TransAmerica Trail Ride: Motorcycles On The Ocracoke Ferry

From Cape Hatteras to Okracoke Island.

Riding across the USA is no big deal, right? Well, how about doing it on mostly dirt roads? Yes, it’s been done before and we know three riders who are about to do it again. Dave Bramsen and his sons, Paul and Caleb, have packed three Hondas to travel across America by way of the TransAmerica Trail. The TAT is 5,200 miles of country dirt roads and trails connecting Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, on the East Coast to Port Orford, Oregon, on the West Coast. Is this the ultimate way to see America? Follow along via Dave Bramsen's blog and see.

okracoke ferry ride
Our bikes securely tucked against the ferry wall to avoid tip overs in the chop.Paul Bramsen

Thigh-high Atlantic waves mumble at the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. Clouds and waterspouts play offshore. Caleb breaks out his DJI Mavic drone, a compact device more tech-infused than our Hondas. It will track us to this from the Atlantic Ocean to begin our TransAmerica Trail ride back to the Pacific.

After a short distraction by a very swift crab, at 10:10 am EDT on Monday June 5, our boots are wet. We ride west! Caleb has the drone track us high and to the rear, recording sand and blue seas on both sides. Eleven miles away lies the hour-long free ferry from Cape Hatteras to Ocracoke Island. Ferry rides and motorcycles always inject adventure to the day. Their AC-cooled lounge gives good relief from the heat.

north carolina, motorcycles, adv ride
Dave and Caleb cruising their Hondas down a North Carolina country road.Paul Bramsen

After debarking, we ride south on this strand of barrier island towards the Ocracoke ferry to Cedar Island. It's $10 for bikes. With a two-hour wait for the ferry, we spread out computers, chargers, cables, and gear for social blogging and video time at the Ocracoke Comfort Center. Yes, we travel with two computers. What kind of a dirt-biking life is this? The host lady is friendly and tells me that Ocracoke doesn't have a causeway like that at Nag’s Head because locals don’t want it. Current crowds are enough.

transamerica trail ride
Dave Bramsen's comparison of motorcycle travel involving pairing, plugs, fuelishness, and mufflers.Dave Bramsen

The Ocracoke ferry is new and gleaming. Despite handlers’ warnings of rocky seas, our bikes sit steady and it’s a good ride. Off the boat, the ride out of Cedar Island is sweet with unique scenery of inlets, bays, forested twisties and marshy canals on both sides of the road for miles.

We are headed to a free campsite, as yet unknown to us, as is the deputy sheriff we will meet in Havelock, NC. Next entry: Tips on polite stealth motorcycle camping.