|Sep 25, 2015 : I won the deer lottery with my MZ!|
I was returning from a day's ride to Fellowsville on a Friday afternoon. As I was riding home, I was thinking of all the 'motovlogging' channels that are now on Youtube, wondering about all the cool footage I could have had over the years if I had been running video from a helmet cam / Go Pro. I've got over 40,000 miles / 63,000 km on my MZ Baghira after all. You know, like the incident where I ran out of gas half way up the hill on I-79, and simply turned my bike around to then roll down into the gas station at the bottom, without even having to get off my bike and push. That felt really cool. Then how about the time my chain snapped leaving me stranded, exactly 35 miles from home, so AMA paid for the tow in full. Or that time in Pensacola where I forgot to insert the oil plug after checking the oil, and ended up with oil all over my bike, smoking hot and then I went into a panic trying to find the oil plug that was somewhere laying on the highway. Thanks to a motorist who offered to drive me to retrace my route and along with my tiger eyes, I found the plug, so that story had a happy ending. But it would have been cool to have gotten the whole adventure on video!
It had gotten dark by the time I got to US 50 / 250, but since I've ridden that stretch of US 250 a zillion times before, I wasn't too worried. Suddenly after turning a corner, there was a deer, staring right at me in my exact path. A grown fawn, still having its spots and maybe the size of a goat, he didn't even try to get out of the way. Boom! Hit the deer pretty much square on. I heard things break off my bike, plastic shattering, and wow, by an amazing stroke of luck, I didn't go down. In fact it all happened so fast, I didn't even have time to go into panic mode, or time to react and swerve, I hit the deer, and continued to go straight. I didn't even lock up the brakes though I sure was on them! In fact I felt like I could simply continue on and ride home. My bike still handled fine, and my heart wasn't in my throat.
But common sense prevailed, so I did a U turn, hoping to find the deer, and maybe parts of my bike that were no doubt scattered. While backtracking I could find no sign of anything in the pitch dark. My top box had come loose scattering all my tools over the road, so I stopped to pick up what I could. The first obvious thing, my front mudguard had broken off.
I know I shouldn't be parking my bike facing the wrong way, but the camber of the road means my bike won't stay up on its kickstand facing the correct way.
As I was gathering things up from the road, a young fellow in a pick-up stopped to ask if everything was okay. "Yeah, I appear to be fine, but my bike is smashed. I hit a deer. My bike still runs though". He offered to follow me into town and I suggested the Walmart parking lot so that I could get a closer look at the damage. That way, if my bike broke down, we'd be able to get it home in his truck. At least it wasn't leaking any fluids, that was my immediate concern.
As I rode along US 250, it appeared my bike handled fine. the forks or steering didn't seem messed up.
I got to the Walmart okay, and looked over the bike.
Yup, the front fender is definitely gone, and the plastic on the right side all busted up.
And this is about where I felt I hit the deer, pointing to some fur that was still lodged into the forks.
But the main thing is, I'm okay. "I live to fight another day" - a quote I remember from a motovlogger on Youtube. My bike took the hit, in fact I remember the deer brushing a bit agasint my leg but that was all.
I thank the guy in the pick-up for making sure I was okay and still in one piece. I still can't believe I didn't lose control of my bike and then faceplanting into the pavement. I'd probably be still in the hospital if that had happened.
The next day I'll get a closer look at my bike. I am fortunate to have a spare MZ Baghira in the garage which I can use to replace the plastics that got busted. But I will backtrack that section of US 250 to see if I can find any parts of my bike on the road or maybe the wounded deer. But for now I need to get to bed!
The next morning, fortunately I'm not even sore from any bruise, so I guess I'm truly okay. I get on the bike, my first stop is the Saturday morning flea market at the Shinnston Drive-In, probably its last weekend for the year.
You know, I've never actually gone to see a movie at a drive-in. But if I do, I'll go to it on my MZ Baghira. In my case it will be a ride-in. As long as the evening isn't too cold I think I could probably sit on my MZ Baghira outside for 2 hours.
Next, I backtrack to the site of the deer encounter on US 250. No sign of anything, but I sure stopped numerous times every time I spotted a piece of black plastic. There is a lot of trash on the side of highways if you look carefully. The piece of black plastic that caught my eye was part of lawnmower. I kept it, thinking it might actually fit the mower I have at home. So I guess the deer managed to scurry off, I wonder to the extent he is okay.
My next stop is the post office before they close at noon. On the way there I take the route past Junglewood which is just outside of Colfax.
The main street of this development is Tiger Trail.
With Panther Path off of that. My MZ Baghira is the Black Panther. Maybe I need to move there, hah! Other streets there include the Lion's Den and Elephant Walk.
Now onto the post office. That is where I get one final look at my bike, missing the front mudguard. It sure broke cleanly off.
You can see the wounded right side here, MZ emblem intact :-)
And the bit of deer fur lodged in the forks.
And wow, take a look at the crash bars. The right one got bent pretty bad along with the turn signal that got busted.
That was a serious hit to bend it like that. I shudder to think what kind of broken bones I'd have if I had taken that hit, instead of my bike. I still can't believe the miracle of keeping it up and not losing control. Hitting it square on might have been a good thing. Had I tried to swerve, the deer might have knocked me over. God, was I ever so lucky.
Now you may wonder if I in the process of starting an insurance claim. Naah, the residual value of my bike is minimal It's a 2001 after all, so I have forgone comprehensive and collision years ago. My insurance is the spare MZ Baghira I have parked in the garage I can scarf parts off of. So I should be able to make myself whole in short order. A lot easier to fix my MZ than me!
You know the deer thing is really a lottery. You may have a long riding career without touching a deer, or you could get killed by going down hard after hitting a deer at speed. The deer I struck had the famous 'deer in the headlights' look. He froze and didn't try to get out of my way and he was on the road, squarely on my path. There was another off to the right side - I think - it all happened so fast. Yes, of all the years I've been riding I've had a couple close calls with deer, but never an encounter. So, I guess it was just a matter of time, with my odds increasing with all the riding I do in the hills of W.Va. Even the pros have said that avoiding deer is tough because their movement is so unpredictable. I've heard that you can buy deer whistles for your bike to scare away deer but the general consensus is they do not work, and I really doubt it would have made a difference here. And I think hitting a stationary deer is probably better than hitting one on the scurry. I think I'll try to better my odds by avoid riding at night on rural highways as much as possible since deer tend to be out more and of course visibility is much reduced.
I wonder if this should be my cue to finally run video on all my rides. You never know what will come up, which I suppose is the whole adventure of riding a motorcycle.