About Living Off the Slab

Those of us, who seek adventure on the back of a motorcycle, have been forced to develop a love-hate relationship with America’s interstate highway system.

Many of us dread these endless seas of rolling concrete and asphalt so much, that we have come up with a derogatory nickname of sorts, referring to them as "The Slab."

Craig on the highway

However, there is a problem. You see, most of us do not have the time necessary to explore every country lane and back road during our all too brief summer vacations. At some point, in order to get from point A to point B we must venture onto the never ending blacktop.

On the Slab we can travel with greater speed, covering mile after uninterrupted mile. There we have access to fuel, lodging and if we are creative, even good food.

If you have questions, I will be happy to answer them.The interstate highways serve as our nation’s circulatory system, carrying food, products and information throughout our amazing country. We as a nation and we as motorcyclists truly live off the substance provided by the Slab.

However, there is another part of America. One far away for the corporatism and sameness found crammed around our interstate highways. This o ther America runs at a slower pace, down two lane blacktops and oil roads. These are the places where we motorcycle travelers come alive, carving every turn and stopping at every over-look.

These other Americas are scattered throughout the country. In fact, they make up the vast majority of what we call our nation. To find them all you have to do is leave the cities and venture off the major highways—sadly, something fewer and fewer of us seem willing to do.

To me, this dichotomy between the fast paced life found on the Slab and the down to earth world of the back road is a metaphor for the state of our society today. We are addicted to the constant connection and rush of information found on the internet, but at the same time long for the "good old days."

The key—as with most things in life—is to create a balance between our virtual world of computers, cell phones, GPS units and real life. We can use things like Facebook—and this web site—to gather information and to share our adventures, but we should guard against allowing them to become our adventure.

As motorcyclists we can look at the Slab in the same way that we do modern technology. We can use it to supply ourselves with fuel, lodging and to cover great distances, but we must remember to seek those once in a life-time experiences that can only be found by "Living, Off the Slab."

—Craig Ripley


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