I remember being a kid on the school bus, seeing a crotch rocket and falling in love. I would always wave and smile at motorcyclists when the bus would stop next to one at a light. It has been my dream to own such a machine for a very long time. When I got out on my own at age 18, I went on a car buying frenzy. I remembered my motorcycle dream but never committed the money to purchasing one. Towards the end of 2013, I came across a great deal. A friend of mine named Paul was tired of making his payments and wanted out. I was sent up to Alaska for work that winter. When I returned, I told him that I would buy the bike. In February 2014, I handed him the cash, took the bike and was on my way.
I had ridden dirtbikes quite often from age 16 – 19, so I thought a motorcycle would be easy enough to ride. My first ride from Paul’s house to my at-the-time girlfriends house was a 30 min drive down the freeway. February in the Seattle area is not what you would describe as motorcycle weather. The initial ride went fine, albeit cold, until I got to the street my girlfriend lived on. Her road was uphill, and covered in snow. Talk about an introduction to my first day riding. I put 1,000 miles on that bike in the first 7 days, in 30 degree weather.
I remember riding down the freeway with traffic for my first time. I was going 50 mph on the shoulder line. I felt like Ricky Bobby after his accident on the track.
Seattle motorcycle riders typically ride June – August. I rode year round. I was in love. I have ridden in every single weather condition Seattle has to offer, including snow and ice, multiple times. It must be in my DNA. My mom of all people rode her motorcycle over 70k miles on Whidbey Island in her earlier years.
July 2015 a group of 10 friends rode down 101 thru Washington and Oregon. The trip was a week long. Here is a photo of my friend Richard and I crossing over the Astoria-Megler Bridge.
On the 2nd to last night of our trip, I had an accident. We had setup camp at Cape Disappointment State park, then gone into Long Beach for dinner. Everyone at dinner had 1 beer except for myself. I like to blame the fact that I wasn’t relaxed on my accident. Doh. I was leading the pack of motorcycles thru the windy roads of the Park. It was a perfect concoction of things having gone wrong. There was a mist in the air which made it hard to see thru my visor, the sun had set but it wasn’t yet fully dark, there was loose gravel on the road, and I used too much rear brake. I ended up fishtailing, correcting, fishtailing again and going off the road. My bike went down, and I slid 90 feet. (I went back to the scene later and measured). I was lucky because the corner has a scenic pullout, so I slid into the parking lot. I slid all the way across the center of the parking lot, and into the yield sign when you merge back onto the road. Well whomever installed that sign did a damn good job. The base of that post was a metal triangle and it was solid. The force of the impact was a straight line drive thru my muffler, my oil pan and right up into my spine. I remember as I was sliding thru the dirt, thinking to myself “well this sucks but at least I’m ok” and then BAM! I was laying there, and it hurt to move. My hands, arms, legs, and toes all checked out. I knew something was wrong but didn’t know what.
There was a small town hospital less than 2 miles away, so the ambulance was to the scene in minutes. Here is my advice: never get injured in the town of Ilwaco. Literally 45 minutes after having crashed, I was on a gurney and next to an MRI machine. The lady who worked the machine was probably a very kind grandma. By that I mean she was old, and didn’t have the strength to move me from the gurney to the machine. She asked me if I could move myself. I remember the pain of scooting myself over. At this point I still did not know what was wrong.
I completely shattered my L5 vertebrae. I had to be transferred by ambulance to Tacoma because this shitty hospital was ill equipped to handle my injuries. I don’t know if anyone has every personally shattered a vertebrae, but let me tell you that a 4 hour ambulance ride down a bumpy country highway is one of the worst pains ever.
I was in the hospital for a total of 5 days. When the specialist talked to me post-op, he told me that I was lucky to not be paralyzed. Apparently fragments of my spine were kissing my spinal cord. I was close.
So naturally I ordered a new exhaust system, a Power Commander for more horsepower because why not, and a new oil pan, from the hospital. My friend Richard was riding directly behind me when I crashed. He, and his family, took me in during my period of recovery. I shipped the parts to his house, and he went to work on my bike. My brother had driven out to the park, picked up by bike and returned it to Richard’s for me while I was in the hospital. Less than 2 weeks after my accident, my bike was done and Richard took it to my house. I grabbed my helmet and took it for about a 2 mile ride. Every bump in the road sent pain shooting up my spine. I knew that if I didn’t get back on the horse, I might become too scared to ride again. I let the bike sit for the next 2 months, didn’t tell anyone and went riding all afternoon. I was in pain for awhile when I rode, but nothing could stop me. The entire next year I would get PTSD-style flashbacks when I approached a corner. I still to this day get flashbacks on the occasion.
Like I said, nothing is going to stop me tho. I bought this bike with 4,000 miles on the odometer and just sold it today with 31,563 miles.
Earlier this spring I was riding on I5 in Tacoma. I was near the Dome where they have been doing construction work for the last 30 years…. At the exact moment I glanced over at the Dome, grandpa in front of me decided now would be a great time to slam on his brakes. If you have problems driving, please stay in the old folks home or call an Uber. Our DOL is so fucked, they make it impossible for kids to get a license yet let old people drive who have no business even walking.
After that accident, I decided to let the bike go. I got every pennies worth out of that bike. I have so many amazing memories. This isn’t the end for motorcycles at all. I am going to purchase an enduro style bike next, think of a street legal dirtbike. I want to do more off road exploring.
I wish I could find a photo of my gas tank. I bought a huge sparkly sticker that said “Don’t F*cking Die” and put it right where I could see it every time I sat down.
This isn’t the end of my street bike adventures. Next time I am going to purchase an R6, I want something faster than this bike. Who knows when I will make that dream a reality.
Hydrogen Peroxide Therapy Update: today I am on 12 drops per 80z glass. I mentioned getting a cold with some sniffles. That blew over pretty quickly. I can’t prove that this therapy helped, or how severe the sickness would have been without it. What I do know is that my stomach is getting pretty grumbly with this many drops. The recommendation is to maintain a steady level of drops until you acclimate. I’ll try 12 drops tomorrow as well and see how I feel.
Thank you for tuning into my story. Lets hear some of your motorcycle stories, or a crazy injury you were able to bounce back from. After my accident, I became a much more health conscious person. I am thankful for my current state of health and keep improving it with each new technique I learn. I am giving up more and more processed foods, practicing yoga and more. It has been over 3 years since that accident. The long term effects are basically sitting. I don’t do well sitting on stools, benches, or anything without a back rest. I also have difficulty sleeping on my side now. These are small adjustments to make in life, realistically I could be much worse off.
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