Small Bikes, Big Dogs and Gravel Roads

We were at the Maine camp and had an hour to kill before dinner and a Zoom meeting at 7:00 PM.   J suggested we take a ride on the 250 Rebel to check out some new back roads. She picked a short 15 mile loop south of the cabin- three right turns on paved roads and we’d be back home.  We turned out of the driveway and in about a mile the pavement ended. The gravel road was in great shape, so we stayed on it (in 20/20 hindsight, we should have quit right there).  Eventually it got a little narrower and a few ruts popped up.  Then I spotted a small dog running up a driveway ahead. I had a feeling it would come after us and slowed down, because he had the angle.  As he charged across the lawn, I saw it was only a dachshund.  I waited until he got within 10’ and hit the gas, leaving him far behind. 

We continued on to the next intersection assuming we would hit a paved road, but it was gravel in both directions.  We turned right and the road continued to get worse.  Huge washouts, boulders sticking out, the bike fishtailing in piles of sand.  It was impossible to avoid every obstacle, I just had to pick the one least dangerous.  We discussed turning around but neither of us wanted to face what we had just come through.

At the next intersection I turned right again, went about 100’ and my heart sank.  The road ahead as far as I could see was a steep uphill grade of least 20% and mostly sand with a few stones mixed in.  There was no way the bike could make it up that hill with street tires.  It was now after 6:00 PM, we had only gone 5 miles and had no idea where to find a paved road.

Chagrined, I turned around and went back to the previous intersection. It was a T intersection, so I had no choice except to head north.  The gravel was graded and in good condition.  The road got better and better and I finally believed we were out of the woods.  That’s when I saw another dog, much larger than a dachshund, loping across the yard in our direction.  I gave the bike as much gas as I could for the road conditions and it stopped barking.  I kept that speed, only to hear J shout: “better go faster, he is still after us.” I looked down at my rear-view mirror and it was filled by a giant Rottweiler looming up ten feet behind us and gaining fast.  I looked up and saw pavement 50’ ahead.  I downshifted and floored it. He was still gaining when I hit the pavement and finally pulled away.

The pavement got us to a state highway and home at 6:30 PM, just in time to wolf down some food before the meeting started. The odometer said we had gone only 15 miles, which gave us an average speed of 10 miles per hour for the ride. 

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