EPIC EAST COAST USA: The ULTIMATE solo motorcycle road trip
(pensive music) Imagine there are thousands of kilometers ahead of you. Imagine that there are countless different routes. Which ones will you choose? Is your trip about the journey or is it about the destination? (heart beating) This summer, I went on an unforgettable solo road trip.
I went where the Atlantic Ocean meets the mainland, where beaches meet mountains and rolling hills, where historical places meet the roads less traveled. (inspirational music) I explored the whole East Coast of the USA. 13 states, one motorcycle, one woman, one adventure.
(dramatic music) (upbeat music) - Hello, everyone. This is the first day of riding, first day of a new adventure, and I am going from Miami here in the south of Florida up the East Coast of the United States. (dramatic music) In theory, there are many places to start your trip on the East Coast of the United States of America. And yes, to many people it might be most tempting to start the trip in New York City.
Just because of... yes... just because New York City is New York City. But I wanted to ride all the way from Florida to Maine, from Miami to the Canadian border. And luckily my motorcycle that I bought a year ago in Los Angeles in order to cross the United States from West to East was still waiting for me in a warehouse in Florida.
And that's where the adventure starts. I was so excited. (motorbike revving) (lively music) - Welcome, everyone.
This is the start of a new adventure, a new journey. This time it's only me, a solo trip, just my very reliable Tenere 700 and me. But I guess that is enough. (lively music) This trip through the USA was going to be very different than my previous trips. Not only because I planned to go to many states I had not visited before but also because I asked you guys who are following here on YouTube for the best destinations to visit on the East Coast. And I indeed got so many answers that I was able to just go from one of your suggestions to the next.
Even though I was traveling solo, this trip was going to be teamwork with the best destinations handpicked for me by locals, handpicked for me by you. - Hey, everyone. This is the first day of riding, the first day of a new adventure and I'm going from Miami in Florida up the East Coast of the United States of America. Where exactly? I don't know yet. But I guess it will be a nice adventure.
- First things first, always check your air and the motorcycle has been standing so long that I really have to do that now. (lively music) The Eastern Coast of the United States borders the Atlantic Ocean for a distance of about 2,370 miles of 3,815 kilometers. Alone the structure of the East Coast makes it very different to the West Coast of the United States.
On the West Coast, only three states border the Pacific. On the East Coast, a total of 14 states lie along the Atlantic shores and three other states, Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia are considered East Coast states even though they don't touch the Atlantic. - Last time I visited Florida, I traveled the West Coast but this time, I will travel basically on the ocean road on the whole East Coast of Florida. And I'm super curious how that will be.
Expectations are high. I like this place. I like the lifestyle.
I as well like the people and the attitudes here. But you never know. This time everything can be different.
(tranquil music) On my previous trip through the US, I realized people have very strong opinions about Florida. And many of them might tell you to skip Florida when riding a motorcycle or doing a road trip because they think it's boring or flat. Yes, twisties like on the Ozello Trail are rare but if you are like me and travel not only for great roads but as well to experience the local atmosphere, think twice about listening to these people. (inspirational music) - So how cool is this? You can ride along this beach here with your bike, vehicle, motorcycle or car. Pretty cool.
I was about to find out that there are not only beaches to explore but places like Daytona, the cute and historical city St. Augustine or famous Key West and Amelia Island. After riding along the whole East Coast of Florida, I would go as far to say that if you have not been to Florida, your trip to the East Coast of the United States is incomplete. - Hello, Georgia, hello the Peach State. That's how Georgia is called as well.
And this is our second state of this trip. Before I could even say a proper goodbye, my ride through Florida was over already. And Georgia was next.
Because I had traveled the state quite intensively on my last journey, I skipped famous Darien and lovely St. Marys right at the border to Florida that I can highly recommend to stop by if you travel the state for the first time. The Peach State is physically immense. The largest east of the Mississippi River. So there are countless more highlights to cover.
I decided to go to famous Jekyll Island, a place I missed out on my last trip. (inspirational music) Jekyll Island is actually one big state park but then it's also a town and a collection of beaches and hotels. There are no highrises or tacky souvenir shops as you approach the island, only sky, water, birds, and an endless sea of shimmering gold and green marsh grass. While there are countless beautiful beaches on the Georgia coast, Driftwood Beach might be the most iconic. An outer-worldly sight that makes you feel like walking along gigantic dinosaur bones.
(sea whooshing) - This is really nasty. Just terrible, terrible, nasty weather. Really not nice. Every longer journey eventually will reach this point: the point where things don't go exactly as imagined. And for me this point was reached after riding for hours in pouring rain on my way through Georgia to Charleston. The rain was so strong that it got through my rain gear, flooded my boots and my whole luggage.
