***I originally posted this entry on a couple of the scooter boards I frequent. My intent all along has been to gather my various scooting stories and include them on a personal site. Well, I finally have my web site and so it’s time to share. And allow me jump on my soapbox: WEAR YOUR GEAR. Full-face helmet, armored riding jacket, good gloves and good riding boots. Yes, good gear is pricey. But what’s the dollar value you place on your life?
This is the post, in its entirety, although I’ve done some minor editing.
Originally published on Thursday, 6 November 2008
So, it’s a beautiful day in east central MO. 71*F, wind out of the S/SW, sun is shining, everything is autumnal gold.
It’s 60+ miles from Missouri S&T to my resident polling station. I evaluate my mental map and decide to take 63 N out of Rolla, 28 E to Belle, hang a left onto 89 N, then a right onto D hwy, run D over to A hwy, hang a left and pick up US 50 E to W hwy to the wide spot in the road known as Bay, MO where we vote.
D hwy is one of those roads that makes you realize why man invented motorcycles. It runs E/NE along an Ozark ridge for 15 miles, paralleling (somewhat) the Gasconade River. As far as the eye can see there are rolling hills, pastures, woods, cattle, and the occasional home. The road surface itself isn’t so hot but the sweepers and turns that are banked just right more than make up for the effort of dodging pot holes.
But today’s plan was not meant to work out.
About 4 miles along D hwy I enter a nice right hand sweeper…one of those that begs you to hit it as fast as you dare, but I’m enjoying the day so am doing maybe 60.
Halfway through the curve the BR’s ass end sucks left, “WHAT THE…?” I think and let go the throttle; it sucks left again. A quick, sickening sensation as I realize my rear tire has blown out and I’m in the middle of a curve. I can’t grab the brakes for fear of going ass over teakettle in the middle of the road.
Luckily, I’m going left. To the right is, of course, no shoulder (we are in rural MO, after all) then about 10′ of easement that drops off at about 30* and then barbed wire fence and trees. Lots of trees. Did I mention lots of trees?
To the left is an 8′ easement with about a 15* drop into the ditch, then a 4′ embankment rises up into a yard for a nice long stretch of about 50 yards.
So I’m headed left and I know I’m about to ride into the grass. But there’s a mailbox dead ahead…and it’s getting larger by the millisecond.
Now I’m in the grass, trying to hold the BR up, trying to keep control; and I realize, “Frak, if I keep it up I’m going dead on into that mailbox”.
So I exhaled and let go of the bars.
Handlebars whip left, front wheel digs in, I high side and fly through the air, hit face, knees, and right arm first, BOUNCE, and flop over onto my back.
I lay there for a minute. Frak my head hurts! I can see my glasses are in my helmet. Awesome, they aren’t broken! Wait, the scoot isn’t on my legs (that’s a first). It’s….where…..okay, I see lexan. In a pile. Not good. There’s my tail box, in two pieces, but my bag and my gear are mostly in it. Good.
The scoot is about 10′ behind me, upright and leaning against the embankment. Almost as if I leaned it there. And it’s still running.
I crawl/slide/drag myself up next to the BR, reach up and switch off the key. #5 shuts off as if nothing is wrong.
But, as my head clears of fog I realize that something is waaaay more than wrong. If my windshield pieces are here, and the tailbox is over there….
Holy CRAP. #5 had to have flipped, at least once, and the grace of God somehow managed to set it down in such a way that it didn’t continue to tumble. As in, tumble onto my head.
By this time a guy pulls up in his car and asks the always stupid, but very welcome, question, “Are you ok?”
“Well, so far, yeah, amazingly enough.”
“I’m pretty sure my rear tire blew as I was coming through the curve….it was either ditch it or eat the mailbox.” Did I mention that the mailbox is one o’ those nice redneck metal boxes on a nice metal stand set in concrete?
The guy whistles, “Wow, how fast were ya goin’?”
I have to think for a minute, “Well, I went into the curve doin’ mebbe 60, but most likely 55…by the time the front wheel touched grass I’d guess I was doin’ 45, 50? By the time I flipped off I’d be willing to be I was doin’ at least 35.”
Now a guy from up the road shows up on a quad, tailed by his brother on another quad. They help me roll #5 the few yards to the driveway of the house I’d just crashed in front of.
The first thing I do after assessing #5’s damage is to open my backpack, check the high-dollar Thom Bien laptop bag, and drag out my Mac. Halleleujah! Not a scratch, ding, or dent on it! Flip it open and it powers right up. THANK YOU, GOD!
So, left mirror is shattered and the mirror arm is broken, left blinker assembly is snapped clean off, windshield is in 6 pieces, the handlebars look like a failed Mobius strip, my rear rack mounts are bent skyward at a crazy angle and the safety switch won’t engage (so the BR won’t start).
There’s one scrape on my helmet, but other than that it looks perfect. Grass stains on my jeans at both knees. Dirt and crud on the right shoulder and arm and side of my Fieldsheer jacket. And on my armored PowerTrip gloves? Nary a scuff.
I call Diane at work, “Hey. Um, is there any way you could leave work?”
“Well, I just crashed.”
“Crashed….what!? Are you ok? Where are you? I’ll call you right back!”
So Diane left work, drove the 26 miles home and grabbed my truck (fortuitously my trailer was already hooked to the truck) and drove the 28 miles to where I sat on the side of the road. I spent the hour and a half until she arrived examining my crash marks and looking over the scoot.
You know what’s really scary? Not being scared at all. No panic, no shakes after it was all over, no adrenaline rush or drop. Now that is weird.
Diane arrives and we load up a very sad looking #5. I crawl into the cab, fasten my seatbelt and Diane looks at me and says, “To the polling station?”
So I voted.