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Full Report: Day 27-30, Oct 16-19: Clarks Summit, PA – New York, NY

Day total: 134 miles
Trip total:  7842 miles

Today is the day. The day that I will complete my 12.500km journey through the entire country. The day that I will ride into New York City. The epic conclusion of my trip. My final destination. This is it.

I am up early. I am curious. I am eager. I am nervous. I am sad. I am happy. I am restless. I am every possible emotion. I feel victorious for completing the journey. I feel sad that it is over. Tomorrow, I won’t wake up anymore to find out what is beyond the horizon. To ride endless roads in the middle of nowhere. It is mixed feelings all morning.

The route I had planned was about 200 miles long today, taking me through some nice scenery in Pennsylvania before reaching New York City. But, I threw that plan down the drain immediately. First thing I did in the morning. Why? I felt like an athlete, running a marathon. At the end of the race, they often find the energy and speed to do a little sprint towards the finish. I had the desire for that sprint to. I was going to get to New York City today, and I wanted to do it as fast as possible. To hell with my beautiful scenic route. Straight to New York City it was!

The mixed feelings I had, started to disappear when I saw the first road signs mentioning New York on the freeways. My sadness that it was over vanished. Excitement took over. Even the fact that I had to put on my yellow safetyvest didn’t change that. The closer you get to New York, the more the people drive like maniacs…

I came closer and closer. It was one huge urban area. Roads, buildings, factories, houses… It was a good sign. I knew I was closing in on my destination. That was confirmed by seeing the Empire State Building on the horizon. And the New York Giants Stadium. I was almost there… I could smell it…

After a little while, all there was in-between Manhattan and me was the Hudson River. Of course, I had to cross it by taking the Holland Tunnel. I guess there was no escaping from my home country; unfortunately. I was politely asked if I was filming by the man in the tollbooth. If I was, I could get in trouble in the tunnel he said, police would get after me… Something to do with terrorist threat. Right. I didn’t really believe that, but to be sure I still put it down. A tunnel is boring anyway to film.

I paid the $11 to get through (ridiculous amount for short little tunnel). I got in, and I got out in no-time. And there it was… The east side of the tunnel drops you right into Lower Manhattan. I was right in the middle of true city life. High buildings, tons of people, crowded traffic lanes. Coffee shops, clothing stores, 7/11’s, copy shops… It is like taking your blindfold off in the middle of a huge metropolis; that’s how it felt coming out of that tunnel. Welcome to New York City.

Along the way, I was suddenly approached by a police officer. As she walked over, I was thinking: what the hell did I possibly do wrong? I couldn’t think of anything… There she was. “Is that a GoPro camera on your helmet?”. Ha! Was I worried for nothing! She told me that those were so awesome and that her photographer at her wedding used it as well… “It are such nifty little cameras!”. Ha, tell me something I don’t know yet!

By the way, thank God or whatever makes you happy for having my Garmin Zumo 550 navigation system… It got me without any trouble towards the Brooklyn Bridge. There, on the other side, lies the official end of USA2011. As I entered the bridge I couldn’t stop looking around me. This is what you see in so many movies. What everyone knows from TV and the internet. What you see on 10.000 cliché pictures of New York. But boy I enjoyed it! Despite the fact that it is a terrible old bridge with about the worst road condition I encountered on my entire trip…

On the other end, in Brooklyn, was my final destination. There it was. Just below the Brooklyn Bridge, where I could take a picture of the bridge together with the skyline with my bike in front of it all. Unfortunately, it was a pedestrian area. No way my bike was allowed there. I noticed a police van on the road next to it and didn’t hesitate a second; I went straight up to them and asked. Turned out that they were motorbike fanatics as well, and one of them had, and I quote, “always dreamed of such a cross country trip”. They were totally enthusiastic about my journey, and were happy to let me ride onto that pedestrian area to do whatever I wanted. “How can we say no to that?”. Thanks to the New York Police Department, it all ended as I had envisioned it.

I rode the last 50 official meters of my cross country trip. 40… 30… 20… 10… 5… I parked it at the end of the pier. It was perfect. With the switch of my key, the engine of the Trophy came to an end. I looked around me. The bridge. The skyline. It was all there. Exactly what I had in mind. I took off my helmet and looked around. I made it. Wow. This is it. From Santa Monica to New York City. 12.500 kilometers. 20 States. 30 days. USA2011 had officially ended.

Now, it was time to enjoy New York City for a couple of days. Relax and enjoy. Times Square, Wall Street, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty… I was up for a good time!

Before I had to fly home, I had to sell the motorcycle as well. And you never believe this: it was bought by someone with the intention to buy a bike to go across the country to… Los Angeles! The Trophy lived up to its promises, and got me here safe and sound. Didn’t hesitate a single second and accompanied me all the way without any problem. Sure, I did have a flat tire, ran out of gas, and had a dead battery, but nothing major. What a bike. My 1996 Triumph Trophy… Besides the hundreds of pictures, hours of video, countless memories of all the great moments, the best souvenir I have from this trip, is the license plate of the bike… Yes, USA2011 was over, but the memories will live on forever. Thank you America!

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