I decided to skip everything else in Georgia due to the bad weather forecast and head straight to the city Charleston. Charleston is often referred to as the Charm of the South, and probably one of the most scenic cities on the East Coast of the United States. But I was restless. I felt like the ocean was still calling me. After my gear and clothes had dried from the pouring rain, I took off immediately, just to realize that even with good weather, things don't need to necessarily go as you thought. - So I now arrived at ...
I think it's called Myrtle Beach North. And as you can see behind me, it has all these super resort style huge hotels. I thought that I would stay here, just to enjoy the beach and because I quite rode a long time today and I could have done my laundry, but they were so unfriendly when I walked in and asked for a room, and told me I can't park my motorcycle anywhere close, and I would have to park in a parking garage quite a bit away. So yeah, I decided that was it. I'm gonna leave this place.
Because it's weekend, everything is booked, so I have to drive another like one and a half, two hours to the next place where I hopefully find a nice hotel or accommodation or motel, actually I would prefer, to stay. Yeah, that here was nothing. (lively music) Eventually, I found a great place to stay further north: the Golden Sands Motel at Carolina Beach.
(lively music) In 2021, hotel prices in the US have reached an all-time high, followed by another record month in April 2022, right before my time of traveling. On my world trip in 2017, I found decent accommodation for about $70 a night. But now in 2022, I was not surprised that a nice but pretty basic three star motel on the beach like Golden Sands would charge around $200.
Booking in advance can make your stays much cheaper though because when traveling in the high season like I did, you don't have much a choice and have to take what is available, which by the way is as well valid for campgrounds, especially when visiting popular areas like national parks that are usually booked out at least half a year in advance. - Good morning, this is the earliest start so far. Sun is just rising and it's as well the shortest ride for now because I'm going to the ferry and my motel here was right next to the ferry. And I'm going to a very special place today. I'm super excited. There was one place I was very certain I wanted to visit on this trip because it was the place that got most often recommended to me when I asked for destinations for my East Coast journey: Outer Banks in North Carolina.
- Now let's see if the famous Outer Banks can deliver what they promise. It was suggested to me by so many people, and I just landed here at Ocracoke, and that's one of the most southern islands here of the Outer Banks. (tranquil music) Spanning almost the entire coast of North Carolina, Outer Banks are a 200-mile or 320-kilometer string of barrier islands. I was wondering why everyone was so obsessed with this region until I left the ferry that I took from Cedar Island to Ocracoke, one of the most southern barrier islands of Outer Banks. I immediately started to understand why people who once come here often return every single year. It's not just beautiful beaches, the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, the wildlife and scenic nature but before all, a sense of calm relaxation that is hard to describe in words.
As soon as I hit the first island of the Outer Banks, I felt in peace with myself, my surrounding and my journey. (inspirational music) - You know what? To me the coast is always nice, the ocean is always nice, but there is nothing like the mountains. The air, and it's just... so beautiful already. (birds tweeting) Soon I had to say goodbye to the beautiful coast of North Carolina because I had an important date with the mountains inlands. To be precise, with the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the most recommended and as well most reknown roads to ride with a motorcycle on the East Coast.
- The Blue Ridge Parkway, I think it's like the star of all motorcycle roads. Everybody knows it. Everybody tells you to ride it. Everybody tells you that it's fantastic, and it seems to be one of the most famous roads to ride a motorcycle in the USA. (inspirational music) (tranquil music) The Blue Ridge Parkway is known as one of America's most scenic drives and for a good reason.
The Parkway runs from North Carolina to Virginia with 469 miles or 754 kilometers, has over 20 million visitors a year, and is the longest and highest continuous route in the Appalachia region connecting the Great Smoky Mountains with the Shenandoah National Park in Virginia. Initially, I had planned to ride the full length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, but reality of course had different plans. In Little Switzerland, I stayed in the most scenic small hotel, and changed my plan spontaneously when I met two motorcyclists who told me that another great option was to ride to Virginia and a road called the Back of the Dragon. - So this is the start of the second day on the Blue Ridge Parkway and I just talked to these motorcyclists that you can see behind me, not the motorcyclists but you can see their motorcycles, and they gave me a lot of suggestions. It seems like I might not stay on the Blue Ridge Parkway forever but I might head more north to another place they suggested. But stay tuned.
I think it will be a wonderful day. The year before I had ridden the famous Tail of the Dragon, and it felt like I should make my Dragon experience more complete, so I left the Blue Ridge Parkway earlier than expected. (tranquil music) (lively music) Many people who are traveling the East Coast would probably name New York City and the coastal states their highlights. But I was now where I really wanted to be.
