War Story #1 - The Flying ATV

Old railroad tracks run all over Machias. You can pick them up from many of the trails we ride on, and then take them almost anywhere you want, from Helen's restaurant in town to the stretch of the Machias River we kayak in. We ride down the middle of the tracks with our ATVs. The wheels fit just inside the rails and our tires ride over the wooden railroad ties. This obviously makes for a bumpy ride until you get going fast enough (around 30 MPH) for the quad to skip across the tops of the ties as you move along.

So Craig, Ray and I were riding from Helen's back toward camp. Craig was first in line, I was behind him and Ray was behind me. I was pretty much topped out in third gear and was sailing across the railroad ties rather nicely when I noticed Craig stopped up ahead, trying to flag me down. I stopped a few dozen feet short of a washout, where several of the ties were completely missing. The rails were still there, but the ties had been washed away. What was left was a ravine about 12-15 feet across. Mysteriously, Craig was on the other side of it.

When I asked Craig what the hell he had done, he told me he didn't notice the ravine until it was too late to stop, so he had just goosed the throttle and had somehow managed to sail over the ravine.

Based on the size and shape of the hole, by all accounts Craig's bike should have fallen in the hole and tossed him over the handlebars. Instead he had sailed across the hole almost like it hadn't been there at all.

It was a head-scratcher for certain, and we never did figure out how Craig made it across. Maybe it's like that unwritten rule in the Saturday morning cartoons - a character never starts falling until he realizes the ground is no longer under his feet.