Close Call.

So last week I traded in my old Kawasaki Vulcan for a new Indian FTR. Fantastic bike, handles and rides like a dream. Plenty of power (still getting used to that). Today I had no work, so I decided to take the bike out into the hills again north of Dahlonega, GA. I got a new app on the phone where folks can share nice rides, so I grabbed a nice 100 mile loop.

Absolutely beautiful ride. I’d been taking my time, but then I started running very low on fuel. I stopped to chat with another rider to see if there were any stations up ahead, and thankfully I came upon a small store in Blairsville that had a few small pumps out front. Score! I stopped in to pay and also picked up some “Georgia Peach Jalapeno Preserves” amongst a few other treats.

So I took a break, drank a Monster, took in the fresh air and views, then hopped back on the bike. I think I made it about 10 miles from the store when it happened. I came around a sweeping curve doing maybe 30-35 mph, nothing crazy. If I had been speeding, what happened next would have killed me.

I approached the curve, but got a little too close to the shoulder. I hit some loose gravel and lost the bike. Within moments, the bike was horizontal, sliding across the grassy shoulder, as was I. After roughly 150 feet, I slid to a stop. I heard my bike stall out roughly 15 feet away from me. Shaking off the cobwebs I tried to figure out what the heck just happened.

Then I looked at where I was. I was at the precipice of a steep dropoff, and so was my bike. We’d come to a stop within inches of a 150+ foot drop into a ravine with a stream. I immediately began to pray and thank Jesus for saving my life. Had I been speeding, we both would have cleared that edge and who knows what would have happened.

From the shoulder where I went off and laid the bike down to roughly where it ended up.

So there I was, walking around, staring at my bike, looking at the ravine, completely in shock. A couple approached on a bike, slowed when they saw me, and then I dropped down flat on my back. They stopped and I slowly got up. No signal on any of our phones. Much of what happened over this period is a blur now, but the man rode off and left his wife with me while he went to make a call.

Several other cars stopped to ask, apparently most of them also called for help when they got signal. The ambulance came first and gave me a quick once over, my shoulder hurt as did my foot, but I had full range of motion so I declined going to the hospital (for now). The sherrif’s deputy showed up next, took down my info and I explained what I thought happened.

TBH, the entire accident seemed almost surreal, slow motion. I saw the curve, I felt the bike was going too close to the shoulder, and then I was sliding, out of control, who knows where my bike was. The bike still ran despite the damage, and I needed to get to an area where I could call for roadside assistance. The radiator was damaged and the bike began to overheat.

Windscreen shattered, radiator bent, fork bent, cooling fan damaged, shift pedal bent, mirror snapped off…

I had to stop a couple times to let it cool before going again. Eventually I found myself at a visitor center, where another family from Mississippi had stopped for a brief respite. They asked if I was ok (covered in dirt, obviously exhausted, bike was a mess), thanked God that I was ok and prayed for me. I eventually got through to my insurance co and did the needful.

Another rider on a very large sport touring bike also stopped to see if I was ok, he and his daughter had been riding all morning by that point. We had a great conversation, and discovered that he owns one of the restaurants in the corporate park where I work. I’ve got a feeling should I ever build the nerve to tackle those roads again I’ll have a few folks to join.

So I stood outside for roughly an hour waiting for the flatbed to arrive, the driver quickly loaded the bike on the back, and we had some good conversation as we headed out of the mountains. Eventually we got near my home and I had him drop me off at a Waffle House so I could call an Uber. (Uber rules BTW). The driver who picked me up was from Brooklyn!

He’d ridden a motorcycle once, when he was 10. He fell off, never looked back. Almost can’t blame him right now as I sit here in quite a bit of pain. I’m grateful right now though. It could have been worse but I know that God was with me through it all. It was a bad accident – but I’m alive. People could have ignored me, but they all stopped to check. Total strangers.

Even well after the accident, as I stood by my crippled ride at a visitor center, total strangers stopped to ask if I was ok. Some offered food, drink, Aleve (shoulda taken that). Others conversation and future opportunities to ride. The friendliness and generosity in this state I’ve move to continue to blow my mind, every single day. Whether on the checkout line, or getting back on my feet. The people of Georgia are wonderful neighbors.

So are the folks of the Philippines. I had to call AT&T so I could get the porting of my old Verizon line over to AT&T sorted out. I wound up talking to a very nice woman based out of their call center in the Philippines, who asked me how my day was… I gave her the cliffs notes, but again – wound up having a fantastic conversation (along with getting my phone sorted)…

She prayed for me, and thanked God that I was OK.

What a day. What a close call. Thank you GOD for keeping me safe.

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