Drama bike ride

By Phil Plait | November 2, 2012 11:03 am

Because I can.

If you don’t get it, this might help.


Comments (14)

  1. Wzrd1

    Just because one can, does that mean one SHOULD? ūüėČ
    Perhaps it should be retitled, “Why not?”

  2. Fizz

    Ha- the drama prairie dog! I love that!

  3. I always love the countryside and what you¬īll see there.

  4. One Eyed Jack

    Another drive-by shooting.

  5. Ken

    The prairie dog was cute, but I didn’t kneed to see the rest of that.


    What was that all about?

  7. Nice bike. How about a blog post about your wheels?

  8. Bahaha!
    So be honest with us, Phil – did you just manage to whip out the camera on the fly, or did you circle around when you saw the prairie dog, just so you could film it? ūüėČ In any case, a good bit of camera work, considering. I thought it was a helmet cam at first.

  9. Brian Too

    Wanna gopher a bike ride?

  10. David Zimmerman

    You are a very silly man.

  11. kat wagner

    @BrianToo – haaaaa! gopher a bike ride! wow, really good.

  12. Monkey
  13. Crudely Wrott

    Seeing that prairie dog peeking up out of the ground brought back an old memory and warmed my heart.

    I was aboard a DC-3 preparing to take off from the Laramie, Wyoming airport on an early summer day in 1956. The captain had taxied to the downwind end of the runway and was revving up those Wright Cyclone radials to bring them to operating temperature. I was sitting just behind the wing in a window seat that was large and accommodating to a five year old boy.

    The props were feathered, meaning that they were angled in such a way that they were not pushing air either fore nor aft. This to allow the engines to run up to operating temperature without a load and also saves wear and tear on the breaks and landing gear.

    I could see the undisturbed prairie that began at the edge of the pavement and was home to what appeared to be a thriving community of these burrowing rodents. What struck me was that many of the open burrows had a furry head sticking up.

    At some point, the captain rotated the props to full thrust position and I could feel the aircraft surge forward against the brakes. Accelerated air blew over the wings as the ship stirred. It blew the top layer of dust and dirt like a hurricane over the burrows and I was quite surprised that the prairie dogs did not retreat into their burrows. They just hunkered down a bit.

    When the captain released the brakes and that airplane started to claw its way down the runway I was treated to the sight of a few dozen prairie dogs squinting into the air blast, their ears and fur angled back in the gale while they kept their attention focused down the runway. Engaged observers, many of them old hands at aircraft procedures, were monitoring the takeoff run of my airplane.

    I twisted in my seat to keep them in sight as long as possible as they fell behind my great silver bird, keeping station, not flinching, steadfast in the propwash, dedicated to the work that came with the territory.

    They were noble fellows; determined and faithful as their gaze helped to push us down the tarmac and up into the great big sky. I could not help but imagine that their earnest attention must be known to the cockpit crews and considered a sign of good favor. In following years when my travels took me through the Laramie airport, I saw them again, or their descendents. Faces into the wind, ears laid back to shed the propwash and eyes fixed on the far horizons that I would eventually reach. The image is as clear today as it was then.

    Steady on, little fellows, and thank you for taking such care to assist my launches into the wild blue yonder. All my landings were safe except for that one time in Chicago. But that was because I didn’t take off from Laramie.


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