The Wiki definition covers what a bump gate is and what it does and the picture shows how it looks. They are plentiful in the Montell area where they block livestock on public and private roads.
As kids, we loved riding with older cousins and family friends who delighted in jabbing the gate hard so it quickly swung wide open, then gunning the engine and racing forward through the gate. Sometimes, they lingered, waited until the gate started swinging shut and sharply popped the gate again as they accelerated through the opening. Mother’s gasp and tsks of disapproval accompanied our roars of laughter. It probably didn’t do much for the bumper or the gate, but we kids considered it wild entertainment.
Bob, a Michigander, had never seen bump gates before we made our Hill country tour earlier this month. Until I knew Bob, I thought that you either lived in a lake or in a car factory if you lived in Michigan. I wasn’t much different from folks who think that Texas is all frontier where we ride horses to school and work. The reality is that Michigan has farms and ranches and that Bob rode horses in Michigan a heck of a lot more than I did in Texas.
But he never saw bump gates which are more common in Texas, West Texas particularly, than in Michigan where they must not have made their appearance. I was thinking it might be because Michiganders are skinnier than Texans and not as lazy about getting out of their vehicles to open gates, but we are almost tied in our obesity rankings (Michigan 30%; Texas 30.4%, according to the CDC).
I wanted Bob to see the area down the county road past the Episcopal Church so we led the way with GE and the kids following us. When we came to the first gate, Bob hesitated. (Just hit it with your bumper, Bob, so it swings open.) He hesitated. (Bob? Just bump it.) Bob’s concerns were that GE’s Traverse doesn’t have much of a bumper and it doesn’t take much to deploy an air bag. (“You don’t want GE to have to explain to Jonathan that they have a $600 air bag repair because she deliberately hit a gate.”)
I sighed, got out, and swung open the gate, holding it open until both Bob and GE drove passed. I was grudgingly certain that he had made a valid argument. GE must have agreed because she rolled down the window and said, “Tell Bob thanks.” In the end, we had to stop before we got too far down the road. Washouts from stream crossings caused us to defer the visit to another day.
The littles got a nap in the air-conditioned car; Bob got a preview on what he can see the next time we come up to that part of the country; and GE got to read while we scouted the road ahead.
Excellent way to spend a summer afternoon.