On our last dirt ride, while I was standing around having a drink I saw something scuttling across the field. It was a couple hundred yards away so I couldn’t make out what it was. At first I thought it was a dog. But as it skulked closer to us, I realized it was a fox.
It sure was a mangey lookin’ bugger. Even so, it was still cute in an I might have rabies kind of way. I had no idea at the time but apparently Long Island has a booming fox population.
Neigh Baby, Neigh!
Look at this cool guy. Isn’t he cute?
He totally looks like he’s smiling. I think Kenny had just told him that old joke ~ “A horse walks into a bar. The bartender says, why the long face?”
Cool Guy here just might be giving Rockstar Horse a run for his money in the awesome horse department.
Having a motorcycle that can go anywhere really opens you up to seeing parts of the world that are hidden from the road. That is my favorite part of riding the Husky.
If you aren’t familiar with Long Island you might be surprised to find that the eastern end has lots of farms and wineries dotting the landscape. Often during our rides we find ourselves pulled off on the side of the road, peering over a split rail fence at horses or stopping at a farm that has animals in pens or corrals.
One of my favorite stops is Briermier Farms to get a homemade pie to bring home. Mmm… strawberry rhubaaaaarb. Pies fit perfectly in the trunk of the Ural and actually make it home in one piece. Tres handy!
The Ural makes pulling on to any manner of shoulder – grassy, bumpy, muddy so easy I feel spoiled by it. It makes u-turning a speedy breeze, too. You know – for emergency situations like spotting a pen full of teeny goats just dying to be scratched. Or fed phone books and tin cans. I’m pretty sure they’ll take either.
Though Chloe was completely in love with the little goats and a lamb, the itty-bitty calfs stole my heart.
They stole my heart …and tried to steal the snaps off of Chloe’s jacket.
I kid you not – some lady walking behind us said to her kid, “Oh, look at the cute little deers!” Poor kid.
In keeping with the horse’s ass theme – I leave you with this little guy’s sweet patoot. His name is Timmy. I kept trying to talk to him and get him to raise his face to the camera but he wouldn’t look up and didn’t say much, he was… a little… horse.
When I first started riding, one of the sage pieces of advice that I received regarding dealing with animals out on the road was: “if you you can eat it in one sitting, you can ride over it.” Sure appetites may vary, but there’s probably some truth to that.
Tip: Dealing with Chasing Dogs
Don’t kick or swerve towards the dog. Vary your speed by slowing down and speeding up until you can put it safely behind you. This technique keeps the dog unable to estimate where you will be in relation to them.
I’m happy to report that has worked for me when I needed it.
Avoiding Bambi – Deer
Being a NY Metro girl, the biggest animals I usually have to deal with are deer. Such a sweet looking animal can strike terror in your heart when you see them up close and personal on the roadways.
If you see deer signs posted, here’s an idea… heed their warning! Slow down and scan the shoulder as you ride. Deer often move in groups so if you see one, expect to see another.
Be extra mindful during the early morning and at dusk, this is when deer are often active. One good thing to note is that a deer’s eyes will often reflect light to give them away when they aren’t in plain sight. The Blue Ridge Parkway Journeys blog has some good tips for avoiding deer collisions.
Brake for Moose
Moose are huge. If you see moose crossing signs, slow down and keep your eyes open. They won’t necessarily be frightened by the sound of your bike so be prepared to stop. The Heart of New England offers some advice on how to prepare yourself to ride in moose country.
In 2003, I took my first ride to Maine. I can still remember sitting at lunch saying “I hope we get to see a moose.” I wish I knew then that it would put a check mark in the foreshadowing column of my scorecard.
As the dark settled in, Mother Nature unleashed a storm on us as we worked our way across the unlit Kancamagus Highway. I sat tucked behind the anemic headlights of my Ducati 996 following Kenny. With no streetlights helping us along, we rode through the dark rainy night. Suddenly a hulking, dark shape stepped towards the roadway. As Kenny applied his brakes, my wet visor went red with the reflection of his taillight and I saw nothing for a moment. My only thought as I began to brake was ”Oh God, please let it keep moving.’
Luckily, the moose did just that and continued it’s walk across the road. I saw my first moose but it was nothing like I’d planned.
Lions and Tigers and Bears – Oh My!
On a trip through Yellowstone in 2005, Kenny and I used a minivan as cover to get around three ornery looking buffalo that were in the roadway. We did our best to improvise by putting the van between us and them.
Though buffalo appear to be docile and minding their own business doing buffalo things, it’s important to remember they are wild animals; 2,000 pound, unpredictable wild animals. It’s best to keep your distance.
In Sequoia National Park, I nearly peed in my pants after almost hitting a bear. I was entirely unprepared to even see a bear let alone be what felt like a few inches away from one on the bike. That also cured me of “wanting to see a bear.”
And then there was this other time I was riding with Kenny and he swears he saw a Jackalope… but that’s a story for another day.
Let’s hear from you:
Do devices like deer whistles work?
What’s the most biggest and/or most interesting animal you’ve encountered on the road?
Do you have any safety tips to share?
What’s the weirdest animal crossing sign you’ve ever seen? Turtles, Grizzly Bear, etc.
On the road of life you can never completely insulate yourself from danger but you can take steps to minimize your risk.