Now, then - where were we?
The theme of rides over the last couple of months has been - coyotes.
A few months back, I was riding down Louden Road near Ninety Six on a Saturday morning. I was descending the next to last hill when I saw something dash across the road in front of us. Dieter didn't see it at first, but I did. I noted that it had stopped at the edge of a a field - and yep, it was a coyote.
The first time I had ever seen one was in Warner Robins, Georgia, back in '87 or so. I hadn't seen a coyote since then. I was a bit surprised to see this one.
So you can imagine my surprise when, oh, maybe two weeks later, I was climbing up the hill near Dungannon, out on Klugh Road. It was hot, and I was just scorching along at 8 mph. Ainsley and the other riders had gone on ahead, so I was dead last.
He stepped out of the tree line, just walking towards the road. He started to cross the ditch and saw me. Black, lean, built for speed, and utterly, totally calm.
He raised a paw and I said, "Don't. Seriously, don't." So he stopped and watched me as I rode past. I looked back over my shoulder and watched him as he walked - note, WALKED - across the road. For his part, he looked over at me every so often, in an unhurried way.
So, two weeks ago, Ainsley said, "I could use someone to ride with." So I went out with the beat up old Trek and learned that Ainsley had a coyote incident the week before.
"I had stopped over on the red clay section," he said.
"The roller coaster?"
"Yep," he said. "I was tightening up my seat post bolt when something about that close (he indicated 30 feet or so) cut loose with a howl."
"That would get my attention," I said.
"Especially since it sounded like it was following me for a while," he said.
Then last week in a conversation with Tom Austin and Gratin Smith, it emerged that one area rider had encountered a coyote that had to be discouraged with rocks from coming too closely.
I'll try not to be lunch.