July 10, 2013

Virginia Road Kill


In the distance I thought I could hear Highway shouting. The logging truck was inches from my motorcycle, the roar of his diesel engine clogged my ears and I found myself nearly paralyzed. I couldn't figure out where to go.


I muttered to myself in my helmet, "He's going to crush me if I pull forward. . ."

Five minutes earlier we had stopped at the three way intersection about 60 miles into Virginia along Route 661. We expected to find Route 58 at this spot, but the road dead-ended into another road, with no indication of Route 58 being anywhere near.

"I have to check the map," Highway shared as we pulled up to the stop sign.

As we sat on our bikes in the still of the empty road, I noticed the enormous tobacco field lay to my left, highlighted by the setting sun. The aromatic trees all around filled my helmet with a sense of peace as I take in the beauty of yet another new-to-me countryside. Each state seems to have it's own style of roads, bridges, flowers, and dead animals on the side of the road. From the dead rabbits of Arizona, dead snakes of New Mexico, dead skunks of Kansas, dead armadillos of Oklahoma, dead possums of Tennessee and now to dead beavers in Virginia, it has taken my eyes time to identify the splattered remains in each new place. I stared at the dead beaver, swollen, half-squished, bloody and slung on the roadside before me, as I waited for Highway to indicate whether we turn right, left or turn around. For a long, peaceful moment I took in the surroundings and breathed in the gratitude to be alive today and not be that road kill.

While Highway pulled out his phone and struggled to see the screen under the bright sky, I waited patiently, wondering where we were. I saw the logging truck coming behind me, so I started backing my bike up out of the lane as best I could on the tiny, two lane road. I thought for sure he could get around us in the intersection if I just pulled back a little farther.

The faceless trucker pulled beside my left side and started his right turn as I crammed backwards on the deeply slanted pavement. I hadn't realized how much the tiny road sloped into the muddy embankment until I tried to walk Katie back into it. My left foot was doing all of the work, trying to keep her upright, while my right foot was dangling precariously. If I tried to lower my right foot to the ground, I would lose my balance for certain and slide under the oncoming wheels of the logging truck.

Halfway through the turn, blocking all of the lanes on both roads, the truck slowed forward to a stop. His engine roared and blood began to fill my head. Confusion mixed with fear took over as I tried to determine what to do. I knew Highway was behind me, so I felt a sense of security as the truck stopped in the intersection to wait for me to move.


Nothing seemed like a good option. Backing up was only getting me closer to the truck. Pulling forward seemed like I would only be in front of his front wheels or his bumper. Finally, Highway's words began to register above the fear.


I whimpered as I pulled Katie forward and around the corner to the right, the same direction the truck was going. It wasn't until I got about 20 feet from the intersection that I realized I was clear of the truck's path and he could move on. The 2 minutes of terror was over and the frustrated truck rolled by as quickly as he could spraying broken limbs and bark on me.

We soon found our way to Martinsville, realizing Route 58 was only 1/2 mile away down the same road the logging truck had taken. While this may seem like another close call on our Road Pickle trip, I see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Yes, it scared the shit out of me, but thankfully I had escaped being part of the landscape of Virginia Road Kill and I live to ride another day.


  1. Wow, I bet that got the adrenaline going. Glad it worked out well and it was over quickly.

    Roadkill has a whole different scent when on a two wheels doesn't it?

  2. Sash, we kinda touched on this a while back. The fact is, you've gained more working experience in the last two months than many get in years. What you've learned will carry over into new situations yet unknown on down the road.

    But you'll never find the guy who admits to whimpering. We all camouflage that shit behind a manly grimace and a growl... :)

    ... 'course... we always seem to make a stop at wally world shortly after, and seem to walk a lil' funny into the store! ;) and when we leave, fruit of the loom has a lil bit more in the till.


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