You could not ask for better weather to ride than right now in Georgia. Spring has sprung and unfortunately between my work hours, riding hours have been few, and it looks like they’re going to be fewer for a while.
I haven’t been writing on this blog because life has been clipping along at a pretty fast pace. But, hey, I’ve got a little time this afternoon, so let’s catch up.
On Saturday, March 25th I was out running a few errands. I found myself heading toward the local Indian motorcycle dealership to drool over the bikes and ask if they had any discount tickets to the motorcycle flat track races at Dixie Speedway later that night. I turned onto a two lane highway and traffic was unusually thick, even by local standards. It was stop and go, stop and go, stop and go. The car in front of me stopped. I stopped. The car behind me was still on “go.”
As I looked up from the asphalt trying to feel my fingers and toes and evaluate what just happened, I heard a voice from the lady driving the vehicle that just hit me. “I was putting down my window!” Apparently Cadillacs have a unique window system that requires the driver to use both eyes before adjusting. She continued, “This is my second accident in the last few weeks.” Strangely, this information didn’t make me feel any better.
After finishing a few moment of self-evaluation I was ready to start some movement and see how sitting up would feel. But by that time a small crowd had gathered and expressed a distinctly strident opinion that I should not move until the medics got there. Two in the crowd claimed to be nurses. One in the crowd was a biker. They all voted and agreed to keep me on the ground by relating stories of the horrible effects suffered by friends of friends who now were completely paralyzed and in savage pain because they moved too soon after a minor accident. Reluctantly, I stayed down and tried to determine if any important fluids were leaving my body without permission.
As I was lying on the ground discussing with the people standing over me my own ability to move, I really couldn’t survey the scene completely. I think I missed a lot of the action. The lady that caused the accident apparently melted into a puddle nearby. I never saw her again. My bike had travelled far enough forward from the impact to hit the car in front of me. The two people from that car suffered minor damage to their bumper and were amazingly supportive. From my vantage point, I couldn’t really get a good view of my bike, so I had to ask the most important question. “How’s my bike?”
Now, there are bikers, and cagers and the difference was immediately apparent.
ME – “How’s my bike?”
CAGERS – “Oh, it’s not too bad at all.”
THE BIKER – “Dude…”
ME – “Really?”
THE BIKER – “Yeah.”
I knew it was a mess.
Eventually, the medics got there, sirens, lights, and all. We squeezed hands, followed moving fingers, and talked convivially about a free ride to the emergency room. They gave me a hand up, helped me remove my helmet, and I kindly refused their offer for a ride, promising instead to take the trip with my wife as soon as she got there. They left, and I began discussions with the police and a local wrecker service.
Oh, yeah. I needed to call my wonderful bride. I have to be honest, I was not looking forward to her reaction. Had I just taken my last ride? Well, I still don’t know why she agreed to marry me nearly a quarter century ago, and I’m completely at a loss to explain why she’s stuck by me all that time, but her reactions have never failed to surprise me. She was as calm and controlled as a combat veteran going to the grocery store. I love her so.
After I learned I could stand, I also learned that I was sore, and swollen, and stiff. I kept walking, with a fine John Wayne limp, so I wouldn’t lock up too much later. We saw my bike loaded onto a flatbed, and we drove off to the emergency room to get a few pictures of my insides.
She was 800 pounds give or take. She had custom pull backs, custom fuel controller, home made custom air covers, Corbin seat, high flow air filters, and few other odds and ends that made me happy to log the miles. She saw me through Sturgis, and Yellowstone, and trips with my girls. She took me home to West Virginia, and only once failed to bring me back to my home (through no fault of her own). Goodbye old friend. Even though you were only a machine, I am sure you helped make me a better man.
Now, I’m not saying that it was a sign from above, but at the emergency room my doctor was… an INDIAN! Although I never found out what tribe Dr. Patel was from, I’m still fairly sure the almighty was giving me a direction for my next bike.
So, nothing broken. Still a bit sore. A few bruises. All my safety gear did exactly what it was supposed to do. It’s why I wear the boots, gloves, helmet, and Kevlar jeans all the time. In twelve years of riding, it was my first real life test for all of it, and I hope the last.
So that’s the situation today, as I sit on my back contemplating the hole in my garage with a glass of wine, and a cigar. I’m waiting to hear the next step from the insurance company. There is no argument of who is “at fault.” The adjuster that saw my bike hinted that it was a total loss.
I think I just heard a bike going by and I’m jealous. I wonder if it was an Indian?