Saturday, October 31, 2015

What’s not to like about west Texas? You gotta love those long lonesome highways:

Rays of sunshine streaming through the growing thunderstorm coming up from the south:

Lighting up the mountains on the far horizon:

It was time to hightail it up to New Mexico. As twilight turned to darkness I came around a corner and my headlights lit up a gray carcass in the middle of my lane. Yikes! I didn’t have time to swerve so just straddled the large freshly dead mule deer in the road. Thump!!! It was laying perpendicular with it’s back towards me and the color blended with the gray pavement making it difficult to see as I came around the corner. In the end my tire tracks went on either side and I whacked my differential and rear bike hauling rack on the torso. Knocked one of the straps holding the bike loose. So I had to pull over and secure the bike. It was a big doe. Scared the begeezus out of me.

But it got better as the night wore on. Around midnight a large buck dashed out from the left hand darkness heading straight across the road towards my left headlight. It happened so fast I barely had time to react, letting off the gas and swerving right. I thought my truck was a goner. It all happened at speed and I barely had time to brace for impact. But at the last moment, the large deer made a course correction and turned 90º just before the white line and threw it’s body into the truck sideways with a loud THUMP!!! that shook the cab. His big body hit the drivers side door and flattened the mirror into the door post. I don’t know how many times you have had a high speed deer slam into your door while you’re driving 60 miles an hour down the highway, but let me tell you, it gets your attention! So I pull over again fully expecting the side of my truck to be caved in. But no. There was hardly any damage. Some slight antler scratches on the roof of the cab and a slight dent on the door post. My mirror had just been folded in but not broken so I re-adjusted it. The main impact had been at the strong point where my lumber rack comes down and bolts to the bed of the truck where it meets the rear door post of the cab. What a lucky break! For me that is. Not so much for the deer. Although he wasn’t laying in the road, so it didn’t kill him. But it was time to pull over and call it a night. No need to tempt more kamikaze deer.


  1. glad you survived the deer attack, haha, reminds me of my first trip through Mexico in the 70's. Luckily some experienced travelers had warned me not to drive at night under any circumstances. Besides the crazy roads, 1ft drops at bridges, the real danger was black cows, sleeping in the road. you absolutely cannot see them. Of course I passed this info on to others and planned my days to arrive somewhere before dark. Met some guys in a van trying to do all of Mexico in a short amount of time. They tod me they drove at night all the time and it was great cuz no traffic.
    Two days later I drove by thier burnt out van on the side of the road with a dead black cow abut 50' in front of it in the ditch. Dont know what happend to the boys, but it couldnt have been good. To this day, I try to never drive at night in the country...
    Hope to pick up your report soon, happy travels. Ron

    1. Hi Ron,

      Good advice. I too nearly ran into a black cow laying in the road in southern Baja Mexico. They like the warmth of the asphalt after the sun sets. Sometimes you get caught out late with no decent place to stop though. The key if you have to ride in the dark for any reason is to slow down to a speed you wouldn't mind smashing into a large animal.

      And during the day when riding in Latin America it can also be helpful to imagine a bus swinging wide around a blind corner in your lane and ride accordingly. It will happen often enough that it pays to favor the right side of the road especially in blind left corners where you are leaning toward the center line.