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  • Once one gets the idea that keeping a bike moving is better for you, plus it has a tendency not to fall over, you need to get some mileage on the new bike. This is called the break in period.

    I needed to get to the 1000 miles on the odometer and get the first required check up. I was going to ride it across country. I have never ridden a motorcycle more than 10 miles, so this was a way to get used to long touring. It also became the way I usually ride now.

    In the southwest the concept of free range cattle is the blood and history here. To an easterner like me, I had no clue what those signs meant.

    I was soon to find out.

    My 500 mile run to get to 1K was to go along the Ajo Way. A great mining trail, now road that runs through the western part of Arizona starting in Tucson. Route 86 west till it turns into 85 north at Why, AZ., then through Ajo, north to the western outskirts of Phoenix. In all I was doing a big loop around the state of AZ to get the mileage up.

    It was the usual warm July Tucson morning when I started out. Heading west on a road that I never even knew existed till a few days before.

    About 30 miles into the ride I became aware of cars slowing down, folks standing on the shoulders of the road, all were looking west. A little further on, a single man, a gallon milk jug tied to his waist looking nervous wobbling left and right but staying put.

    Then I saw it. Biggest beast in the wild for me. A texas longhorn bull. 6 maybe 7 feet from tip to tip of his horns. The folks on the sides of the road stood still, cars a head of me slowly moved beyond the monster. Cars behind me slowing down.

    It was facing west, head low, as my rumbling bike came up beside it, 12 feet away at most.

    He saw me. Charged.

    The break-in rule for the new bike was never go over 50 mph till you have done 1000 miles on the odometer. That is why I was taking all these scenic roads, Keep speed down, and chew up mileage.

    I wicked the throttle, ramming the gear box as hard as I could. Was at 80 mph in seconds, maintained that speed for at least 10 minutes.

    I never looked back. I never knew if any of the cars behind me got hit by him. Still don't.

    But one thing is for sure, I now know what free range signs mean.

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