It was late October and past time to ride the motorcycle. One friend, Duncan, was signed up for a 1 day off road course at the BMW training center in Greer, SC. He and another, Dan, were going to trailer their motorcycles from Vermont to South Carolina and ride the mountains there. One can only ride a few hours at a time so riding down was not an option and 1,100 miles of interstate is no fun anyway. I decided to meet them in South Carolina and take a coastal route to get there. I would see some areas I never had and some that were very familiar. Leaving on a Tuesday in late October from Martha’s Vineyard my goal was eastern Long Island. Rode interstate from Cape Cod to New London, CT where I would pick up the ferry to Orient Point, NY. On the ferry I met Clyde and Vera traveling by Harley. They were 28 days out from home near Los Angeles and seeing everything they could. Clyde had no schedule except to be back around November 4 for work. They had seen the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce National Parks, Sturgis, the Badlands, Mt Rushmore, Bar Harbor, ME, were on Long Island now and were on their way toward to Blue Ridge and unsure of whether they would go for food in Memphis or New Orleans. They were traveling light, Vera said she had 5 layers on during the cold parts of the west. They were getting along well for such a long trip and having fun. We were on the smallest New London Ferry and due to sea conditions they advised us to stay with the bikes. It was not that bad. Orient Point Light Third of four ferries for day one (Martha's Vineyard, New London - Orient Point, Greenport to Shelter Island, South Ferry Shelter Island to Sag Harbor) Riding to Greenport, New York and crossing the ferry to Shelter Island. Crescent Beach Shelter Island. This is where I learned to swim 60 years ago from a Red Cross instructor that gave classes every summer. Brander Parkway, Shelter Island, NY The house my father built on Shelter Island. He sold it to a successful guy that lives in Brooklyn. I stopped in to meet him a few years ago and he had just arrived from Brooklyn on his 1200GS. I crossed another ferry to the south fork of Long Island and riding to Montauk Manor, Montauk, NY. I hit rain which was a damper on a darkening day. The staff there was very friendly and concerned that I was on a motorcycle in the rain and this time of year. Off season pricing made a cost reasonable stay in a hotel / condo that was designed by the same architect that did the Breakers in Palm Beach. I found a local bar / restaurant for dinner. Day 2 There was a heavy rain overnight and the next morning brought a stiff breeze that was drying out the wet landscape with a temperature in the high 40’s but promised to rise. Old Montauk Highway In Amagansett the local Methodist Church is for sale. Apparently there no longer are Methodists in Amagansett. A gas station was advertising gasoline with 15% ethanol as if that was a good thing. Ethanol is not a good fuel but they are making hybrids that can use it. Ethanol is energy intensive to make, takes huge amounts of water to make, is bad for engines and creates more air pollution than gasoline. But don’t let facts get in the way of something that seems politically correct. It was a stark contrast going south to NC where there are well attended churches everywhere, fishing poles and trucks and a lot of gas stations sell non-ethanol gas because it is better for the environment, motorcycles and your boat. Meanwhile in Westhampton Beach, NY Main Street West Hampton Beach. I bet that was good for foot traffic this year. In West Hampton Beach the modest summer homes on Dune Road on the barrier island have been replaced by trophy homes. The small ranches that were adequate for the affluent summer people have been replaced by expensive, elaborately built homes in harm’s way for weather and about 9 months of the year are generally only populated by the landscapers and tradesmen upgrading their homes to keep up with the others, who are not there either. The old and the new type houses Some houses seem to have been cutting edge in terms of windpower. I did not see any other newer ones adopting such a green approach. The least pretentious building in the area was the Shinnecock Yacht Club. It houses the one thing needed by all yacht clubs, a bar. I had never been to Fire Island or Jones Beach. Of course one cannot visit Fire Island by auto as they are not allowed. But the concept of a 30 mile barrier island free of vehicles is lovely and the brainchild of Robert Moses, as were most of NY City and western Long Island’s roads and causeways. Which of course makes him controversial then and now, but people still go to Jones Beach, they still use the Cross Bronx Expressway, the Northern State Parkway, the Robert Moses Causeway, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, the Belt Parkway and the West Side Highway. Robert Moses Causeway Lighthouse Fire Island The brick lighthouses and the elaborate bath houses on Jones Beach are a testament to a vision for public spaces that has long been lost. Lido Beach I had never seen the area along the coast of Long Island