First of all, for the record...I like bikes, all kinds, all ages, all sizes. I started riding in 1970 on a 600cc Norton and now I've moved up to a 1974 GT750. Oh, there were some bikes in
between....Hondas, Triumphs, Harleys, etc.
I took a break for a long while so that I could help raise my kids "responsibly". But, go figure, my oldest son got into bikes. In fact, he graduated from MMI (Motorcycle Mechanics
Institute in Phoenix)last year. So he's out working at the Grand Canyon as a mechanic and I'm in Northwestern PA. I'd say he's got the better weather....
He's also a sport biker (CBR600R3) and I like cruisers. Small matter of style....he likes the high range of the tach, I'll take the mid-range. But I got a chance to ride his bike some when
I went out there for a while. It was awesome, the roads were wide open, the weather beautiful, the sun was just about to set, and I was really starting to relax and feel comfortable when
this house on 4 legs started to amble across the road in front of me.
They call it an Elk, I call it a "Gawd, don't let me run into that thing!"
But back to my bike..... I missed the two-cycles in my formative years of biking. So it's been really fun to have this Water Buffalo
and fill in some gaps. I'll admit that the weight and height issue has given me some problems, but this bike is fun. My bike has a
fairing and I love to night-cruise. This particular night, I was riding home from work with a quick stop at the corner QuickFill to
pick up a gallon of milk. No knapsack or saddle bags so I just stuff it between my jacket and shirt right where my pot belly would be if I had one.
There's several nice spots on this route where you can pick up some nice speed. This particular spot is right before I get on my
dirt road, still on pavement, a nice, long, shallow descent before a quick, steep ascent and I love to hit that hill with some velocity behind me.
I didn't really push it that night. Something about the scenery, the full moon on the landscape, I don't know, I just wasn't in any
hurry. And then, I catch a glimpse off to the left, in the weeds....and sub-consciously, I'm off the throttle and pulling levers. Another split second and I see this deer jump out of the
weeds onto the side of the road. At this point, the adrenaline gates open up and a nanosecond of a prayer that the deer jumps back into the weeds.
In the next split second, he takes one more leap and thud, it's Mr. Buck meet Mr. Water Buffalo. I must've shut my eyes at that point because
my next perception is the left side of my helmet whacking the pavement hard and then hearing some piece of plastic rolling across the road. Its
my rear turn signal lens. I sit up and rip my helmet off, realize my left shoulder hurts like h@ll, and I gotta find my turn signal lens. OK, get off
the road in case someone didn't see all this and is barrelling down on my skinny little butt. On the side of the road I pick up my turn signal lens,
take the STILL full gallon of milk from under my jacket, and look for the bike.
There it is, about 25 feet in front of me, lights still on, engine running. I walk up over, turn off the lights, shut it down and there, about 10
feet directly in front of the bike, is the carcass of a ten point buck in velvet, dead before it hit the ground.
By this time, someone had stopped and helped me get the bike up. Quick survey of the damage....crash bar, left side bent back at a 45 degree angle, no mirrors left, and the front fender is buckled and
driven right down into the tire.
Well, I'm not leaving my bike here....
Someone has a hatchet and while I'm busy prying the fender off the tire, I tell them to drag the deer off the road. I get the fender off the tire, fire that beast up, hit my lights and tell someone else to
follow me home.
And grab the milk and turn signal lens, please.
In the days that follow, I replace the mirrors, get another fender from a bike graveyard, pull off the crash bar, and braze the turn signal back onto the stud. My leather jacket is a mess. I leave the scuff
marks and the dent in my gas tank from the deer's head alone. They're like battle scars.
A week later, while I'm still rubbin' my intensely sore left shoulder, I start thinking about who came up the best here. The bike is ready to roll, I'm not. The deer is still on the side of the road, bloated up
like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day ballon.
The ol' Water Buffalo clearly won.
I wonder how it would do against an elk?