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Tour de Chesapeake Bikers Share Surprises~A Photo Essay
By Catherine C. Brooks

     May 18, 2002, 1,000 bikers had spent the night in Mathews and began their annual spring tour when a black cloud opened like an umbrella, bringing a gust of heavy wind with microburst and torrents of rain.A maple tree, approximately 150 years old, fell from Wade K. Brooks’ yard across State Route 611 on one of the more popular routes that the cyclists use when the microburst struck. The tree pulled down electric and cable wires. Fence rails constructed as they were in colonial days only pulled out of the slots when the wind that lasted a matter of seconds passed.


 

     Brooks and a Mathews County Deputy Sheriff, who had contacted the electric company and highway department, confer as to the safety of removal of the tree before the electric company arrives. Brooks, having worked for the power company with a degree in electric engineering, felt all was safe after he did the needed testing.


 

     With disregard to the electric and cable wires, a stalwart young man drove to the scene, ascended his truck, pulling his chain saw from tools in the back. Then he began to clear branches from the side of the road over which he wanted to pass. After he slung them in a pile on the opposite side of the highway, the young man climbed back into his 4 X 4 and drove on.


 

     Brooks allowed the bikers to pass through the yard where many stopped to chat about the storm that damaged only a spot here and there. More than 20 of the group, holding on to their bikes, took shelter in his shop during the worst of the rain. We learned they had traveled from as far as Ohio and other Midwestern states.


 

     After determining the electric lines carried no current, Brooks brought his tractor and chain saw from the back of the area behind the house and shop building for Garden Creek Woodworks, and with the help of his brother-in-law, Edgar Adams, sawed the large trunk into at several points, working to the road’s edge. (Notice the smoke from the saw as it labors through the hardwood.) This enabled them to use the forklift to remove the major part of the tree with its branches from the center of the highway since the state machinery hadn’t arrived.


 

     Several hours later the state equipment arrived, and the driver saw it would have been impossible for him to accomplish the job without the tree having been sawed into pieces. He cleared the highway completely, piling the debris in Brooks’ yard until Monday when the full crew would be on duty. 

© 2002 Catherine C. Brooks All Rights Reserved


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