The range of emotions that I’m experiencing is overwhelming, not to mention the physical pain of my current injuries. It’s hard NOT to think that God is trying to tell me something. I’m 66 years old and I don’t need this! I’ve got a wonderful wife, beautiful kids, and amazing grand children.
WHAT. THE. HELL. AM. I. DOING?
On the other hand, I LOVE this experience so much. It brings me joy and has connected me to friends I would have never met without it. I knew the risks when I started, so it would be pretty hypocritical to just admit, “yeah, you guys are right, this is TOO dangerous and I don’t have any business out here.”
But then again, maybe I DON’T have any business out here.
What happened to me this week could have happened in my car, driving the interstate. I could have been blindsided by another vehicle at an intersection and killed. Each and every day we encounter risks in life and to enjoy my life to the fullest, “fear” cannot rule me.
It doesn’t mean I have to be stupid, (which many of my friends think I am for being a biker) but I’ve logged over 150,000 miles in four years and through it all, I think I’m the luckiest guy in the world.
This week, I cheated death!
As the seasons are changing, the days we have to ride are becoming fewer and fewer. On this particular Sunday, it was expected to be sunny and in the mid sixties. A group of us were going to get together for an afternoon ride. The plan was to meet after church and take in a couple of hours of Tennessee/Kentucky back roads.
I got my bike out and cleaned it up a bit, then took off to my friend (and life saver) Jay’s house. I had a couple of loose connections on the bike that I knew he could help me with. After a quick fix, I went and had a bite of lunch before we all met up. To kill some time, I buzzed around the neighborhood back roads and to my delight, the weather was absolutely perfect!
Jay Christopher and his wife Sue, David Bearden, Matt Moriarty and myself took off down highway 48/13 where we would plan to ride the ‘baby dragon,” Tn 232, and then double back through Dover, Tn where we would head back through Bumpus Mills, Tn, on into Kentucky. We would take Ky 139 over to 164 through Lafayette, Ky, then to Hopkinsville, Ky and home.
It’s a route I’ve ridden MANY times and is absolutely beautiful! I’ve ridden it ALONE too many times to count. And don’t think I haven’t thought about THAT a million times since the accident.
You’re lost out in the countryside with rolling hills, and beautiful turns and gorgeous Kentucky farmland. On this day, I would be grateful for having other bikers with me.
I remember as we came off of the baby dragon, which is named after the actual Tail of the Dragon for it’s many turns and sweepers, Matt pulling up next to me and saying, “great job back there for an old man!”
On into Dover where Matt split from the group to head home, while the rest of us continued on our route home. We slipped through Bumpus Mills and continued on our way. Once we crossed the Kentucky state line, for some stupid reason, I decided I wanted to ride without my helmet, so I slipped it off and put it in my saddlebag.
I remember throughout the day noticing how many deer were laying along the side of the road. It was an unusual number, but it reminded me that they were out there. Maybe it’s mating season, I don’t know, but you’re constantly looking for them.
We were clipping along nicely and there wasn’t much traffic. As the leader of the group, I was constantly searching for “interference.” The rest of the group was as well. The ride was everything we wanted. We were riding at a good pace, beautiful weather and everything we live for on the back of a motorcycle.
Then I saw him. In my mind, he was about fifty yards off into the field. A huge buck tracking his way towards the highway. I came out of the throttle, hit my brakes, and geared down to avoid him. I felt I had time to stop to avoid him, or at the very least, swerve around behind him as he crossed the road.
In reality, he was on me as soon as I spotted him. As I tried to avoid him, the last thing I remember was that “crunch” of the front of my bike making contact. It’s a sound I will NEVER forget.
I don’t remember much of anything after that.
I slid over 200 feet, separated from my bike as the bike continued down the road on it’s own. When I came to rest, my pants had been ripped down, I had a huge gash in my forehead and was unconscious.
The next memory I have was being loaded into the back of an ambulance, struggling to breathe, and headed to the emergency room. I had been laying along the side of the road for 40 minutes before paramedics arrived.
It was during that time that Jay Christopher, firefighter and first responder, worked feverishly to save my life!