I have published parts one thru five in a PDF file, here.
So now almost broke, tired, annoyed, and seriously wondering if I would be better off just turning around and heading straight home, we meet Mr Ryder again.
We are on a long stretch of highway, just entering the foothills of the Rocky Mountains. There is traffic, but not too much. It seems to come in spurts (normally stacked around RV’s going too damn slow). While we are almost constantly climbing uphill at this point, the road is still fairly straight.
As Mr. Ryder flew past us we all looked at each other with a “WTF?” expression on our faces. Then, we noticed the trucker had hit his brakes – hard. He wasn’t exactly stopping, but he was most certainly slowing down – quickly. I wasn’t feeling good about this, so I slowed way down – almost coming to a halt on the shoulder. One of the guys on a rice-burner flew past us and screamed around the truck – probably doing 70-80 MPH. The truck eased off his brakes and started to accelerate after our friend – we sped up and followed. I stayed about a block back. I wasn’t too concerned – I knew there was no way the truck could catch the bike – but I was concerned enough that I didn’t want to be near it.
The truck was charging up a 10-15 degree incline, and it was accelerating hard. Black smoke billowed from the truck and we could hear the engine was working hard, but the trucker didn’t back down. He was pushing his truck as hard as he could.
Suddenly, another pair of our bikes screamed out to the other lane, and flew past the trucker. Now we were split – three in front of the truck, and eight of us behind it.
Since we knew we could out-run the truck, the others of us in the back motioned to each other that we too would pass. We accelerated as a group, staggered about 50 feet down the road. This was a mistake. Mr. Ryder had enough time to react to us, and he started swerving his truck across two lanes – trying to prevent us from passing. Several bikes made it past him – I didn’t. The six of us left behind the truck backed up a little and regrouped. We decided that we would try passing him again – but two at a time.
At this point we were all doing well over 80 MPH. So to pass the truck quickly we would have to accelerate to about 100 MPH or so. On the bike I own today, 100 MPH doesn’t scare me much – the bike still handles very well at that speed (132 is the fastest I have done on it). But on my 1972 Harley, 100 MPH with that big front fork was just suicidal. The bike was barely controllable at 80. It wouldn’t be stable at 100.
I elected not to be in the first new group to attempt to pass. I decided I liked where I was – the idiot was in front of me, and as long as he was far enough in front of me, I didn’t think he could hurt me.
As we started a long curve to the right, two bikes suddenly dashed off to the left lane, trying to pass the truck before he could react and block him off. And this is when I learned a life-lesson – people will generally take advantage of a situation to benefit themselves – without a lot of regard for their “friends”. It’s a survival thing, I think.
But what happened here surprised me – as two of the bikes screamed into the left lane at close to 100 MPH, two of the other bikes headed directly towards the read of the truck, moving to the right only when they were close enough the trucker couldn’t see them.
The two of us still left behind the truck just looked at each other… neither of us had understood that there was a “plan”. Turns out there wasn’t – the other bikes just reacted. But I felt abandoned. The only two bikes left behind the truck were the largest bike (a big ass Harley that carried as much crap as four other bikes combined), and the only true chopper. The other bike was big, and it was slow. My bike wasn’t big, or slow, but it was also the bike with the most un-roadworthy configuration. We were the stragglers.
(I wrote this a few days ago, and planned to add more to this post – but since I don’t think I’ll get a chance to add more until next week, we’ll call this part five).