There are road hazards and then there are road hazards. Motorcyclists are always dodging potholes, manhole covers, roadkill, rocks, mattresses, plywood, shoes, truck tire remnants, miscellaneous car parts and unidentifiable liquids which may or may not be water and oil. This time of year we have to be cautious of seasonal or less familiar road hazards not so common during the summer. Wet leaves, fallen trees branches, sand, gravel and two hazards that lurk in the shadows waiting to getcha, moss (it does grow on roads around here) and the inevitable black ice.
It is getting near that time of year when every chilly morning, I stroll out to the street in front of my house, with hot coffee in hand, to test the pavement for frost, assess the skies above and gauge the density of the fog before suiting up, rolling the bike out of the garage and heading off to work. I am confident in my decisions but I have on occasion been forced to change my route to work due to an error in judgement. My usual route to work consists of using the less travelled back roads and avoiding the dreaded Highway 34. But the higher traffic and congestion drying the road and the lack of tree shadowing curves actually makes it a somewhat safer alternative than my more pleasant summer route.
But road hazards and debris can also come in many flavors and one example is pumpkin. Yes, a seasonal road hazard we tend to forget is the great pumpkin.
Across the country these fruit are swiped from front porches only to be found the next morning in a horrific jack o' lantern massacre of pumpkin strewn across the pavement, they litter highway and byways this time of year and it is slipperier than snot. My last encounter with this destined pie filling was last year when I rode my bike through what I thought was wet sawdust.
The Willamette Valley is known for farming and a local food processing company transport their goods along rural routes. Unfortunately, every stop, turn and bump in the road causes the trucks to spill their contents, creating just one more obstacle in our path best to avoid. Imagine an open top semi trailer filled to the brim with processed pumpkin sloshing about, this promotes a lot of spillage on the road. Last night during my ride home past the main entrance to the food processing plant, I was reminded of the deceptive pumpkin, along side of the road was a prelude to what was to come as harvest loomed closer.
Beware the Great Pumpkin and have a happy and safe Halloween!!!