I always wanted to visit Virginia and West Virginia because I had never been there before. And when starting to ask around about other travelers' experiences, it turned out that the states are not very frequently visited. And whatever is not a usual tourist route sparks my interest, even though it very soon turned out that some things in West Virginia were not like they seemed to be.
For example, the abandoned Lake Shawnee Amusement Park. - You think it's still haunted? - I think that there's things that happen here that are unusual, so I'm not a paranormal investigator. I don't really know how to do investigations, but what I do know is I get to hang out with people that do investigations, and some of the things that they see ...
it just blows me away. It's very hard to explain. (tranquil music) West Virginia is definitely a secret gem when it comes to motorcycling. Yes, the locals, like Brett, who I met at the biggest fully steerable radio telescope and basically the only place in the whole country that doesn't have cell phone connection to not disturb the sending and receiving signals of the telescope, know this fact. But I was surprised how much I actually liked West Virginia. And I definitely would not do West Virginia any justice if I would not mention that the riding is fantastic.
Even though I actually considered keeping this fact to myself to not attract too many other people to theses awesome roads I encountered in West Virginia. Initially, I had planned to ride a part of the MABDR, the Mid Atlantic Backcountry Discovery Route from here. But unfortunately, the weather turned so bad that I had to let go of this plan due to slippery, muddy roads. - I'm really unlucky with the weather on this trip. It's not nice at all. It's as well not nice for filming because you basically don't see anything when it rains and when it's foggy.
And I can't ride many roads because they're wet. So I have to decide if I stick to the route that I originally wanted to take. But the weather forecast is very bad in this direction or if I maybe choose another route, depending on the weather. It was decision time again. This time, the hardest one of this trip because my decision would decide about different states I would visit, and two completely different experiences. Exploring more states inland and more places I had not visited before or riding back to the coast and New York City to what every traveler of the East Coast probably sees as the place to visit and to go.
You guys might think that there is an advanced plan, that there is a big route planning for my trips beforehand but I have to tell you a secret. There really isn't. - I don't know what to tell you guys. This is another day of unbelievable, horrible rain.
A day that started good because I was in urgent need of a new rear tire, and eventually found one in a lovely motorcycle shop was followed by two days on the Skyline Drive through Shenandoah National Park in horrible rain and cold. So I at one point decided to end my misery, finally really changed my plans, canceled my visit to New York City, and just headed into the direction that promised slightly better weather. - I have never been to this area, and I'm very curious because this is the land and the area of the Amish ,where the Amish people live. And it's so cool.
You already see horse carriages and yeah, everything. I'm very curious to find out more about their life. It was a combination of the weather forecast and the tips that I got from my followers that brought me to Pennsylvania and to the land of the Amish. There are many insights and things I learned about the life of the Amish on this part of the trip.
And I promise, I will share all of them with you in the detailed episode. But the most memorable to me is that the Amish are masters in making sweets. (playful music) Whoopie pies, sweet apple bread, doughnuts with cream filling.
The popular whoopie pie, by the way, was not necessarily my favorite but I can highly recommend to get the apple cinnamon-filled doughnut if you ever get the chance to visit Green Dragon Farmers Market where many Amish sell their products and goods. (motorbike revving) - New York, New York. This is actually not the New York that I planned to visit in the beginning but now I'm here, not in New York City but in the state New York. And maybe that's even better because there is beautiful nature here.
Still following the good weather and the suggestions of the GOT2GO followers, I visited New York State instead of New York City. Only when I was in the middle of the famous Adirondack Mountains I realized that I had been here before, and what a memorable place these roads are for me. (tranquil music) - Guys, this here is called Long Lake and this is such a memorable place for me because I have been here already before on my world trip. And this was the last night on the American continent because from here, I went to Montreal and flew back to Casablanca in Morocco with my bike the next day. And back those days, I traveled on a very tight budget, so I only slept in hostels and in America, in the US I as well camped a lot, and because it was the last night on the road on this continent, I made an exception and took a hotel, and that was this hotel here that you see behind me. Hotel Adirondack.
I was touched by the memories that I connected with this place. And it again felt like the Adirondacks were welcoming me with open arms. (water splashing) A perfect sunny day ended with finding a room at the most perfect accommodation of the whole trip, Elk Lake Lodge, situated right at its own remote lake. (inspirational music) - So I arrived yesterday after a pretty long day of riding at this absolutely stunning place called Elk Lodge.
But on the way happened something that I want to tell you about. I took out my drone to take some drone shots, and all of a sudden, I was surrounded by thousands of small little flies. And I thought it's only flies, they're not gonna bite, they're not like mosquitoes, so I was flying my drone and they were like all around me. And then they flew away. And when I arrived here yesterday, I looked in the mirror and oh my God, I will show you something now that might shock you, but don't be too shocked because these flies, they bit me everywhere. My whole face is completely bitten.
