Girl Meets World on FZ-07 Motorcycle: Chapter 2, Part 20

Revisiting New York, searching for the east coast's charms

Tiffani in New York City
New York! It was kind of fun being pedestrians and tourists for a couple hours (especially since it was so tough to actually ride anywhere)Photo: David "Hollywood" Hayward

That whole high note thing for these east coast states didn't really work out it seems. But I'm doing my best, aboard my Yamaha FZ-07, to salvage even the less spectacular things, so let's do the play by play:

We left Rhode Island midday, and headed toward New York. I felt it was absolutely obligatory to see the Statue of Liberty on this US tour, since it’s criminal to go all the way to New York and not see what’s probably the most iconic monument in our country. We looked up the best place to view the statue from the mainland, then set our sights for Battery Park. We blew through much of Connecticut, stopping in New Haven for lunch when we saw some food trucks congregating at the side of the road. Me being from Los Angeles and he being from Denver, food trucks are usually where we expect to get some of the best food, since it’s such a huge trend to have gourmet restaurants on wheels these days. Turns out, Connecticut is not quite as hip as the west coast, since all the trucks ended up being grungy looking roach coaches, which I have not quite built up a stomach for. You’d be amazed how many small things turn into a lot of culture shock even when just travelling to other parts of your own country, haha. The United states is a diverse place.

We continued on to New York City, where we were almost immediately met with traffic that rivals the 405 at rush hour. Without being allowed to split lanes (I'll forever be bitter about this in all states that aren't California), we very, very, very slowly made our way to Battery Park with plenty of time to admire the intricate and extravagant architecture of Manhattan. Once we got close enough to the park, we squeezed into a small parking spot and decided we'd traverse the city on foot instead.

FZ-1 in New York City traffic
Aaaaaand New York….. This is perhaps a more accurate image of the experience. Well, it can’t all be glamorous, haha.Photo: David "Hollywood" Hayward

There was a certain level of triumph that came from just seeing the statue in the distance. It was almost like that feeling I got when I was handed my trophy at the CVMA awards banquet a few years ago, where you realize all that work you put in all year is now totally vindicated. Feeling on top of the world, we then walked over to the ground zero memorial for 9/11, where in place of the towers were fountain craters inscribed with names of the victims. We considered going into the museum, but the cost of admission was a bit higher than I expected for a memorial, and much of the site unfortunately felt like a tragedy being turned into a money grab. I guess that should have been expected in such a big, tourist heavy city though.

After walking around a bit, feeling a little claustrophobic in the tight confines of buildings, fences, endless traffic and people, we realized we did still need to find a place to stay for the night. After looking online for anywhere at all to camp, I was striking out on anything even vaguely nearby. The few campsites mentioned within the city were almost as expensive as some of the motels I’ve stopped in, and the actual hotels were way out of reasonable price range. With nowhere to stay for the night anywhere near the city, We decided to cut our New York exploration short and head into New Jersey. Having to move on a little sooner than intended for the sake of having somewhere to safely sleep is an unfortunate reality of being a moto-gypsy.

Tiffani on FZ-07 riding on toll bridge
Traffic, traffic, and more traffic. The view was alright, but I’m not sure how this is worth a $4 toll.Photo: David "Hollywood" Hayward

I found a state forest in New Jersey about 100 miles to the south, so we got back on our bikes and slowly navigated our way out of the city. After a few mishaps getting lost and separated (which was a bit scary in such a hard to navigate highway system), we made our way through the Holland Tunnel, and stopped for gas in New Jersey. This was another one of those states where you’re apparently not allowed to pump your own gas. WTF. I’ll never understand this concept. Pumping gas ain’t rocket science.

As we tried to pound out miles to get to a spot to camp, the sun had fully set and the darkness paired with the onset of rain and some of the worst, most overly aggressive drivers I have EVER experienced (Which is really saying something coming from LA), it started to feel like an unnecessary risk to keep going. With 40 miles still to go to get to a camp-able area, we pulled into a gas station and begrudgingly hunted down a cheap hotel for the night anyways. I really, really miss the wide open and less urbanized west.

Hollywood at the Hollywood Casino
First Davie lake in Canada and now Hollywood Casino in West Virginia- when are we going to find a place called Tiffani to camp at?Photo: Tiffani Burkett

The next day, we decided to head toward West Virginia. Now, this was the day that really made me start to hate being on the east coast, if I’m being honest. Toll road after toll road, drivers that were downright vicious, and traffic as far as the eye could see, navigating Delaware and Maryland felt like an exercise in paying entirely too much money for the opportunity to have people try to run you over. We sat on the Delaware bridge and crawled slowly across it, having a slow race in my mind, trying to see how long I could go without putting my feet down. $4 per person later, I pulled off the freeway right before the next toll booth and couldn’t take it anymore. I was stressed, irritated, and sick of wasting money that could be better spent on lunch or gas or literally anything other than these horrid roadways. My maps had been doing a terrible job telling me what roads actually avoided tolls, so we crawled around some surface streets and got back on the interstate on the other side of the toll booth.

Tiffani FZ-07 east coast route map
The route we took along the east coast, ending at Hollywood Casino.©Motorcyclist

Finally we made our way into Maryland, when, with no good prospects for camping for the night, Hollywood suggested we stop at a casino in West Virginia (which happened to be called Hollywood Casino. Coincidence?) We had been told that you could camp in casino parking lots for free, and this one had a lot clearly designated for it. We set up for the night and walked over to the casino to watch some horse racing (I thought MotoGP racers were small- but my god, those jockeys looked like small children). The West Virginia accent was a lot more southern than I was prepared for, as the drawl wasn’t even full of run-on sentences, but what sounded like run-on words, and I could barely understand what people were saying even though we were all presumably speaking English. Ugh. Hopefully my experience in the south east will be a bit better than it was last time.