near JFK airport. It is a world of its own Lido Beach, Atlantic Beach a part of New York, but very apart. How apart you ask? The Atlantic Beach Bridge from Atlantic Beach, NY over to Far Rockaway, NY is a toll bridge, $2.00 for cars or motorcycles, and THEY DON’T TAKE EZ PASS. I am in New York, right? I have a NY State Thruway issued EZ Pass. NFG. I had to stop and find $2.00 to hand a toll taker. Storm Sandy had a big impact there as it appeared that it wrecked a lot of houses, and they are all being built elevated now. What was there, and what is replacing it. Storm Sandy had a big impact there as it appeared that it wrecked a lot of houses, and they are all being built elevated now. Atlantic Beach And the traffic is cramping up my hands from clutch and brake. On to Staten Island. After that it was late enough to have to balance through slow traffic over the dang Belt Parkway across the Verrazano Bridge, Rt 440 across Staten Island to Outerbridge Crossing, Garden State Parkway south rather than get to the NJ coast. New Jersey. I grew up in northern New Jersey, I learned to drive there, I know something about it. I can’t stand most of the state although I grew up in a very pretty part. The Parkway has express lanes and local in sections south of Perth Amboy, 3 lanes each, 6 lanes north and 6 lanes south. I was riding in the right lane of the express three lanes doing 81 mph and getting passed by both of the other lanes. Is the state full of drivers that are better than all other states and can handle almost bumper to bumper 80 mph driving? Insurance statistics say not. Eventually they all get off into their crowded suburban neighborhoods and I kept on running down into the pine barrens of NJ until the highway ended at Cape May. In Cape May I found a cheap motel near the water, a bit musty, probably been flooded more than once. I found Hemingway’s, a local popular restaurant with early bird specials, and I was an early bird. Expecting to eat at the bar at 5:45 I found it fully occupied and that it appeared to have a minimum age for sitting at the bar of about 70 years old. Perfect. I had the $20 prime rib special since I had not eaten since the pancake shop in Montauk that morning, about a 300 mile day. Lovely sandy beaches and a sunset shot toward the Cape May light. My not so great room at the Jetty Motel. But it was cheap. Day 3 Low 40's in the morning, full base layer. Day three heading for Kill Devil Hills via Cape May- Lewes, Delaware ferry, Rehobeth Beach, Chincoteague Island, Chesapeake Bridge Tunnel. I was up very early, around 4:30. The musty hotel room was something I was looking to leave. I wanted the 7am ferry and made a reservation on line around 5:30am, glad I did. I did not know about the Cape May ferry process. I live on an island so I ride a ferry constantly. I arrive in the cold (mid 40’s) and dark around 6:15am. I am checked at the gate to the facility, that is different. Then in line two security officers make you open trunks and bags and check for bombs under the car with mirrors? Really?? Mirrors under the car, this is not a US consulate in Tunisia. Oh wait, they don’t do that there. He said he was supposed to have me open my strapped on bags but he was not going to, he had already done a background check on me. The bags held clothes and camping gear. I was a bit put off by the security and he said he used to be in nuclear plant security and recognized it as overkill. I used to work for federal government agencies in secure buildings and had been thoroughly vetted multiple times. Where is the terrorist threat to a car ferry from the butt end of NJ to nowhere in Delaware? Cape May ferry has had its own police force and bomb sniffing dogs since 9/11. Security theater. I talked with the fire chief of Tisbury where I live on Martha’s Vineyard as we made a ferry crossing together and he made comment about the bomb sniffing dogs that sometimes work that ferry. “If the dogs are checking for explosives and the only way to the island is by car, then how come there are so many people with fireworks on the island around the Fourth of July?” The fire chief would know. Security theater. The TSA fail rate when tested is 86%. Dawn on the Cape May ferry October Dawn Cape May ferry First at the bar with the breakfast of champions Calm day Looks like a ferry was a bit off on an approach to the slip Down through Rehobeth Beach, to Bethany Beach. Rehobeth is full of the funky shops that have to make a living in 4 months per year. Like everywhere else on the coast the housing is now very large and expensive. In part the US taxpayer has subsidized flood insurance allowing all of us to pay for some having homes where they are likely to be damaged. Just outside Rehobeth Poodle Beach is nice. Ran down the barrier beach a bit toward Bethany Beach. I got on Rt 113 and for no particular reason ended up in Berlin, MD which lists itself as one of America’s coolest small towns. They wouldn’t say if it wasn’t so. It was pretty and the Rayne’s Reef Soda Fountain and Grill in the center of the village is a good lunch spot. Down the eastern shore to Chincoteague Island. Less prosperous Stockton, MD.