Do you see that? Although Pennsylvania, Vermont and West Virginia have no Atlantic coastline, they are grouped with the eastern seaboard states because of their location in the mid-Atlantic, New England and the old South, and their history. But even though it doesn't have any coastline, visiting Vermont definitely should be on your bucket list and is a must-visit for every East Coast road trip. Why? Because of its pretty roads, because of its unique laid-back and open atmosphere, because of its scenic small towns and because Vermont is a place where it's legitimate to eat tons of ice cream because Vermont is where the ice cream brand Ben & Jerry's was founded and where their factory is. So you have all these flavors that you can choose from and I decided to go for a s'mores flavor that I have never seen anywhere else. It's good. (tranquil music) My trip on the East Coast so far had only one shortcoming.
Due to the places I wanted to see and roads I wanted to ride, like Outer Banks or the Blue Ridge Parkway, I had not ridden a lot of off-road yet, and I was keen on changing this fact in Maine because I had heard about the beautiful forest roads that are mainly used by trucks for forest logging. But it turned out that Maine didn't want to fulfill my dream of an East Coast off-road adventure. - So I'm here at this gravel road now that I actually want to take. I'm not so sure that motorcycles are allowed. The guy that I met this morning said that it's kind of a logging road.
So often you're not allowed to drive them. I think I will just try to head in and see what's going on. And hopefully it's allowed.
(tranquil music) - Oh no, and here we go. That's the sign that I didn't want to see. Not only most forest gravel roads are forbidden to ride with a motorcycle in Maine, it is as well forbidden to ride the gravel roads of Baxter State Park with your bike.
This definitely was a bummer but traveling teaches you to always make the best of each situation. (tranquil music) And I decided to leave the unapproachable forests close to the Canadian border and head to the coast and Bar Harbor instead. (wind blowing) Acadia National Park was making up for all the things that went wrong when I entered Maine. It ranks amongst the top 10 visited national park of the United States and is indeed New England's only national park. It's one of the earliest places in the US to catch the sunrise but actually, most famous for its rugged coastline, mountains and stunning views.
(inspirational music) (water lapping) Acadia might be one of the most famous places in Maine but even more famous is the delicious Maine lobster. The locals compete in making the best lobster rolls of the state and Thurston's Lobster Pond definitely gets some of the highest scores. That was a really delicious lobster roll I had.
I don't know if I'm able to judge since I'm not having lobster roll every day. So if there're any locals here round, let me know what you think of the lobster rolls I just had. I think they were very good. (upbeat music) Boston was the last big stop before the end of my journey and I was not only here for the famous university city but I had a meeting scheduled that I had been looking forward to all my trip.
I met Charles who showed me his fascinating microcar collection. - And it was very much a labor of love and I love barn finds. So we would just take rides up through Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, and if I saw an old barn, I'd knock on the door and speak to the people, and if they weren't home, I often broken into the barn to see what was in there. - And I love taking a car that's been standing for half a century and dragging it home and breathing life into it. It's like reviving a corpse that's gone, and we just bring it back. (upbeat music) - Now I gonna drive this car and Charles dares to drive next to me.
- I may wanna call my insurance company first. - Oh my God. (Charles chuckling) - Here we go. (car revving) Oh, you're a natural.
- I'm a natural? - You're gonna be fine in it. - I have to admit, I have never been sitting inside such an old vehicle. I've only seen them in museums. (Charles chuckling) - [Charles] Isn't it wonderful? - How cool is this? (horn beeping) (Lea chuckling) (horn beeping) (upbeat music) (Charles chuckling) - So now the end is close.
I'm riding to Cape Cod now and basically to the town Provincetown that I'm gonna show you now. But this is basically the end of the trip because I gonna store my motorcycle here at some friends. I will leave it here and I think Cape Cod and the surrounding here with its nice nature and cute towns will be the perfect end of an actually very, very nice trip that I had.
(inspirational music) Imagine there are thousands of kilometers ahead of you. Imagine that there are countless different routes. Which ones will you choose? Maybe sometimes you choose the route where the sun shines. Sometimes it's the route that leads you not to a destination but to people. There are no wrong routes when doing a road trip on the East Coast of the USA, but endless amazing choices you have to take every day.
(upbeat music) Guys, I hope you liked the big kickoff and overview of my East Coast ride of the United States of America. Give this video a thumbs up and comment if you will be a part of the virtual GOT2GO East Coast travel crew. I will show you the first detailed episode of the journey next week and take you to Florida and its coast, including famous Daytona Beach and scenic St. Augustine. See you on the road and GOT2GO. (bike roaring)