Date: Wed, 30 May 2001

This is your first, last and only warning: The following story describes my 60mph deerstrike in great detail. Graphically, too, so delete now if you are sensitive to language, squeamish about gore, or are a tree-hugging, card-carrying member of the SPCA (while I'd like to say no animals were harmed in the production of this story, that wasn't quite the case).

Executive Summary:

Place: East-central Oregon, HWY 395, south of John Day, north of Burns, Oregon

Time: 5:04 AM PDT, Thursday, May 24, 2001
Conditions: 55 degrees F, clear, bright daylight, completely dry, outstanding road surface
Speed at impact: 61mph
Damage: Massive bodywork damage, upper and lower fairings smashed, fairing pockets cracked, inner front fairing gone, front fender destroyed, radiator severely dented (but serviceable), both FIAMM horns destroyed, right wingtip cover missing, left wingtip cover cracked, windshield valance crushed.

Final Score:

Warchild = 1
Bambi = 0
Night Train = -1

The Story:

See why I HATE these fucking deer so much?

So there I was, riding to Gerlach and the infamous MASS GOLD endurance event. I had departed well after midnight, cruising down HWY 395, one of THE FINEST motorcycle roads to be found anywhere. I was just coming down a hill to an incredibly flat valley that stretched perhaps 1-2 miles before the next series of hills. This valley was flat, Flat, FLAT, with nothing but sagebrush that was only 12-18" high. I looked long and hard for any range cattle or other furry critters that could cause problems. Nope, not a thing on this prairie but sagebrush. I relaxed and descended into the valley floor.

I was approximately halfway across the valley when I went into another instrument scan. I checked the tachometer, looked up at the Sigma, then down to the temp gauge, then looked up to see the 75-lb doe looking right at me, standing directly in front of the bike, about 50 feet from impact.

The Sigma revealed I was traveling at 61 mph, which means I had about a half a second to do something. However, there was nothing to be done. I knew I was going to strike the deer, and even the deer looked like she knew she was about to die. As my brain realized that an accident was imminent, the classic perception of "time slowing down" kicked in, allowing all the following to happen prior to impact:

The first thing I did was silently scream at the deer, "Now, just where in the FUCK did you come from?!" This was just too unbelievable.... it's not like this deer emerged from a forest, and it's not like it had any place to hide!! [Note: surveying the crash scene afterward, I saw a somewhat more sizeable sage brush that the doe was (obviously) sleeping/hiding behind; it was about 24" high, immediately next to the point of impact]

I began an attempt to swerve behind the doe, started to push the right grip downward when (again, given that perception of "slow time") I realized it wasn't going to do any good, and I had better not be leaning when we struck, so I stood the bike up so I would have a "clean" impact. By now I was about 10 feet from the doe, and looked right into her eyes. Two thoughts flashed "Man, is my bride ever going to be pissed at me if I die like this...." and a second thought: "well, it's lookin' like there will be one less rider at MASS GOLD...".

I tore into her body at 61 mph.

The doe had decided to take another step before I hit her, so the front wheel split her body roughly mid-section, such that the forward 2/3's of the deer fell along the left side of the bike, the rear 1/3 of the carcass went down the right side. It was like you could feel and hear the sounds of cartilage, bone and sinew being snapped and torn asunder. My right lower leg was smashed with the rear hindquarters of the severed doe.

But what got to me was the shit. Literally. Shit! Deer shit.... lot's and LOT'S of deer shit!

The ENTIRE RIGHT HALF of the forward fuselage area was no longer Honda red.... it was brown and green!!! DEER SHIT!!!! I could not believe my eyes! Not only was there a massive amount of deer shit on the road, but my bike front and right side were AWASH in deer shit!! How can a creature hold this much shit in their bodies AND STILL BE ALIVE?!!! What, do these deer have to "shit on demand" for a living, or something?! There was an UNBELIEVEABLE amount of intestinal matter in every single crevice of the bike. Lovely aroma......

Since I had begun a right swerve, I was pointing slightly right when we struck, and after severing the animal, the bike was now pointed to the far right, and into the ditch beyond. I stabbed both brakes and start leaving fresh Dunlop and Metzeler on the road. My speed starts to bleed off, but I see with crystal clarity that I am fast approaching the edge of the road..... and snow-melt sand is *inside* the edge of the white line! "Guess I'm done bleeding off speed", I think to myself. Just before I reach the sand, I release the brakes as I look at the Sigma. It says 53 mph as the ST1100 leaves the road, and flies airborne into the ditch.

