The Forbidden Zone – New Jersey

This is not Liberty Park

                        This is not Liberty State Park!” 

When I first started riding Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Delaware a few short years ago my idea of riding was going to the Hooters in New Castle, DE for Bike Night. During my second season of riding I was introduced to the concept of day trips and back roads after joining the local HOG chapter here in northern Delaware: First State Chapter. A few of the initial day trips I went on ventured into New Jersey. Those trips mainly visited Wild Wood, Cape May and Atlantic City… otherwise known as the Jersey Shore.

Riding was still new to me back then. I followed my HOG Chapter to many places and it was always an adventure… because I was a newbie. We traveled throughout the tri-state region of Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania. The Delmarva Peninsula and Chesapeake Bay are now familiar stomping grounds. Lancaster and York, Pennsylvania have also become familiar. Sometimes we travel north of Philly to the quaint little town of New Hope, Pennsylvania on the banks of the Delaware River. For some reason we stopped traveling into New Jersey. Our rides into Jersey have become limited to the dreadful dash up the Jersey Turnpike to Fort Lee where we hop onto the scenic Palisades Parkway which leads to New York, Connecticut and the rest of New England.

NJ Turnpike

Due to a series of events the sense of ADVENTURE has eluded me this summer. For emotional and financial reasons I stayed in familiar territory following my HOG Chapter on local excursions. Please don’t get me wrong, these are enjoyable trips of respectable distances and I love riding with First State. These are not short rides; we put a lot of miles on the motorcycles this summer. We can ride all day and come home well after sunset with a million or so dead bugs stuck to the front of our helmets and bikes. But now I find myself wanting to break that routine. I want to get on the motorcycles with Diana and head into unchartered territory with no Road Captain to follow. I want to get lost. I need to get lost. I need things to be new and exciting again without the safety net of following someone who knows where they are going. Where can I get lost?

Sometimes we joke that our Road Captains must be wanted in New Jersey for criminal acts because we don’t cross the border. It’s strange because our sponsoring Harley-Davidson dealer is at the foot of the Delaware Memorial Bridge a stone’s throw from the Delaware River that separates Delaware from New Jersey. We even have a few members in First State from the Garden State. They joke that they belong to our chapter because there is nowhere to ride in Jersey. Most of New Jersey does seem to be congested with urban sprawl. Are there any back roads in New Jersey? Are the only two roads that can take you through the state the NJ Turnpike and the Garden State Parkway both of which are pretty scary?

cranes

             “The other Newark” 

There it is… the ominous New Jersey state border. What lurks on the other side of the Delaware River besides airports, factories, cities and super highways? It reminds me of the border to The Forbidden Zone in the Planet of the Apes. On this side of the river lies familiar territory with many great undiscovered roads to find, but I won’t get lost. On the other side of the river lies the call of adventure.

I’m fortunate that my spouse loves this sport also. We can get lost together, make some memories and have some adventures. Off to New Jersey we go! Don’t give us any hints… we want to get lost. This is about the adventure of going where you don’t know where you are going.