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Old 06-04-01, 01:47 PM   #1
Cambronne
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I dreamed of angels...

Saturday I rode a dawn patrol up to our nearby reservoir... it's a very large man-made lake, very pretty. The round trip is 55 miles, and is punctuated at the halfway point by a ride across a long, tall dam. The view from the dam is great... I can see the outskirts of my city off in the distance.

It was one of those daybreaks that begins at 50 degF, windbreaker and long glove weather... but by the time I reached the West Dam recreation area, temps were up into the mid 60s with a warm sun in a cloudless blue sky... I love this time of year, and I love this time of morning.

I rolled into the rec area and parked at one of the concrete picnic tables at the water's edge... the place was deserted. I had a snack and a lot of water, then I laid atop the picnic table in order to gaze at the sky. I pulled off my windbreaker and rolled it up as a pillow... and driffffffffffffted away.....

I could have laid there all day, dozing under the warm sun. I drifted back to consciousness just as a dark shadow crossed my face...

I openned my eyes... and saw what appeared to be an angel... (I'm Jewish. We don't have angels. This sure looked like one tho...) It was a huge winged shape, silhouetted black against the light, hovering between the sun and my eyes. The sunlight that filtered through its wingtips and tail took on a golden glow...

Soundlessly, it was gone... I was just about to sit up, when, there it was again... and again...

I looked around, then sat bolt upright, all gooseflesh and heart pounding. My "angels" were actually great big Georgia buzzards... enormous black vultures with reddish, featherless heads. The smell of putrefaction typically rings their dinner bells... but sometimes they'll attempt to nibble on sleeping dogs, alligators, even the odd scarecrow. (It's eerie when I cycle past a dumpster, and twenty-odd buzzards follow me with their eyes... apparently afraid of nothing.)

Evidently, as I lay motionless on the picnic table, a nearby flock of them had been dispatched to check me out... There were three of them, shining black, metre+ wingspans... circling and soaring. I watched them swoop through the trees until they were nearly out of sight. Then I mounted up and rode away... making sure that I displayed enough motion as befits a still-living creature.

Another moment's slumber and I've awakened face to beak with one. I'd have offered him one of these nasty PowerBars... and as he choked and gagged on the thing... I'd have made my escape.
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Old 06-04-01, 02:15 PM   #2
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I've heard of having problems with dogs, but...

Are you sure they weren't young team cyclists?
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Old 06-04-01, 03:27 PM   #3
JonR
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I've had a couple of rides where I began to fear I'd be surrounded by buzzards at any moment.

Beautiful post, Cambronne....
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Old 06-05-01, 07:36 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Cambronne
I'd have offered him one of these nasty PowerBars... and as he choked and gagged on the thing... I'd have made my escape.
LOL That would fix them!
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Old 06-05-01, 07:59 AM   #5
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I've noticed an increased ability to sneak up on these "Kentucky Eagles" on my road bike. I don't know why but they seem considerably bolder than I remember as a kid. They look at me with some annoyance as I close within 15 or so feet and they turn from their decaying meal and slowly lumber off. Hitchcock may have been on to something!
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Old 06-05-01, 08:31 AM   #6
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When I was a child in school, we had a poster in one science classroom illustrating various food chains in nature. One of my more observant classmates had taken a marker and drawn lines up to the top margin of the poster, where he had written "Vultures."

These birds know something we don't... Eat something that nobody else wants, but yet is plentiful, and one never goes hungry.

That said, If I was a bird, I'd rather be a hawk, kestrel, or falcon. At least their dinners are warm...
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Old 06-05-01, 09:48 AM   #7
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I am a volunteer wildlife rehabilitator, vultures are very, very intelligent animals. I have been up close and personal with them!! They smell soooooo bad. Even if they haven't eaten a rancid animal in months.

The best sight is watching them soar overhead, they are majestic. I consider it a pleasure to lie back and enjoy the view...

BTW, they would never eat you, you do not smell dead, PowerBars are another story!!
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Old 06-05-01, 12:47 PM   #8
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BTW, they would never eat you, you do not smell dead...
Cheryl,

Given the way I really go all out when riding, those vultures would probably have eaten me.
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Old 06-05-01, 02:57 PM   #9
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Originally posted by Pete Clark

Cheryl,

Given the way I really go all out when riding, those vultures would probably have eaten me.
OK I take it back. I've smelled good(?) enough to eat, also.......
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Old 06-05-01, 04:37 PM   #10
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Maybe I'm seeing the same type of birds in Central Kentucky. I see at least a few on every Saturday ride. Are they the birds that hover around in one area, with at least one of the giant birds having a very small bird following very closely behind its tail?
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