So there I was, talking crap last week about how you just shouldnít drop it hard, and what do I do? Go off and slide the fat pig down the fast lane on I-70 down on the last hill headed East into Denver last Saturday, with Tina on the back none-the-less.
Yea, no bueno.
So Tina and I headed up to Rollins Pass on Saturday Morning. Tina loves the wildflowers up there and she hasnít been on the KLR yet this summer, due to a super crazy schedule with school and all, and we are about to head off on a 6 week honeymoon ride here in a month or so; so we figured it would be good to get out. On our way up to the ďtopĒ, we got a flat. Oddly enough, it was only 2 miles after my bike turned 24,000 miles old and it was the first flat tire I have ever had on it. No biggie, I propped it up on a couple rocks and my kickstand and threw in my spare 21 into the rear 17. We do it all the time; George rode 4 days in Baja like that a couple years ago on his dirt bike; it shouldnít be a big deal.
With the tire fixed, we headed to the premature end, the snow covered one of the narrow cuts and blocked you out a few miles from where they have it blocked off. So we turned around, got some food at the Last Shot and then headed into Central City and out the little Jeep trail that leads down and out to the Saint Maryís Glacier road. Then we went into Idaho Springs and around the Mount Evans road and cut back over to I-70 on the windy residential road through the expensive houses in Genesee, and came out to I-70 again.
We then decided to head back; Tina wanted the direct route so I headed down on I-70 for a while. I was about to hop off and come down Lookout Mountain but decided to keep going on I-70. I almost got off at Morrison but didnít get over in time, so I went back to the left lane. It is either the far inside or the far outside right?
Right then I had a horrible feeling and remembered my 21 inch tube in my rear tire, and started thinking I really should have gotten off at Morrison. Not 3 seconds later I fell my rear tire start to shimmy, I knew right away what had happened. It was like I was expecting it.
So there I am going with traffic on the Saturday rush back to Denver in the fast lane, 55 mph according to the police report, and my rear tire goes flat. I got on the front brake as hard as I could in an effort to scrub off as much speed as possible. At first, it wasnít too bad but the more I slowed down the more the rear tried to pass the front, back and forth, back and forth. It probably flopped 10+ times in total before I couldnít hang on any longer. For some reason I usually low-side it on the left, not sure why but it feels more comfortable to me, this time I laid it on the right side and there we were sliding down the fast lane on I-70 in the middle of traffic. I am kneeling on the bike, practically surfing it, while it is sliding but I then look down and realize Tina is not completely out from under it so I jump off to run it out, just after that Tina dropped her elbow, slows down and separates from the bike.
I would assume we couldnít have been going much more than 25mph when I laid it over because we didnít slide for too long and I didnít fall on my face when I tried to run it out. I must have been able to wrestle it and scrub off a good amount of speed before I couldnít keep a hold of it.
I looked up the hill, after we all came to a stop and I made sure Tina was OK and off the road, and there was all of I-70 stopped there behind us, at a standstill looking straight down on us. They must have seen the bike flopping back and forth and slowed way down, I am incredibly thankful that they were paying attention and we werenít run over.
After we stopped I saw Tina moving over to the side of the road and she was OK so I picked up the bike and pushed it off the road with a huge smile, WE WERE OK!!!!! A couple guys behind us did us the favor of calling 911, they did the right thing but I wish they didnít, and a minute or two later the ambulance, fire, Golden police and state troopers showed up. Tina ended up with a raspberry on her lower back and some road rash on her elbow (her old-school MSR GoreTex Jacket didnít even have a hole in it though). But her pants did:
But I came out completely unscathed other than a defective vehicle ticket.
The cheap looking, flimsy plastic didnít fare too bad though:
But the handle-bar tip, what-ya-macall-it took a new shape:
I took a bit off my exhaust pipe:
And luckily my axle nut still came off:
After it happened, I called up ArvadaGeorge. For one, my parents were out of town, but George lives close, had tubes in his shop, brought full-sized tire irons, a jack and his compressor. I have known him as long as I can remember and even worked in his shop in high school, and he was happy to help. He was there in the median between the Morison on-ramp and the C-470 exit in 20 minutes and got me back on the road.
It was weird; the steering was even still straight. But my keys werenít so luck, they ended up falling out of my pocket and laid in the middle of I-70 for a minute or two:
Tina was a little shaken up so George gave her a ride to his house while I rode home to get the car. The craziest part was when I looked at the tube the next day. I saw this one on the side of the road:
But didnít notice this little guy till the next day:
Now I donít want to get all religious and sidetrack this little story about Alaska, but it is kind of hard not to get religious after something like that. Tina said my smile was as big as she has ever seen after we stopped, while I was pushing my bike off the road, and she asked me why. I said that I was just ecstatic that we were OK after what had just happened. I will just say that it makes you feel so helpless and out of control, no matter how much you want to be in control and plan ahead. The fact of the matter is that you canít control your birth and donít control your death, but it is easiest to forget how little control we have in the middle too. Like the analogy in church the next day, we are just a little dot in time, experiencing everything through a continuous series of moments. We can only see ourselves as a snapshot in this instance, and we have no clue what our next series of moments will have in store for us. There are a lot of different explanations on how this whole life and existence on this little blue planet happened and why it happen and I guess you have to choose one. I understand how people get so many negative feelings stirred up inside them over religion and point to all the horrible things done, distorted by the sinful flesh, in the name of Christianity. I suppose you have to choose something to believe in, and I, personally, have decided to choose the one that at the heart of it believes all you need for salvation, is a relationship with Him. Tina asked me what I thought about the situation and if I was scared and basically, I feel like Godís plan for me may be to die tomorrow, or at 95, either way I have no control over it and whether or not I decide to ride motorcycles in the meantime, His plan for me will not change. And for now, until my end, I will try and drink in every series of experiences to its fullest.
I will get back to the story soon, Tina is fine and we are still planning the honeymoon ride. She is a trooper. However, I came to the realization a while ago that there is just no way I am going to be able to finish this before we leave. I am probably not even half-way done yet and things are just going to get more hectic for me over the next month. But that is OK, thank you for coming along for the ride and I will figure out if I want to try and juggle two at a time or if I should just put this one on pause until winter. I figure there are plenty of other Alaska stories at the moment to keep you guys entertained anyhow.