What is it about riding the back roads that creates such an intimacy with the surroundings? Maybe it's the heightened sense of awareness that's required for this type of riding. The mind is wide open, processing not only the sights, but the rhythms and even the smells of the terrain. In the midst of it all, buildings become architecture, people become folks, and behind everything, a story lurks.
The merits of scouring the back roads are innumerable. The trashy, floodlit world of the interstate crushes personality the way it crushes the land. Homogeneity is the rule and, no matter which state you happen to be in, the bottles and wrappers swirling about the rest stops and service areas merely exchange logos. History is relegated to, "When I was a kid, we used to stop at Stuckey's" or "Remember when they used to call it Esso?" No one can deny the expediency of the four-lane, but it sure is nice when the miles to your exit start hitting single digits.
This is certainly the case today considering the tag-team pounding dished out by freeway joints and the unremitting rain the Weather Channel had so assuredly predicted as "scattered showers." Finally reaching Scranton, Christian peels off the slab and hones in on the first motel. We secure sleeping arrangements and tuck the two MV Agustas as far under the awning as we can. We got a small taste of the capabilities of the F4 1000 and the Brutale, but we're looking forward to a promised clear day tomorrow to really see what these beauties are all about. Our digs here are both spartan and soulless, but at least the rain is on the outside. We immediately begin hanging our wet gear to dry and soon the room resembles a gypsy camp on laundry day. Having had enough of the rain we opt to call a cab, find a hot meal and take the pulse of our host city.