Up until a few months ago I didn't have any fond memories of Eastern North Carolina. The unfavorable impressions that I retain spring from long-ago drives to Nags Head on the Outer Banks - dull, dispiriting trips taken in old, mephitic cars packed with battered musical equipment and spent musicians that rumbled through a string of tired towns on one straight road after another. All of that just to play a set or two for a few drunken compliments, maybe enough gas money, and one more night of discomfort on some kind stranger's floor.
The fog of those crazy days has lifted and the late fall forecast shows that I have only a few days of clear skies and pleasant temperatures left to squeeze in this last tour of the year. Although the weather on North Carolina's coastal plain is decidedly milder than it is at this time in the rest of the state, November rains usually guarantee a bone-chilling affair. Nearing Plymouth, the starting point of this scooter sojourn, I'm struck by the thought of how entertaining the drive has been. Granted, upgrades in the highways east of Raleigh have lopped hours off the trip; but still, the scenery isn't nearly as inconsequential as I remember. From a rider's perspective, the area's flat topography doesn't exactly put it on the twisty A-list, but the numerous small roads winding their way into the pine thickets off of Route 64 have a relaxing appeal. Once at the Holiday Inn Express, I back the truck up to a small embankment and quickly offload the Honda Reflex. Even by myself, working the 250cc scoot from its piggyback position proves to be a simple roll-off affair as opposed to the wrestling match I'm used to with heavier bikes.