Saturday, May 10, 2014

Are you still on Day Two?

For those of you who have never done so, let me tell you about driving in Pennsylvania.  The official minimum speed limit, irrespective of location, is 65 mph. If the posted speed limit is 65, then one is expected to do no less than 70 - and preferably 75 mph: a 70 posting gives you the option of no less than 80, and up to 85 mph. In addition, one is expected to stay no more than 20 feet from the vehicle in front of you.

Now, if you have not travelled on PA Route 209 from say, Milford, down through Dingman's Ferry and on passed Bushkill, then stop reading, jump on your ride and get going.  It is a fantastic road: Narrow, single lane in each direction, with a painted double yellow line down the center and no room to stop on the shoulder, not to mention any side roads.  Just you, and the forest and the sunlight filtering down, and the occasional opposite going traffic.  Ideal.

With a speed limit of 55 mph, it is the quintessential two-wheel go-way.  Of course, some folks clearly use 209 as a means of getting to work, and their rubbernecking days have long gone by the board, which resulted – as I did a swivel-necked 55 mph down the road, in my developing a convoy.  Indeed, at first it was just one car behind me - at the requisite 20-feet.  But, within 10 minutes I had me a convoy of at least 3,000 cars.  (Okay, maybe it was only 15 or so, but it sure FELT like there were 3,000 cars all strung-out behind and all looking for my scalp.  So, I cranked in the throttle and brought her up to 65 or so).

Now, I've always noticed that Pennsylvania has been blessed with an abundance of wild life.  Especially deer: dead deer, and that morning PA Route 209 seemed to be exceptionally blessed.

To paraphrase...  Dead deer to the right of me, Dead deer to the left, so into the jaws, and the mouth of, I rode at 65 – followed by at least 3,000 cars, all of whom are waiting to see who blinks first: me, or the deer.

Now, one could be forgiven if one was not quite at ease hurtling, wild-eyed and swivel-headed  down a no-shoulder, no-escape single-lane highway which is festooned with hoofed legs, here, and antlers there – along with enough body parts to make Macbeth's witches jump for joy.

Suddenly, up ahead there appeared a huge yellow sign, replete with big traffic-light size lights.  The sign read: Caution! Deer area!  I remembered reading about them.  Theoretically, they are geared to deer movement and are designed to help reduce animal strikes, which brought a very unsettling thought to mind: If the surrounding area was an indication of the light's success, then the lights weren't working very well.

Suddenly, the lights began to flash frantically, and with bulging eyes and swiveling head, I searched for the little beastie.  Nothing.  Ahead was another light, and I could see yet a third far ahead.  As I approached the second light, it too began flashing violently.  Again, I swiveled and scanned and again... nothing.  So now the thought occurred to me that perhaps the lights flashed when I approached, rather than if deer were encroaching upon my territory.  But that made no sense: Deer can't read signs, and surely they can't comprehend what flashing yellow lights mean.  On the other hand, why flash lights at me as I near?  I know there are deers in the area.  What I want to know is where in the area are they hiding out?  As I sat there muddling through this conundrum, the woodlands suddenly fell away, the road opened up, the threat of instant annihilation disappeared, and it was time to call my friend, Denny Madule.

Denny lives in PA and graciously offered to guide me through Harrisburg and onto the correct southbound road.  He answered the phone promptly, immediately knew where I was located, and gave me directions on how to reach our meeting place.  Now, one of the aftereffects of my Cancer Treatment is that I have a constant ringing in my ears, so sometimes I'm not sure if what I heard, is what I heard, so I asked Denny to repeat the name of the meeting place.  Which he did, and I felt a great weight lift off my chest.  I was not only out of the wilderness, I was heading to the top of the heap.

"I'll meet you at the Sheik's."  At the Sheik's?  How upscale can you get?  "You can't miss it.  It's right after the Harley-Davidson dealership."  After the what?  Wow!  Harley-Davidson and the Sheik's place right next door to each other.  How good can it get?

I twisted that right hand.  Can't wait to relax under a canopy at the Sheik's sipping some Turkish coffee while looking over at the H-D joint watching the wheels roll by.


  1. Oh dear, that is a lot of deer. So glad you didn't happen to meet any of them.

    1. Not on this stretch. But on the way home going through another wilderness area - at night - one jumped across the road in the space between me and the car I was following. Makes your heart go pitty-pat, I'll tell ya.

  2. Mike:

    Well, did you make it to the Sheik's ? Did you have a coffee or did you go next door to the HD dealership and sit on a Harley ? I hear that Harleys have loud, deer repelling exhausts

    A weekend photographer or Riding the Wet Coast

    1. Ah Ha! I've got your attention. Now, let me tell you about a bridge that just came up for sale. It's a beauty - done in a Rococo Style.....
      Actually, Bob, more to come today.... Stay tuned.