Went out for my daily ride today in the Driftwood Hill Country area. Started on Hwy 967 but it turned into a real life version of GTA and the old arcade game Frogger. Felt like an action-hero on my Ninja, narrowly escaping the bad guys on what’s supposed to be a Texas ‘backroad.’ Not anymore. This two lane highway is bustling with work trucks, commuters, and dirt trucks speeding by like Transformers and Optimus Prime. They kick up loose rocks that tumble across the asphalt like crap dice.
Started off good. Found that sweet spot in the powerband, ready to hit warp speed like Hans Solo, when Chewbacca stops me and tells me there’s 5-0 haulin ass our way. Black squad car with flashing lights, his tie and arm out the window waving for everyone to slow down. I downshift, perplexed, and stop. Then I see the yellow flags on a white truck behind him. OVERSIZE LOAD. Behind that white truck was an Imperial Starship Destroyer of a ‘house’ from the Great Depression headed right for me. It encompassed the entirety of the highway, both lanes. It was coming at a good clip, too, with no intention of stopping.
Now I had managed to park the Ninja on the 8 inches of shoulder right by the grass. The trucker starts honking at me. I look at the grass. Two more honks. I look at the front porch. He honks again. I settle for a game of chicken. I think I’ll clear the doorstep by 6 inches. If he gets too close, twist the throttle and go BMX into the ditch. But who’s gonna help me pick up my bike and get back on the road. Not these guys.
The house blasts by me with a gust of wind, and he lets off one last, long honk by me. Where’s Dorothy and Toto?
I made it. Not sure what more trucker boy wanted from me. You gotta police escort, a fullback blocking for you waving yellow flags, and the whole damn road. I had inches on the shoulder, and you had a parade of trucks and automobiles following behind you. What more do you want, mate??
I won the game of chicken. I think. I resumed my ride in the country, laughing to myself. I stayed closer to the shoulder bc that’s where I started, and boy was I glad I did. I passed a massive junkyard chain laying in the middle of the road like a silver rattlesnake coiled on the road.
I thought to myself, “Glad I had to stop for that house. What if I had been making a high speed run on my 14r, and not seen that chain? I’m not Ghostrider, (my son’s favorite comic book character). Damn.”
I think we motorcyclists all have those thoughts flash across our minds out on the road. That’s why I pray before every ride.
I end up driving by a ranch with several signs that read ACTIVE HUNTING NO TRESPASSING, and I can’t help but think deer wait for us behind fences like Border Collies or strong safeties waiting for us to pass by so they can time the hit, tackling us down like Ronnie Lott. I pass by Live Oak trees with crosses and colored wreaths, and I can feel my pulse in my temples.
I stop at Hays City Store and take a break. It’s 97 degrees. Those beers on the patio look good, but that’s a no-no. As I take this picture, two ladies in SUVs get too close for comfort backing out, just like that house. Time to go home.