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One Year Ago Today

I was found lying unconscious in the middle of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

My GPS log from the day:

167	10:12:33 AM 	3041 ft			359 ft	0:00:05	49 mph	109° true	N36 49.932 W80 20.123
168	10:12:38 AM 	3019 ft			0.1 mi	0:00:08	49 mph	116° true	N36 49.913 W80 20.053
169	10:12:46 AM 	3000 ft			67 ft	0:00:05	9 mph	111° true	N36 49.872 W80 19.948
170	10:12:51 AM 	2998 ft			0 ft	0:10:48	0 mph	0° true	N36 49.868 W80 19.935

49 mph to 9 mph to 0 mph. The 67 ft I’m guessing is the distance my bike and I skidded, tumbled and bounced down the parkway.

I never saw the deer. I’m guessing he didn’t see me either, until it was too late for both of us.

I remember nothing about the accident. A blur coming from the right? Maybe.

I opened my eyes to see three older men standing around me asking if I was OK. I’m guessing at this point the answer is “No”.

The rest was a blur…

  • Being strapped to a board.
  • A brief ambulance ride.
  • Hearing a helicopter.
  • Being loaded into the helicopter.
  • Realizing the paramedic in the copter was VERY cute.
  • Being disappointed she wouldn’t honor my request to tilt the chopper so I could see out the window.

Hospital. X-Rays. Pain medication.

At some point Brenda and my father-in-law showed up (I was in Roanoke, VA). The next day I was bandaged up and sent home.

At home it was another trip to the hospital. Some pins in the hand, a plate on the collarbone and a few weeks (months?) sleeping in a recliner.

The Recovery

Lots of physical therapy! My shoulder feels fine although it still is weird feeling the plate in there. My hand is probably back to 90%. It is stiff and I’m still exercising it. One of the good things to come out of this is I do try to stretch and exercise a bit every morning.

The Damages

  • Collarbone - broken in two places.
  • Hand bones - mangled.
  • Bike - totalled.
  • Riding suit - not too bad but the paramedics cut it off me - totalled.
  • Gloves - missing one (from my mangled hand?)

And I can’t remember anything that happened at Easter (lots of Percocet)

Still Riding?


Have I mentioned how great my wife is?

The Gear

  • New bike: BMW R1100GS (w/ABS)
  • Helmet: Same as the last one. I figure it worked so why change? Shoei RF1100
  • Gloves: I did get some better gloves with more protection. I’m still not sure what I did to cause the damage to my hand, and if better gloves would have prevented the injuries.

Lessons Learned

  • If I had not been wearing a helmet I’d be dead. ATGATT
  • If I had not been wearing my Aerostich I would have sustained worse injuries - I had no road rash!
  • If I had left the campground 5 minutes earlier or 5 minutes later none of this would have happened.

Thanks To

  • Whoever found me on the Parkway.
  • The paramedics who got me to the hospital.
  • The cute girl in the helicopter.
  • The folks at the campground who gathered up all my gear and got it back to me.
  • The guy on my motorcycle mailing list who brought my bike home from the mountains.
  • My doctors and physical therapists.
  • Friends, family, neighbors who supported my family.
  • My wife.

Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!