Tinker made a comment on my last post. He expressed that his reluctance to ride in bad conditions is based in large part on the other road users. I feel his pain. My work has me on the road a lot. I see things that would blow you away. I think people are getting more stupid all the time.
What makes it worse is that I'm in Oregon. There's two types of people here in our valley. Cowboys and Rednecks. Thank God Grandpa raised me as a Cowboy. However, I still have to deal with the Rednecks. I thought I'd take a minute or two to acquaint you with the type of folks I have to share the road with around here. As in: Welcome to my world!
Winter driving has come to the Valley. Tire stores in other states have been busy as people, despite having waited for the last minute, are buying traction tires and chains. Not here, though. Tire stores are empty. Grocery stores who sell cheap beer have been quite busy, on the other hand. Here's a news clip from the National Bureau of What's Going on with Drivers magazine.
A Winter Statistic
98% OF AMERICANS SAY "OH SHIT !" BEFORE GOING IN THE DITCH ON A SLIPPERY ROAD. THE OTHER 2% ARE FROM OREGON AND THEY SAY, "..HOLD MY BEER AND WATCH THIS !!"
This pretty much falls in line with my own expectations. A Redneck's famous last words?
"Hey, y'all, watch this!"
See how it all fits the pattern? It's funny, but only in a pathetic and sad sort of way.
Once in a while a Redneck hits it big in the lottery. This last person spent some of the money on a new pickup, the official Redneck vehicle. The news people have been telling us to be prepared for the worst in case we get stranded in the snow. This guy took the advice to heart. I have to admit that he is prepared to wait out a snowstorm. Just remember that I'm sharing the road with people like this.
I do have to say that most of the Rednecks are pretty concerned about their pets being out in the cold. Cats, especially, hate the cold. You know how cats are. They are experts at seeking out warm places to sleep. That's why you find cats, and not dogs, under the hoods of recently driven cars and trucks. I was glad to see this cat comfortably settled into the den with its family. I'm also happy to see it drinking light beer. It looks like it's about time!
With Christmas approaching, Rednecks are making preparations. There's shopping, house decorating, and tables to be made festive. We see a few lights on tar shacks. Aside from the fire hazard, Rednecks usually prefer to use more "natural" materials for decorations. With hunting season being not so long ago, opportunities for natural Christmas decorations abound. Like this one, for example. Christmas is a time for Reindeer, isn't it?
The good news is that bundling up for the cold doesn't deter shopping. Rednecks look for bargains like everyone else. Maybe even more so. The baggy clothing and shopping at clearance centers just seems to go hand in hand. Here's a quote from a happy shopper up the hill in Sweet Home.
Duct tape: It's not just for household repairs anymore!
Another problem with driving among Rednecks is that there's a lot of mental distraction going on. Believe it or not, there's a lot of Rednecks that ride motorcycles. There's no time like when driving on snow and dangerously icy conditions to day dream about Spring and a new riding season. Since most Rednecks seem to be a little on the economically challenged side, a lot of planning has to happen. I was almost run off the road by a guy who was scheming for his new ride. He's always wanted a Harley but can't afford to buy one. Why not build one, instead?
We live in timber country. Logging's been a part of the area's heritage forever. I'm sure there's plenty of old lumber laying around. Not to mention some abandoned bicycles strewn among Redneck yards. This guy will be the envy of his peers, I'm sure.
Of course, one mustn't neglect household chores. That lawn needs to be mowed at least once in the coming year. After all, there's always the chance of finding some long forgotten treasure that's been entombed by the out-of-control grass. By the way, has anyone seen Granny, lately?
I was almost greased by a Redneck in a huge truck. He had a faraway look on his face. I had plenty of time to look at his face as his truck bore down on me. I managed to accelerate away but never did figure out if he was thoughtful or just vacant. Giving him the benefit of the doubt, he was probably trying to find a way to combine riding and lawn mowing. Most Rednecks have the standard riding mower.
I could offer more examples, but this should give you the highlights. I certainly mean no insult to anyone. We all need to live and let live. However, I do get kind of upset when people put me in danger on my bike. I know it's my responsibility to keep myself safe and I take that seriously. So I'm not really trying to whine, here. I just wanted to give you a little better idea of the world I have to ride in so much. The Wonderful World of Rednecks!
Miles and smiles,