As we leave the road, I get up on the footpegs and assume my best Jeremy McGrath riding stance. The front tire slams down into the ditch and the rear end bounces up to try to pop me off the bike, but I'm ready for it, and hang on somehow. I bounce and hop all over the ditch, which is roughly 7 feet wide and three feet deep. I keep looking for the drainage ditch that will end my off-road adventure (and probably my young life) in an instant, the very same way Jack Baird got his serious injuries. First order of business, however, is to avoid the telephone pole that is fast approaching on the left. I manage to sneak past the pole, even though it knocked off my left mirror housing (amazingly enough, the post-accident inspection revealed not a single mark on the mirror housing... go figure!)

By now I am down to 30 mph, and I'm beginning to believe I might live if no Jack Baird drainage-ditch surprises me. About that time, I realize, hey, I'd better do something about getting the bike out of the ditch while I am still moving, or I'll be in this ditch a long time.

So I gently apply a little countersteering, and amazingly, the ST "walks up" the side of the ditch, trading speed for elevation. I am almost to the top of the ditch, and am only going 5 mph!! I finally come out of the ditch, and roll onto the paved shoulder just as I came to a gentle stop!!!! I slowly put the kickstand down. I stepped off the bike and immediately ran around to looked at the front end damage.

FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The front fairings are all smashed. The fender is barely hanging on. The lower gray fairing has major holes torn all through it.... and there is a hoof in one of the holes!! The left middle fairing is cracked from top to bottom. The inner middle fair is..... gone!! COMPLETELY GONE!!! The right middle fairing is severely damaged with razor-sharp jagged edges that did most of the deer-slicing, along with the right tip-over guard. The force of the impact buckled and cracked the right (lockable) fairing pocket. Both side maintenance panels took impact damage. The right FIAMM electric clamshell horn is flattened and looks like a frisbee. The other FIAMM horn looks worse. The radiator has a sizeable dent in the right side, but appears intact. I expected to have radiator fluid everywhere, but the cooling system remained intact.

My Night Train was hit hard.... but still serviceable.

As I surveyed the damage, the adrenaline from the near-accident started to wear off, and was being replaced by a seething, raging anger. That fucking deer..... just LOOK at the mess it has made! Then, the final straw..... I discovered that the deer had cause me to lose the PIAA 910s! When I discovered this...... all my attention turn to the deer, still 250 feet back. Shaking with rage, I reached for the Browning, pulled back the slide, chambered a round, and started walking back to the carcass.

As I slowly walked back to the point of impact, I looked over to the left to see the deep, long furrow the ST1100 had made as it ran through the ditch and back up onto the highway. I walked past by the telephone pole that knocked off my mirror housing. As I approach the deer, I have to step around various organs and deer splatter to make my way around to the front 2/3 of the carcass. I lean over the head of the deer and look into her soft, brown eyes. I gently whisper "Fuck you", then empty the clip into her.

There's nothing like the sound of brass casings tingling on asphalt. Oh, yeah.

With the post-accident mental therapy complete, I reloaded the Browning and put it away. I walked back to the bike. Jesus, what a mess! I could not - could NOT - get rid of the stench of deer shit.... and no wonder, IT WAS EVERYWHERE!!! I dig into the Ventura bag for my Polaroid, and almost retch as I noticed that the entire right side of the bag is also encrusted with deer shit. I turned back and face the carcass, "HOW MUCH SHIT CAN YOU DEER *POSSIBLY* CARRY?!!!!!!! I was just stunned at the amount of deer feces distributed about the bike. When I get to the Polaroid, I see that it has no film. Damn, I REALLY wanted to get a few pictures of the carcass, but it was not to be.

I got back on the bike, and slowly made the 30-ish miles to Burns. It was completely un-nerving to look down through the opening of the triple-tree area (normally covered by the inner middle fairing) and see asphalt whirling by! And, DAMN, the smell emerging off the exhaust lines was INCREDIBLE!!! Upon reaching Burns, I rolled into a Texaco and dashed inside to buy one of those disposable cameras. I shot about a dozen pictures of the bike at various angles, then rolled over to the car wash area and borrowed their hose. I scrubbed and scrubbed for 45 minutes, and STILL couldn't get rid of the deer shit stench that came from the engine bay. I walked 200 feet away from the bike, and could STILL smell that deer shit! DAMN, that's some lingering aroma... or so I thought.

Later on that morning, I stopped in Lakeview, Oregon for some gas. Went to the restroom, and as I washed my hands, I took a brief look in the mirror. There, in my moustache, under the right nostril, was a nice dollop of green deer shit, all crusty and hard.

Fucking deer......

- Warchild '00 CBR1100XX '97 ST1100

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