After I graduated from Ithaca in 1979 a friend talked me into taking a cross country motorcycling trip. I didn’t know anything about motorcycles. I had never ridden on one. I bought a touring bike, enrolled in school, got licensed, took a few practice trips from Boston to NH and back, and then we set our sights west. Our goal was to v-line it for CO, then head NW to Yellowstone and on to WA state and Mt. Rainier. From there our plan was to head south to Portland, then to the OR coast all the way to San Diego, back through southern Utah and several other points along the way as we made our way back home. At least that was the plan. Among many there were two memorable close calls. The first involved me. We had left Denver and were heading NW to Yellowstone. Our planned stop, interestingly, was Lander, WY. It was early evening, quite dark, and we had just passed through Rawlins, WY. Our goal was to get to Lander, another 125 miles in pitch black with perhaps 1 gas station on the way. My friend Rick was behind me and I was behind a pickup going about 80mph. We were pretty well spaced apart. I noticed the pickup slowly maneuver his truck around something, perhaps a pothole. I did the same thing and suddenly in my headlight was this round object, which fortunately was just to left of my front tire, otherwise it would have been a direct hit, and most likely no more Jamie. Instead, I felt this thud-ump against my left foot pedal. Rick never saw the object. When we arrived at the youth hostel in Lander I was telling Rick about it. He looked at my left boot and noticed 3” long needles sticking out. “OMG” he said, “that was a porcupine you hit back there.” We went down to my motorcycle to look at the left foot pedal and there was a cluster of needles sticking out of the rubber covering. It was that close. Between that incident, caught and buried in an avalanche and a catastrophic road cycling accident I’ve been a lucky man. I’m sure we all have our near-miss stories. Yes, Diane and I were pretty young at the time - 22.