I decided to ... well, no, let's not say I decided to. I ended up riding a bit of a cloverleaf type of path through the Karns area of west Knoxville. Saying that I decided to implies that I planned it at some point. I really didn't. I really just let the bike steer me where it wanted to go. What I mean by that is that I just picked a new direction on whatever whim came to me at each intersection point. No real thought was applied, except that I didn't want to get more than ten miles from the house at any point.
As I wound my way around Karns, letting my mind wander about here and there, I found myself doing a lot more sprinting than I would have liked to do (I would have liked 'none', in fact). Every dog has its day, I have heard, and I think that day was today. There were dogs out everywhere. Even at house where I knew there were dogs, it seems that the owners had decided to let them off the leash, or carelessly left a gate open, or, well, you get the idea. I could get away from most of them easily enough, but there were three that I actually had to stop for.
I really hate having to stop for a dog. It's only the larger, faster dogs. Usually there's just one (at a time) and I am able to keep my bike between me and them until they get bored, the owners call them off, or I can walk (angling the bike as needed) out of their 'territory'. The first was called back by an apologetic owner. The next two got me as a pair, but thankfully they weren't smart enough to try to out-flank me (I do only ride one bike, after all). I was able to get away from them when a car came by slowly and distracted/confused them.
I didn't worry too much about the dark skies off west for a good while, as they weren't really advancing any, but when I noticed that the wind had shifted and was blowing west (it usually comes from the West), I thought it might be high time to head on back toward the house. Just as I was angling to negotiate a rather rough section of railroad tracks, Mrs. Guy called (her timing is uncanny). I had to skid to a stop so I didn't end up face-down on the tracks (or just past them).
Mrs. Guy: Is it as nice there as it is here in Nashville?
Big Guy: Yeah, it's a nice enough evening, but its looking bad just west. I'm trying to get home before a storm hits.
MG: Yeah, it's just beautiful here. I'm walking back from dinner and its really pleasant.
BG: Uh huh. It's been nice here so far, but I'm trying to get home before I get rained on.
MG: Have you called Jeff about dinner tomorrow?
BG: I will as soon as I get home...which is where I'm trying to get to.
MG: See where they want to go, 'cause you may have to call for reservations.
BG: Sure, Dear. As soon as I get home. Which I hope will be soon.
MG: Sounds like you're trying to get home. I won't keep you. Call me later.
Well, I did get home before I got rained on, but not before I had another problem. Remember that I mentioned skidding to a stop? Well, I've been riding on an old set of tires, and the skid apparently was enough to cause a slow leak. By the time I turned into the neighborhood it was getting really squidgy (biker-speak for 'hard to control'), and I had to let the last dog chase along at my heels until it got close enough for me to shower it with Gatorade from my waterbottle. I do find that to be effective to stop them, though it cuts down on the amount available for consumption during the ride. That close to home I just let him have it.
I wonder if the owners will notice how sticky he will be later tonight?