Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tugboat and Buffalo Stampede

This post was inspired by Tez’s recent posting on her blog: Bonus Spotting of the Things You See Commuting. I wasn’t commuting but I saw some interesting things on my last bike ride that I thought I would share……you can guess what these things were by the title of my post but please allow me to explain.

I took Thursday off of work for a mini-family reunion of a couple of my aunts and uncles and cousins in Norfolk. I was riding there with my cousin’s wife and aunt and uncle from Sioux Falls and they planned to pick me up around 10am. So I thought I would get in an early morning bike ride before we left!

My route took me up Talmo Hill, a descent hill just 4 miles from my house. I've noticed that anytime the local people have given a hill a name, then be forewarned, it is a descent hill. Once I turned north the route continued with a climb broken up with a few rollers, but mainly a climb for about 5 miles. Once I reached a rural water tower in the middle of no-where I knew I had reached the highest elevation in this area! The rest of the ride was a lot of rollers and then a lovely downhill ride with a good west wind to my back for the last 3 miles back home to Wakonda.

The scenery on this ride is beautiful; hills generally make for great scenery. But my “bonus spottings,” as Tez would say, were the tugboat and the buffalo.

This route goes by a graveyard for old combines, farm machinery, and other junk, but front and center is a good sized tugboat rusting in the high prairie grass. The waves of grass blowing in the wind probably give the boat the sense that it is still on the water doing it’s job!

Since I haven’t ridden this route for awhile so I was wondering if I would see the buffalo again and yes I wan't disappointed! I came down a hill and the herd was huddled in the corner of the pasture nearest to the road. As I started riding up the hill that bordered their pasture I looked over at the buffalo and there was a moment when I made direct eye contact with the largest of the herd. The next thing I know they all start stampeding along the fence line! Crazy thoughts are flying through my head; How strong is that fence? Buffalo must not like eye contact? Buffalo like to race cyclists? I was worried about the farm with the dogs, I didn’t think I had to worry about a buffalo attack??? Will dog spray stop a buffalo? I don’t think I have enough dog spray!!!

I am quite sure that was my fastest sprint up a hill. I kept looking over to see if the buffalo were coming through the fence, I’m sure they could’ve if they really wanted to. Eventually I gained speed over the adult buffalo and only the calves continued the race and I started to relax.

It definitely wasn’t a boring ride! Next winter when I'm in spin class the instructor says "sprint like your being chased by a dog!" I'll be thinking to myself "sprint like you're being chased by a herd of buffalo!"

I will definitely ride the route again but next time I’m not going to give any eye contact when I go by the buffalo.


Tez said...

Good thing you were not on roller skates because you can't roller skate in a buffalo heard!

Way cool about the tugboat! Sounds like maybe a good picture spot?

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe there is a tugboat out in the middle of nowhere on the prairie and you didn't pitcherize it???!!!!!!!!