can simply say those dates won't work for you when they contact you. I always have the courtesy to give them a couple of inexpensive but good lodging options in town with address and phone number. Do make sure the places you suggest are bike friendly. If you'll be on vacation or simply cannot host for a long period, mark your profile as "not hosting until ______."

Last edited by Chris Pringle; 02-17-13 at 05:05 AM.
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Old 02-17-13, 02:18 PM
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so does this mean you wont be camping.
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Old 02-17-13, 03:15 PM
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Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
so does this mean you wont be camping.
That's right! Seriously, if they're actively looking for a WS host, most likely they're already fed up with camping. My experience is that very few ask for camping options which in many cities (even in Mexico!) is not allowed by law. I do keep a free camping site right outside the city for those who prefer that. Being a WS member is not necessarily about always "hosting in your home", but providing a wealth of local information to cyclists. It's interesting to see some of the requests: Is there a good bike shop in town to work on my expensive touring bike?, Where can I store my bike and bags for a few days while I fly back home to see my folks?, Can you receive a FedEx package for me?, I know you can't host but can you meet me for drinks?

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Old 02-18-13, 07:53 AM
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I hosted 12+ cyclists last summer, probably 25+ over the last 3 years when I joined. I think I've turned down 2 or 3 people just because I wasn't going to be home. I've never had what I would call a bad experience. At the very least, they need a good profile, and it's nice to have an up to date blog. They aren't all good.. some were stand-offish, some were really just looking for a place to camp and I really never saw them much.

I deleted my couchsurfing account because the only request I ever got was someone who was looking for a place to park their vehicle overnight, and that didn't appeal to me. After 3 years of no requests and way to many automated emails, I got tired of it.

Editted to add: I hope to use warmshowers as a cyclist in a year or two across Pennsylvania. I probably won't be a good guest, because I'm looking at 100-120 mile days.. I won't have a blog, and I'll probably be arriving just in time for sleep and leaving at sunrise.

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Old 02-18-13, 10:54 AM
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Originally Posted by watson View Post
Has anyone ridden the Trans American cycle route from East to West using any of the "warmershowers"network for stops and accommodation ?
Watson, I see you are located in Ireland...are you currently a WS host? We're looking to tour on our tandem in Ireland sometime in the future.
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Old 02-18-13, 11:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
Watson, I see you are located in Ireland...are you currently a WS host? We're looking to tour on our tandem in Ireland sometime in the future.
gus are you going to be touring all of ireland like to know your route start finish.the usual stuff.if watson cant oblige his buddy knows a couple thats on warmshowers i'm sure they will fix you up.
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Old 02-18-13, 11:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Chris Pringle View Post
We are a WS host and have only had good experiences. We normally only allow people who keep an updated blog, so we can read about their background. You can tell a lot about person by the way they write, about their experiences, the kind of things they do, the places they go, etc.
Whoa, good info.
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Old 02-18-13, 08:51 PM
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Originally Posted by antokelly View Post
gus are you going to be touring all of ireland like to know your route start finish.the usual stuff.if watson cant oblige his buddy knows a couple thats on warmshowers i'm sure they will fix you up.

Thanks antokelly. our trip is way out in the future at this point. It is little more than an idea...but so was my TransAm trip way back in the past. So, I am not sure where to where. I'd like to tour part of Ireland and some of N. Ireland...if that is possible.
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Old 02-19-13, 03:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Gus Riley View Post
Thanks antokelly. our trip is way out in the future at this point. It is little more than an idea...but so was my TransAm trip way back in the past. So, I am not sure where to where. I'd like to tour part of Ireland and some of N. Ireland...if that is possible.
well if you do make it and your flying into Dublin i could do a nice route for you all the way to Newry which would be the start of the northern ireland bit
you would be passing through the town watson and myself live.
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Old 02-19-13, 06:59 AM
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I feel uneasy about hitting people up to stay in their homes because my wife won't let me reciprocate by offering our sofa in return, so I've been considering AirBnB, a site where people charge you to stay in their home or in a dwelling they're not using. Have any of you used this service?
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Old 02-19-13, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
I feel uneasy about hitting people up to stay in their homes because my wife won't let me reciprocate by offering our sofa in return, so I've been considering AirBnB, a site where people charge you to stay in their home or in a dwelling they're not using. Have any of you used this service?

Warmshowers is more than just staying at people's homes. You can reciprocate by allowing camping in your backyard, providing SAG, provide local advice, tour guide or just donate money to the site. There are lots of ways you can return the favor.
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