I left Weitchpec after a third and final cup of coffee, gave Jeannie one more kiss and left her standing in the yard, hands jammed deep into pockets against the cold, arms tight against her side. Smiling.
Once I turned onto 299 I opened her up. Monday afternoon and nobody on the road. Yeah it was cold, but I had my leathers on, and there's something about the hurting air on my face, leaning into one curve after another, pretty red- and yellow-leaved trees hugging the mountainside. Some traffic now, but not enough to slow me down.
The sun hadn't been down long when I hit the deer. A big one, I remember thinking, enough to impress Rog if he saw it in my driveway. While my brain was sizing up Bambi, my body knew what to do—damn good thing. The impact was enough to bring my back wheel up but my hands gripped the handlebars tight so I didn't go flying off in the darkness and kill myself.
I was going about 80 mph, and just about cut that deer in half. I managed to lay the bike down, again, not consciously, just doing and when the bike stopped skidding I was in the middle of the westbound lane with two broke legs.
I dragged the bike to the side of the road then crawled around to lay down in its headlight so somebody'd see me. I didn't have to wait too long before a car came by. Kept going to. Who drives by somebody covered in deer blood and guts lying by a bike on its side on the highway at night? Man. Ten cars went by; I counted. Number 11 was going toward Willow Creek, turned around and came back my direction, pullled over.
Wayne! My buddy from down at the shop. What do you know? When he realized it was me, can you believe that's the first thing he asks me? When did you get a Harley?