Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Attack of the U.F.M.

Attack of the U.F.M.

It all started on a sleepy autumn morning. I rode to work early, usually getting up around 4:30 – 4:40 am and left around 5:00 – 5:10 am. Needless to say I’m usually only partially awake at that time in the morning. I don my leathers and head out to the garage.

I opened the garage door and backed Mistress, my V-Star1100 Classic, out and got the rest of my gear on, gloves, face mask, clear riding glasses, and half helmet. I tucked my lunch inside my right saddlebag. It was cold enough outside that I had trouble keeping the glasses from fogging up when I breathed out my nose. I closed the garage door and proceeded to start the bike.

First I turned the ignition key all the way on. I made sure the choke, (fuel enrichment knob), was turned all the way on. Then, I made sure the fuel cut off valve was turned down to the on position remembering that if I do not turn the fuel knob back on, I will not make it out of my neighborhood with out running out of fuel and stalling the bike. Don’t ask me how I know. I pressed the cut of switch to the run position and hit the start button.

Mistress’s 1100 V-Twin roared to life. With the Cobra exhaust, you can bet my neighbors know when I leave in the morning. I slid the fuel enrichment knob, (works like a choke), over to idle her down some and headed carefully out of my driveway onto the dark, damp streets.

It was a cold, dark and foggy Monday morning. I turned out of my neighbor hood and headed eastbound on Cheek Sparger Road. I straightened out from the turn and started to accelerate. Just then, I caught some movement just barely visible at the far reaches of the headlamp and riding lights off the side of the road. At first I didn’t pay to much attention to it, thinking it’s probably just a rabbit on the side of the road hopping around.

Then I noticed the anomaly is headed perpendicularly to my track on the road and will cross right in front of me. That’s when I spotted the glowing white beady eyes of this creature fixated on my Mistress and myself, reflected from the lights. As I got closer I could make out its size. It was larger than an alley cat and more like the size of a small dog. Now I could make out some large teeth and huge fangs in a pointy snout and large whiskers with foam trailing out the corners of its mouth.

Just then I realized what the Unidentified Flying Marsupial was. It was a very angry opossum running at full gallop across the road and headed straight for me. It looked like it was out for blood. For all I knew it could be rabid. I raised the angle on my right wrist and Mistress responded by slowing down some, both of us hoping to throw the attackers timing off. I just new it was going to either try to get up underneath my front tire and knock me off my bike or just jump straight up for a death grip on my throat.

My change in speed to throw off the timing ploy did not work. My next tactic was to aim my V-Star 1100 right at it. Mistress nodded in agreement. The logic in this approach was that, if I tried to hit a moving target, more than likely I would fail. The gargantuan opossum was at a full out run and just fixing to spring at me, its claws glistened in the riding lamps, when its head hit my front tire. It made a hollow thump type sound.

At this point neither one of us could adjust the momentum we had built up. The killer slid underneath the path of the bike. I could feel the rear of the bike lift up as the rear tire ran over the marsupials head. I knew it was its head because if it had been its body the back end of the motorcycle would have bounced up a lot higher.

In a flash it was over. Mistress and I had thwarted a deadly attack from a killer opossum and barely survived. I tried to glance back behind me and saw nothing on the roadway. But it was foggy and dark so I might not have been able to see it. I called my wife when I got to work and asked her if she had seen anything in the road, she leaves for work right after me, she had not. I looked closely again at the scene of the assault on my way home and saw nothing. The Attacker had made a clean get away.

Opossums are the other brown meat and tastes like chicken, I would imagine. Otherwise, they can be just another large, rodent looking, Unidentified Flying Marsupial obstacle in the road. Most of the time, you only get to see them with their little feet sticking up stiffly. Yep, they are just another obstacle you have to watch out for while riding a motorcycle in the Texas suburbs.
What is the moral of this story? Be prepared at any time, any place, and any conditions to react to changes in road conditions or obstacles in your path. Also remember, not all obstacles hold still for you. Sometimes obstacles have a mind of their own.

Ride on,
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