9/21/19 – Day 18 – Salt Lake City, UT – Tales of the Road Part 3 – Caldwell, ID
This also happened on September 14th, earlier in the day.
With spokes replaced and repaired, we set out from Caldwell the morning of September 14th. Mike escorted me out of town on his bike. Several times he remarked he wished he were going with me, but he had a hospital to run so he couldn’t. But it was Saturday morning so he could ride with me for half a day. He enjoyed outrunning Sunride down hills because Sunride’s regenerative braking system automatically slows the bike as it recharges the battery going downhill. Going uphill I passed him with ease chatting easily while he gasped for breath. We made a pit stop at Marsing, Idaho and were approached by a woman named Paula who inquired about my bike. She said in her younger days she loved biking. She walked with a cane now. She speculated that riding a solar-powered electric bike cross-country would have to be “like heaven.” I told her it was. In truth, I feels like superman gliding along effortlessly peddling. All the joy of passing through the air, feeling the sun, seeing the landscape as it changes at just the right pace, all without getting winded or tired is truly exhilarating.
Out of Marsing we spotted a big white dog in the middle of the road up ahead. The dog was the size of a Saint Bernard but was a different breed. Mike took to the middle of the road converging on the dog allowing me to remain on the shoulder. We both accelerated to get past; but as Mike went past the dog gave chase. We were both going 20 mph but the dog was keeping up. That dog could have easily knocked Mike off his bike or caused him to crash trying to escape. Mike kept yelling loudly “Get back” but the dog did not obey. It was very touch and go. Finally after chasing for a good hundred yards, the dog gave up and faded back.
We reached the top of the hill a few hundred yards from where the dog first appeared. Mike caught his breath and looked back dreading having to go past him again. I thanked him for giving me the advantage in passing the dog. Mike was indeed brave and valorous in taking the risk. We went a few more miles then Mike turned around to head back. I continued on.
I learned later from Mike that indeed the brute was still there in the road waiting. Mike said he came down the hill full speed at 33 mph and made it safely past the big white beast that stepped aside as Mike headed straight toward him. The out-maneuvered dog couldn’t accelerate fast enough to catch up. Mike showed he is both fearless and smart. He outfoxed the bully.
His encounter reminded me of one I had years ago as a paperboy. I rode my bike and sailed newspapers to the front porch of the homes on my route. One house had a white French poodle that hated my guts. That dog stood on the back of a couch and barked so savagely at me I knew if it ever got loose it would try to kill me. One day I had to collect payment from that customer. When she came to the door, the dog burst past her and bit into my Achilles heal.
“Your dog is biting me,” I declared in a slightly alarmed voice.
“No, she doesn’t bite,” was her asinine answer.
“She IS biting me right now!” I exclaimed without reservation.
“Well, what about that. I’ve never seen her do that before,” she said nonchalantly.
She reached down to pick up the dog as it wildly flailed its body side to side fully committed to killing me. This was the chance that dog had longed for. She was making the most of it. I had dots of blood coming through my white socks marking where her sharp teeth penetrated my skin.
At the end of my route that day, I came back the same way I had come instead of my usual way. To my horror the poodle was out in the road and the instant she saw me she made a B-line. There would be no owner to pull her off me this time. Holding my course, instinctively I began peddling as fast as I could to get up speed. As we converged I put my feet up on my handlebars and the dog, heading directly at me, turned sideways at the last second. I could hear her toenails scraping the pavement. She fell on her side and I ran right over the top of her. I glanced back and she was hobbling back to her home. I don’t recall the bitch barking in the window after that.
Sometimes our instincts are our best friend. If I had tried to turn around and run from the dog, she would have easily caught me, latched onto my Achilles, and been there to this day. I wasn’t particularly brave. I didn’t want to hurt the dog. Even after it had all played out I was hoping she wasn’t injured. I can’t take credit for valor or courage because none of that was there. It was just me, the dog, the bike and the road.