Yesterday, I was riding up the back roads on what used to be a pretty mellow, traffic free ride through Pennsylvania’s woods and farm land in the area of Pine Creek Gorge, “Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon”. The new gas drilling boom seems to have reduced most of our winding country roads to truck routes. Where at one time you could go for a couple miles without seeing anything but the road ahead and the scenery around you, you can now hardly make it to the next turn without a row of five or six trucks blasting past you in the opposing lane, kicking up wind and grit. If you can see it past the trucks though, everything that matters is still there.
I was going at a nice pace, having just crested a hill and on the other side was a PennDot truck, The driver signaled for me to slow down. I did. Around the next twist in the road, I saw a crew of four road workers walking along the shoulder. Just as I passed them, an impressively large deer ran out in front of me from the woods on my left. I can only imagine the workers heard my bike, looked up and saw what they thought would end in a wreck. I was close enough to the deer that I could see every tuft of hair that stuck up from its otherwise smooth coat. I could see its muscles move. With my heart racing, I got to the far left of my lane and the deer kept running. It must have barely made it to the shoulder, still in full stride as I passed. Once I was almost certain from its unflinching run that I wasn’t going to hit it, I was able to really appreciate what an incredible animal it is. I was in awe of it.
What do you do when you come that close? Pull over at the nearest country church and say thanks for road crews and near misses.