In the Desert Southwest, it’s not unusual to find dead snakes along the edge of the road. During the early morning hours, while the air is still [relatively] cool, snakes will sometimes slither out onto the blacktop to bask in the warmth of the dawning sun. Unfortunately, in many cases, they find themselves in the wrong lane and suffer the consequences as motorists unknowingly drive over them.

I rode to Wickenburg (from Phoenix) as training for this year’s MS150. Starting at Trader Joe’s on Thunderbird Road, we road North on 99th Avenue, West on Bell Road, and North on US60 (Grande Avenue) to Wickenburg, and back to Trader Joe’s, approximately 80 miles. This was a new personal best for me: an hour less than last year!

What does this have to do with snakes? At about 25 miles from the start, just North of Whitman on US60, I was riding at the tail of a train of about a dozen riders when they began to bail off the line, right and left. A large and rather confused looking snake was wriggling in the middle of the wide shoulder we had been traveling in! Having successfully passed the snake uneventfully, the line reformed and began pulling away with new vigor. I glanced over my shoulder briefly, saw the snake slithering off the road to safety, and pushed forward to catch up to the rest of the team.

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