I was listening to "Monday, Monday" in my bunk being lazy since we had a day off from classes at the University of Arizona and the weather didn't look good for a day outside in the desert as we had planned. A group of us would often go out there, for only a few miles outside of town it was amazing. We could hike, climb to scenic vistas and even find our way to a great little eatery. On weekends we often gathered with a bonfire in a dried up river bed in such places, as long as it wasn't raining in the high country. High country rains meant flash floods in the desert river lands. So, as I was moping about the cold, damp weather, a buddy walked in and said the trip was on with a twist, for we were going to rent trail motorbikes and have some fun. A group of five of us quickly got read to go and then we were off in a hurry. We stopped at an establishment on a state road heading out of town and rented trail bikes and one of the guys, a townie who knew the area better than anyone else, led us down a somewhat remote county road into a setting reminiscent of a John Wayne Western. It was, in fact, not far from the Old Tucson movie set and the road were hard dirt with lots of rocks in it. It took a little care to avoid them and, if not, a nasty fall could happen, but we were fortunate, I guess, for no one had a spill. But later, we would approach a different road, one which was paved but seemingly lightly traveled, and we picked up speed and didn't think about being cold with the excitement of the wind rushing by and the thrill of the chase. And then, all changed. The road had barbed wire fencing on both sides, but after about a mile or two, it was missing on the left. It was just beyond the shallow drainage ditch along the road and as we came around a bend with a hill on the secondary road, the leader yelled out, "Be careful, there is a bull over to your left."
Wow, and sure enough, a bull was standing no more than 150 yards away in the now unfenced pasture, looking nonchalant, yet ever watching us. As we proceeded, he started to trot and then he came at an angle toward our party at full speed. It was clear that if we didn't speed up, someone was going to be the target, so we all sped up, much faster than we should have and gained enough distance from the bull that the danger was gone. But we forgot one important thing. We lost control of our bearings and just then I realized it was too late to avoid a hard jostling crossing of a secondary road. What's more a large, fast traveling tractor trailer cattle truck was coming fast, horn blazing, as several of us shot across just in front of the truck. I realized I was clear but wasn't prepared for the jolt upon hitting the rocky desert drop off on the other side. I skidded sideways and fell, ripping my pants and receiving a fairly large gash on my left thigh. Thankfully, no one else was seriously hurt but we did have to suffer through a scrubbing with stinging iodine soap back on campus at the student health clinic. I was truly fortunate and learned a good lesson that day and learned it well. Yes, I was young and I thought I was invincible but I finally realized I was not. Life is truly pressure, and it can turn on a dime, especially when we aren't careful.
As I got ready to leave the clinic after being treated, the young nurse asked if I had been motorbiking in the desert. When I said yes, she told me that two weeks earlier a student like me was hit by a bull on the old state trail. I said nothing, thanked her for patching me up, and swallowed hard. What was likely the same bull as we approached who injured the student on that same trail we had used didn't miss his mark that day. The poor fellow had received a compound fracture of his leg and the bike was totaled. Thank you, Lord, for your blessings and your teachings and I am glad that it wasn't my time. Whatever ultimately does eventually cause my demise, it won't be a trail bike.