Saturday, May 29, 2010

Wildlife excitement

If you've read more than three things I've written, you've probably "heard" me say that you can't have a good story without adversity. Some days you don't want a good story. Some days you just want life without any bumps or sharp turns. If you take off an hour on each end of my day today, you'd have one of those vanilla days.

After a pleasant but sluggish morning at the KOA, I got on the road around 10:30 (9:30 in my home time zone). It was really windy, but I was ready to tough it out with the big trucks. I wasn't on the road 5 miles when a big bug came whipping across the port bow and lodged between my helmet strap and my face. No big deal, until about 5 seconds later when I realized it was a bee. Now it's 80 mph with extreme wind gusts, 18 wheelers, and me trying desperately to unwedge the stinging insect. Another reason why helmet laws suck. But seeing as how my badass self was cruising along with my ape hangers, no windshield, and minimal belongings, I felt it was my duty to forge ahead and not pull off at the rest area I was approaching. I managed to suck it up, and within an hour the pain was mostly gone.

I had another badass moment at lunch when I shared a parking lot with a couple of Geezer Glides. One of them was a Duracell with a trailer that was bigger than my car. I noticed two helmets with microphones attached. Please tell me what could be so important and so difficult to discuss while you're sitting right next to each other on a motorcycle that you actually require radio communication. I don't know about you, but I prefer to limit conversations to "I have to pee," which can be yelled across the lane to the other motorcyclist when that level of desperation had been reached. Sitting on the same bike? You need a radio? Really?

We were all ready to go at the same time, and as usual, the motorcycle enthusiasts were curious. Alone? Yes. Where from? Colorado. Where are you going? Uhhh, kinda wherever I end up, but initially New Hampshire. Why are you going east? That is a legitimate question, and checking out my new first grandbaby is a good answer. The copper top's passenger was worried about my safety. I assured her I'd done it before and thanked her. As I wandered back into the truck stop, I heard one of the guys say, "A 40 mph crosswind and no windshield. She has more balls than us." I wouldn't say that, but I found it quite amusing, especially since I am making the effort to go rogue on this trip.

Even funnier is that I'd had enough of the wind and the stupid helmet yanking my head around like a marionette, and within the hour I decided to bag I-80 and head down to Kansas on a smaller road. The reason I did that instead of toughing it out is because I have this map on my Biker or Not page that shows all the states I've ridden in, and I have four big empty white spots  indicating Kansas, Missouri, Iowa and Kentucky as places I've never been on two wheels. I figured I could swing down and take out Kansas and Missouri before heading back north to Iowa. It was only like half an inch on the map on my cell phone. No big deal. It was a beautiful, serene ride, but by the time I finally reached Missouri, I decided it might help if I have a real map for the trip.

I started heading north on I-35 to get back on my route in Iowa. While on the back road detour, I decided I'd prefer to take more back roads than Interstate, so while I was headed back north, it was not to get back on 80, but to pick up US34 for some west to east action. However, it had been a long day, and by the time I was nearing Iowa, the sun was going down, and I was ready to stop. I was searching for campground signs and finally saw a dilapidated set of painted boards indicating an RV park at the next exit.

I got off, hoping the park was still there. A sign said to turn left then head north 5 miles on US 69. The setting sun was creating a beautiful glow, so I decided to try and take a picture. I need to interject that ape hangers are really cool because you can fit so much shit between your headlight and the tops of the bars. I felt like Bullwinkle yesterday when I magically pulled a long forgotten camera tripod out of my saddlebag that I could velcro to the top of my bars. I had strategically looped the camera strap around the bar before securing the camera to the tripod, thinking about the time I so gracefully dropped my previous camera in the cup of coffee I was holding with the other hand. So anyway... I got the camera upright and turned on and was fiddling with it while riding about 60 down this back road. Out of the corner of my right eye I saw two deer hauling ass over the grassy bank beside me. I go for the brake and the clutch as the forward deer hits the road about 20 feet in front of me. I was sure the closer deer was going to take me out. Then she pulled a yard sale in the ditch. Totally wiped out - disappeared from view in the deep grass. I probably would have found it incredibly amusing if I wasn't in the middle of a severe adrenaline rush. And wouldn't you know, I didn't get a picture of the deer on the road in front of me. Some badass I am.

The RV park was a bust. I'm now at a flea bag motel just over the border in Iowa. I made about 500 mles today. Not bad, but not great. If I'd have stayed on I-80 I probably would have done more, but I'd probably be nursing a stiff neck too.


Anonymous said...

bugs and helmets suck!!!!! glad your not all swelled up from the hit!!! hope the fleabag has a decent shower......hope ya get to texas..........

Gail Hunter said...

Would deer whistles on your apes help keep you clear of unwanted fauna?

Abby said...

I've heard of people with the whistles that still have deer issues. It's hard to tell if anyone has had success, since the deer don't come out and say, "Dude, I would have run right out in front of you if it weren't for that whistle."

Chuck, I'll be there!

Farmer Jim said...

You'll probably be through Ohio by this weekend, but if you're in the area Ohio Bike Week kicks off in Sandusky this Friday. We'll be calling East Harbor State Park home for the weekend.