Backroad Ramblings: Conflict on a Grand Scale

January 31, 2012
Jason Giacchino
Jason Giacchino
Contributing Editor| Articles|RSS

A freelancer and published novelist Jason is currently the editor in chief of Mountain Bike Tales digital magazine and holds a State University of New York degree in applied science with a minor in journalism. When not hunched over a computer monitor, he can be found playing outside in the suburbs of Buffalo, New York.

Our rambler got a hefty dose of natures fury when a rogue wind gust targeted the building protecting his KTM 450 EXC.
Our rambler got a hefty dose of nature’s fury when a rogue wind gust targeted one of his most prized possessions.

You may remember learning in English class that there were three major forms of literary conflict: Man vs. man, man vs. self and man vs. nature. As a motorcyclist, I find it odd that man vs. machine doesn’t make the top three, but regardless it’s that last one I’d like to examine today. Man versus nature – the timeless plot structure responsible for providing imagery of a big game hunter unknowingly being stalked by the very lion he’s trying to bag, or an adventurist fighting sub-zero whiteouts in effort to summit a mountain peak.

I’ve been privy to this type of conflict myself over the past few months, though my own tribulations come off sounding a bit weak in comparison. You should know beforehand that the sheer peculiarity of the situation is such that I have little choice but to devote another column to the mysterious phenomena of wind-blown buildings.

Only last month I suffered a most devastating loss of a three-month old carport to Mother Nature. Namely, a relentless wind managed to get up between the canvas walls and aluminum skeleton and essentially disassemble the frame by twisting and sheering. The situation was bleak and, despite having been out a little over a grand and having nowhere to store the plethora of internal-combustion machinery housed inside, left me a bit wiser to the limitations of canvas and aluminum. Moral of the story: Concrete foundations or bust.

Just the other night, however, I woke to what sounded like a runaway freight train traversing my driveway, followed by a deafening clatter and unmistakable tones of sheet metal left free to flex. To my astonishment a second storage building on my premises, this time an aluminum shed with a decade’s worth of providing reliable shelter, had been picked up and slammed to the ground. Through the snowflakes I could just about make-out the image of my KTM 450 EXC on its kickstand, suddenly exposed to the brutal conditions of the windstorm. Thank goodness its Bridgestones appeared frozen to the ground, lest it suffer the same fate as the walls around it.

Now granted – the ups and downs of the thermometer this winter have been making the air more turbulent with stronger gusts more frequent than usual, but two buildings completely destroyed in two months? Unprecedented. Even more bizarre was that whatever stream of air that targeted my shed had also apparently traveled in a precise path, because there was virtually no damage elsewhere. Trees swayed but failed to drop limbs, garbage cans remained standing on the side of the house and a pink folding chair kept its place against the neighbor’s porch. But somehow a 600-pound steel building went airborne. Perhaps it was for the best I

Rather than leave a path of destruction  nature seemed to target the 600-pound steel building and its contents.
Rather than leave a path of destruction, nature seemed to target the 600-pound steel building and its contents.

was sleeping when the incident took place, lest risk spotting the swirling funnel cloud and Wicked Witch of the West sailing by on a broom stick.

I once again found myself in the middle of the frigid night knocking on the doors of family and friends, seeking shelter for my orphaned dirt bike and several other miscellaneous off-road components that I’ll likely never recover from foster care. Like a squirrel that had been too lazy on his acorn collecting duirng the fall, I was shamefully unprepared for winter’s scorn. As punishment for my lack of preparation, I had to drag my expensive Austrian off-road equipment through the cold hoping no decent person, rider or otherwise, could turn away such a beautiful bike in need of protection.

Being that I’m becoming precariously low on storage at the moment, I’m certain they hear a slight quiver in my voice as I promise to reclaim my junk when the first warm days of spring arrive. I can still feel the weight of their stare on my back as I gather up the remaining fragments strewn across my lawn. One thing’s for certain, though: I’m not lying when I mutter that I hope spring gets here soon, or that the next big gust of wind carries me off to someplace warm with limitless storage.