Learned riding off road, never thought twice about gravel on the road. Just like being on hard pack then encountering loose stuff. I let the conditioned responses take over.
Had both bad situations happen to me too. One corner the pea gravel wasn't visible until on top of it, so a choice had to be made to go off road, brake hard and hope to not hit it while doing so, or ride it out. No place off road but a ditch and then a serious bank since the corner was cut into a hill. Braking hard didn't really have enough space to do much with hard braking. So it was brake as much as possible, then ride it out and see what happens. The front end washed out about a foot, then caught. Kind of bucked the bike a bit, but I was ready and compensated as much as possible. Done. The other was just a simiple turn onto a side road, the rear stepped out and instantly I had a foot out to touch down and keep the bike up. Done.
All was pretty much conditioned response from past experience.
Go ride a small bore dirt bike, not an MX or competition level enduro, but a play bike if you can get one. Do it in a muddy field, on a loose circle track, on a rutted trail. The more you do the better you get. It does help on the street.
Ever get lost? You know, that good kind of lost - come to a dirt road intersection and you have no idea where you are or which way to turn? I like when that happens!
Mark - klx678
95 KLX650C w/Vulcan piston bigbore, 90 Zephyr 550