2014 is Here!
The snow still piles up here at Sundance and as you read this months letter. Glenda and I have just recently returned from a fabulous ride with awesome guests around the South Island of New Zealand. We followed this opportunity with the blessing of spending a week in Maui, Hawaii with all of our children and grandchildren. We are now attending the Crown Council Annual Event in Dallas, Texas and soon after our return from Dallas we are off to the Dominican Republic for teaching, learning, growing and serving together and, best of all, hosting together another special group of Smiles for Life volunteers during the first ten days of March. Oh how I love the rest and relaxation of retirement on the back nine of my life. On our return from the Dominican it will be time to dust off the Iron Horse because Spring will be just around the corner.
2014 is here and well on its way. Now is the time to book your 2014 ride. Just do it! We would love to serve you! Our June ride up the Pacific Coast Highway to Victoria, British Columbia, and then across Southern British Columbia then back to Utah through Idaho, Montana and Wyoming has just two more spots left. Our August ride to benefit Smiles for Life is sold out. Our July ride with Gordon and Rella Christensen is filling fast with just a few spots left. Our final ride of the season around the Grand Circle in September has several couples already registered but space still available. It is going to be a great season here at Learning Curves and in the Hammond Family we are all excited to have the blessing of serving you. Now is the time to go online and print your registration form and fax it to Angel or email her for more information. We love our returning riders and we are always blessed to have the opportunity to make new friends as we ride side by side.
Why do we do this? Two reasons! First, to raise funds to support our family humanitarian foundation. Second, to be able to serve together as a family serving you.
Be safe and we hope to see you around the next CURVE.
In case you have forgotten, it is now February. In case you have forgotten, February holds a very special day and it is not President’s Day that I refer too.
If I forget Valentine’s Day, I can plan on spending time in the Tree House. That is one step better than the Dog House because it has a bed and is bigger than the Dog House. The Tree House was my hobby project last summer, but I don’t want to stay in it during February when I have to tunnel through the snow to get there and where there is no heat.
So, I have my dinner reservations all set and the flowers ordered and the day has a big red heart drawn around it on my calendar. My DEAR Glenda will not be forgotten.
Now to the subject at hand. I want to share some thoughts about deer.
During our Grand Circle ride last October, one of my very favorite couples hit a DEER with their bike. They maneuvered this risky situation perfectly! This has brought to my mind several things about deer, their habits and their dangers to us as riders. My hope is to share some of my thoughts based on my experience as a hunter and a rider related to deer.
Deer are very social. They like to hang out in groups, especially the does and fawns. The fawns want to stay close to their mothers. The mothers want to stay close to their young, especially during the first year after birth. Often times a single deer will do whatever it takes, against all odds to stay with the group especially when a mother and her young have become separated. In the fall of the year, September, October, and November, deer often form very large groups of does and fawns. The males then enter the group as mating season begins. Until that time, the males normally stay separate especially after they are one or two years old.
So, what does all this have to do with riding and safely and risk?
- No matter what time of day, I always focus my peripheral vision to the road sides looking for wildlife on the roadside waiting to cross. I’m always looking well ahead, always.
- Wildlife is most active early morning and late evening and at night. Except in an emergency, I do not ride at night and I avoid early and late in the day.
- If I come upon a group of deer and some of the group cross the road, I totally assume that at just the wrong moment, as I approach, one or two or more of the group will cross against all odds right in front of me. It is almost certain that if a mother and her young end up on opposite sides of the road that one of them are going to make the move to be together again at just the wrong moment as I approach.
- When I first see deer on the side of the road, I want to slow as rapidly as possible keeping my bike in a straight line. If all of the deer don’t clear the area near the road before I reach that location, I want to stop and wait, if at all possible, until they do.
- If the deer encounter a cliff or very large fence that they cannot negotiate after they cross the road, they may very well turn and come back across the road if that is their only escape route.
The Bottom Line
- Expect the unexpected from any wildlife and from cattle. Slow down or stop if you have any question as to whether the risk factor has cleared.
- If against all odds, the unexpected happens and there is an animal in your path, slow as much as possible, as quick as possible. Your ABS system should come into play.
- Do not lay the bike down. You may have heard people say to lay the bike down to avoid a crash. I don’t agree. If you are going to hit a deer, continue to try to slow and keep the bike up, rubber side down.
- If it is a small animal, do not try to swerve around it. I feel you are more likely to lose control than if you just stabilize your bike and ride straight across the animal.
- Of course, if you have slowed completely and you are in complete control, you would want to steer around a large animal if you are not able to come to a complete stop before you reach it.
My special friends from Dallas did it all correctly. They slowed from 60 mph to about 25, hit the deer broadside and were able to keep the bike up for a short time after and then finally in the end lost control, but at a very slow speed. They were not seriously hurt. We were able to make the bike rideable, tested it for safely and then with a smile and a special spirit of doing whatever it takes, this special couple continued and completed the ride. These are my kind of people.
- Keep your distance and stay clear of the DEER especially at night.
- Minimize your distance and stay near to your DEAR especially at night.
PS Remember February 14th—do whatever it takes to stay out of the Dog House (or Tree House).