I had one more day left with the motorcycle and took an extended ride to savor the last moments with my new friend. It’s surprising the connection a man can develop with a vehicle, but I guess it’s because shared experiences build bonds, and this bike and I had traversed many a twisty road, bounced down bumpy trails, zoomed along farm paths, putt-putted through the cobble stone streets of many ancient towns. It had been my magic carpet of sorts as I’d used it to drop into stimulatingly unknown spots in this captivating country. To me, getting far off the beaten path is the best way to get an authentic feel for a place. This little motorcycle had provided a super enjoyable way to do just that. We had dead-ended in farmer’s fields, families’ driveways, and tiny piazzas in front of churches at the top of little hill towns.
I had adopted the attitude that acting like I belonged somewhere was half the battle of being allowed there in the first place. I guess you could say I was adhering to the philosophy that asking forgiveness is easier than obtaining permission. So I would just pull up to an ancient town, watch what the local scooters and motorcycles were doing, and then do likewise. This worked well enough. However, there were times when I could swear I was receiving strange looks from people, as if somehow they knew I didn’t really belong. Thinking that to be impossible I would simply nod and continue on my path, exploring like a Conquistador. Only after several weeks did I notice the huge sticker on the front headlight bezel that read: “RENT ME.”