Monday, December 01, 2008

Cattle cornering!

So I've written about this before. What's the number one determining factor in how fast you should take a corner? It all depends on how far you can see, doesn't it? Or, how fast the bovine road blocks will let you. What the heck?

The blog's been quiet. I've been riding a lot. On the weekend before Thanksgiving I taught a class with my dear friend Al. We're doing it again this coming weekend. That will finally wrap up the training year for the program. I'll have to do a post next week on what kind of folks are taking a motorcycle training class in December. Or what kind of instructors are crazy enough to teach it.

I took some extra days off for the holiday. Part of having some relaxing downtime just has to involve wandering aimlessly through the farm country around us. I can string back roads all day and never see the same stretch of blacktop twice. Yes, it's a blessing to live here.

Coming around a blind corner I was greeted by these four legged speed bumps. Ok, maybe they're more like barricades!

This photo was taken after I had completed the corner. After negotiating the cud-chewing obstacles, I executed a u-turn to take a photo. The cattle weren't visible from where I entered the corner. Fortunately, I actually listen to the stuff I teach about cornering. This day it paid off. As you can see, the cows didn't seem to be much impressed by the bike. They had hardly moved during the whole process. Such is the giddiness brought about by unexpected freedom, I guess!

Backing the camera lense away, it makes me shudder to see the bike headed into a center-punching position with the black cow. I don't even want to think about rolling quickly out of a corner only to hit the cow!

Worried that someone else would hit the cows, I pulled up into the nearby driveway. The only one home was an older woman. She hadn't noticed the escapees. The woman made a call while I tried to get the livestock off the road. They weren't exactly what you would call cooperative. Traffic here is very light which was a great thing under the circumstances.

Before too long a pickup pulled into the drive next to Elvira. I offered to help herd the cattle, being an old farm boy. Of course, my idea was to ride the bike around and sound the horn. These guys thought I should actually help chase the cows. Oh well. Seeing they were outnumbered, or maybe it was the grain bucket, the cows were once again behind a fence. The two guys went to find the escape route. I continued on my ride, the rest of which was pretty uneventful.

There's one thing I do have to say, though. Andy probably never had this usage in mind, but you can actually herd cattle in a Roadcrafter!

Miles and smiles,



fasthair said...

Irondad: Good thing you practice what you preach huh?

Being a farm boy while growing up I’ve seen my fair share of critters in the middle of the road. I was out for a ride this summer and came up on a corner to meet a SUV flashing his lights and making a u-turn. Sure enough around the small bend there stood two calves right snack dab in the middle of the road. The little gray haired lady and the two young men where headed for the road when I came upon the farm house so I just continued on.

It snowed here pretty good over the weekend so it looks like my days riding for the season may be over. It’s been less then 48 hours and I’m already having fits. It’s going to be a long winter… ugh.


Krysta in Milwaukee said...

You do meet up with the most interesting critters. First the snake, now cows... what's next?

Those clean black roads sure look nice. I got about 4" of snow last night; Karl's slighly NW of me and he got closer to 10". We're temporarily sans sidecar, for about another week, so I'm stuck on 4 wheels. : (

Bryce said...

Cows are bad, their excrement much worse and very slippery!
Sheep on the road are just as dumb and they too leave their mark, sory of like a Harley.

Wet slushy conditions here in Ontario
with between 20 to 40 centimetres of snow.

The Goldwing is stored for the duration at least until April.

Maybe it's time to think of a Ural?

Lucky said...

Time to mount a cow-pusher on the front of your bike!

Jeff In NY said...

I try to imagine the unimaginable going into each corner. I'll be sure to add cows to the list :-).

The other item I recently added is to anticipate a patch of roadway to be completely cover curb-to-curb with 1/2" of sand/gravel/salt. We have been well below freezing at night for some time now. So, whenever there is fire truck activity around a fire hydrant the town gives the surrounding road a good coating. I imagine its quite effective at the time of the emergency, but in the morning all the water and emergency vehichles are gone while the 'gravel road' remains.

irondad said...

That's both the up side and down side to our wonderful world. You just never know what's around the next bend.

I'm sorry you're facing a Winter of not riding much. That would probably kill me. It won't help you much, but I'll dedicate a few rides to you!

Thanks for reminding me of the snake. I never knew a snake could look surprised, but now I know!

Check out Dom's blog "Redlegs Rides". I seem to remember an outrigger wheel on a BMW. Just the thing for snow! Unless you have a hack, of course. :) Even at that, one sidecar but two bikes?

So many people having to store bikes for the Winter. I'm going to have to go ride. I'm getting depressed just thinking about it.

I can always count on you for great ideas! Now all I got to do is go rope me a locomotive and rip the front off it! At least it should be easy to "track"!

You bring up a great point. I've seen the ice around fire hydrants. There doesn't have to be a fire, either. Nobody sands around them here. It does seem like the road crews go out and sand every corner they can find, though.

If you expect the worst around a corner with limited sight distance, you'll mostly be pleasantly surprised. Much preferable to the other way to be surprised.

Ride prudently,


Lucky said...

Had a similar situation while riding in Gros Morne National Park on the West coast of Newfoundland, except they weren't cows, just herds and herds of moose. Although almost hunted to extinction 60 years ago, Parks Canada introduced imported moose from the mainland in an effort to rebuild the herd. Guess what: it worked! I've never seen so many moose in my life. Not to mention that because they're protected, they aren't really scared of us humans. So they just mosey-on by when you stop. Impressive beasts, they are.