Saturday, November 22, 2008

Roadtrip in search of Royal Enfield roads

The opportunity to drive from Florida to Washington, D.C. inspired me to watch for roads appropriate for my Royal Enfield Bullet. I was in my car, of a course, and a good thing too, since the East Coast experienced unseasonably cold temperatures this week.

There was good news and bad. The good news was that even though I deliberately drove at Bullet friendly speeds for long stretches, other traffic didn't seem bothered. Other drivers just flowed around me.

The bad news is that the stoplight hell of chain stores and fast-food franchises spans entire states. In Central Florida, where I supposed there would be only blue highways free of development, a series of "golf villages" has sprouted, spawning visual monotony and maddening traffic.

When I did get far enough afield to be alone on the road, services vanished. The Low Fuel Warning light became a constant companion. I stopped at what looked like a charming mom-and-pop motel for the night and stepped into a room dirtier and more depressing than any I found in a trip through Morocco 30-plus years ago. No wonder people prefer the brand name places along the interstate.

The cafes and restaurants I passed on the side roads were usually boarded up and dark. But I could have eaten the identical nationally advertised meal at any of a half-dozen chain establishments at every freeway overpass. What a strange land we have become: you can travel yet never experience anything unfamiliar no matter how far you go.

At least we can change the vehicle. Next time, I'll take the bike.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous11/24/2008

    What happened to those travel books for motorists that revealed all the favorite local diners and cafes, etc.? I am all for getting off the Interstate, but I have become cautious in my old age.


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