Tuesday, November 5, 2013
4,000 lb. Bullys...Part One
We were soaring down Chandler Canyon off the West slope of the Warner Mountains, deer hunting season in Modoc County, the only motor traffic we'd encountered were "quad motorcycles". I made a tight right turn over a rickety bridge and Wham! there he stood, the biggest jet black BULL I'd ever seen. He only had time to turn his head and take a step back. I skidded to a stop, (We were on mountain bicycles and we were camped on Plum Creek), but before I could warn my riding partner she made the same bridge crossing and stopped. "What BULL", she asked.
We were discussing "motor bullies" earlier in the day...intentionally, or not, these big truck guys and gals who are reluctant to give a brake (or even a couple of feet of cushion) to us self-propelled types who meekly make our progress down a common roadway. I have been extremely fortunate during a half million miles of cycling throughout North America and around the World to have only been "brushed", by the callous operators of cars and trucks, two or three times.
Surprising and frightening a mighty large bull at the road's edge is another matter entirely. The result could feel very much the same, but being rammed and pummeled by a snorting pure-bred beast could bring our incredible lucky stretch to a very abrupt end. We took a wrong turn, at the next opportunity that presented itself, and therefore added an unplanned hour to our four hour loop.
When we returned to Plum Creek campground we found that we had one camp neighbor, a young man on a motorcycle who was tent camping just above us. We were salty and tired....badly in need of a dip in the creek (no showers at this free campsite). He walked down to our tent and said he'd failed to find a better swimming hole on this stretch of the creek. "So, you don't mind if we take a plunge here." I wondered, out loud. "Go for it, man, you've got to sleep clean."