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Obviously, I enjoy riding motorcycles. I refer to it as my cycletherapy, and I must need a lot of it because I do a lot of it. I'll ride almost anywhere in almost any kind of weather, any time of the year (living in South Texas, that isn't saying much). I've slogged through storms in San Antonio, forded floods in Falfurrias, dropped my wife Mary in a mudhole in Mexico (that was real good), but one of my most memorable rides was a windy ride home from Weslaco. I didn't have my camera along with me that day, so you'll just have to cope with the lack of pictures.

I left Corpus Christi that morning last May to make a day trip down to the Rio Grande Valley for work and was headed home in the afternoon. The weather forecast was for strong west winds with gusts 40 to 60 miles per hour. Since I like to ride, I took the bike anyway. Heading home, I remember thinking the forecasters probably underestimated the wind strength. It was the type of west wind that blows out of West Texas and dumps red dust all over every car in the Coastal Bend. All the car washes in town just love those winds.

I headed north on Hwy 77 for the 150-mile ride home from Weslaco to Edinburg and had my bike leaned over so far, my footpeg was touching down occasionally. Everything was fine and I was keeping the bike in my lane, until I raised the visor on my helmet to adjust my glasses and the wind tore the visor right off the helmet. Then it grabbed the opening in my helmet and tried to twist the helmet around sideways on my head. Since I can't see out of the side of my helmet, I rode along, bike leaned into the wind, hunching my shoulders to try to keep the helmet on straight. That didn't work too well.

I finally did what any self-respecting biker would do, pulled off the highway, fished around in my saddlebag and dug out my handy-dandy, adjustable-length bungee cord, hooked one end of it into the opening on my helmet and the other into the luggage rack on the back of the bike, got back on the bike and rode on up the highway with the bike leaned over into the wind and the bungee cord holding my helmet on straight. That worked pretty good. At least for the next 40 miles.

Hwy-77 passes through a good chunk of the King Ranch (one of the largest ranching operations in the world) and there is nothing along the highway for miles but mesquite brush, prickly pear cactus and the scrubby oak trees we have in South Texas. About 5 miles before the immigration checkpoint at Sarita, I rode through a construction zone. Coming up on it, I could see something flapping around in the median of the highway. It was a big piece of that black cloth construction companies use for erosion control and it looked like bad news.

I rode down the right shoulder of the highway, keeping a wary eye on that cloth and, sure enough, just as I came up on it, it came loose and blew across the highway directly at me. I threw up my left arm trying to fend it off and the cloth wrapped itself around my arm and around my helmet, knocking the bungee cord loose. The helmet snapped around sideways in the wind, further wrapping itself up in the cloth and all at once, somebody turned out the lights. I probably looked like a cross between the statue of liberty, with my arm stuck up in the air, and blind justice, but I didn't have a torch or a set of scales.

Though I'm ashamed to admit it, I was screaming like a little girl. I lost control of the motorcycle, bounced across the ditch and slammed into the fence along the side of the road, head on. The impact tossed me over the fence and I wound up flat on my back somewhere in the King Ranch, still all wrapped up in that construction cloth with the wind still howling. (I looked up that cloth on the Internet sometime later. They said it was ageosynthetic woven textile with a grab tensile strength of 200 lbs. I believe every bit of that!) That cloth decided to turn into a parasail , ballooned up in the wind and started dragging me off across the pasture. I did have my mesh jacket on, a set of leather gloves and was wearing work boots so, though I was getting beat to pieces bouncing across the pasture, I wasn't losing too much hide. Everything was gonna be OK.

I finally got my feet under me, stood up, and started reeling in this stupid piece of geosynthetic woven textile so I could finally get unwrapped. It was about then I realized something was stomping around behind me and breathing pretty heavily. I knew it wasn't my wife having a bad day because I'd left her at home. Whatever it was took a run at me and WHAM!, nailed me right in the middle of the back, knocking me tailbone over teakettle. I cartwheeled through the air, smacked into one of those scrubby oak trees and wound up hanging upside down in the tree. My legs were wrapped around a branch. I was holding on to another one with my one free arm and my head was banging against the trunk of the tree in the wind. I found myself wondering, "How come when life throws me a party, I get to be the pinata?"

I finally get myself unwrapped from the cloth, get my helmet screwed around straight and get a look at whatever booted me into next Tuesday. It had to be the scrawniest, ugliest, most beat-up longhorn bull on the King Ranch. It had one broken-off horn, a chewed-up tail and, apparently, not too many brains. It knew I was still in the neighborhood, but couldn't figure out where. Still hanging upside down in the tree, I had an idea: I took that da**ed piece of geosynthetic woven textile and started lowering it down where it was flapping in the wind right in front of that bull's nose and he took the bait. He backed up, snorted, did all the cliche things you see bulls do in bullfights, and took a run at the cloth. I turned loose just as he hit it.

That cloth very obligingly wrapped itself around the bull's horns, decided to do its parasail act again and started dragging the bull off across the pasture in the wind. We both saw it was headed right for what was probably the largest patch of prickly pear cactus in South Texas. The bull put on the brakes. He had both forelegs out in front of him, squatted down on his haunches and was plowing up four furrows of ground. It did no good at all. He got drug right through that patch of cactus. Prickly pear pads went flying everywhere. That bull was screaming like a little girl. He would have been a lot better off if he had gone through that cactus standing up, if you know what I mean.

I laughed so hard I fell out of the tree. Luckily, I was still wearing my helmet, so it didn't do me much further damage. I picked myself up, got myself squared away and headed off upwind, trying to find the fence and my motorcycle. I located the bike and it was still rideable, so I got it back on to the highway, dug around in my saddlebags for my back-up bungee cord (any self-respecting biker always carries at least two bungee cords), hooked it up to my helmet and to the luggage rack on my motorcycle and set off back up the highway.

By the time I got to Kingsville, the wind died down, but that just created another problem. I had worn so much rubber off the left side of my tires that I could only turn left. I wound up riding around in circles in the Kingsville Wal-Mart parking lot and never did make it home.

Mary Christmas Andy Happy New Year!

I was planning to post this the first part of April but couldn't wait.
 

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Great story! We'll forgive the lack of pictures, this time. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Tell us yours!

To give this ride report a little perspective, the story made its public debut a month ago at the Texas State Liars Contest, hosted by the George West Storyfest, where I was trying to defend my title as the Third Biggest Liar in Texas. Unfortunately, this year I didn't even place (competition was tough).

Inspired by a comment on the board about an exaggeration thread, I decided I needed to post the story. I would love to hear your tales. Feel free to add any stories you may have to this thread.

I promise to believe all of them. :YellowWow:
 
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