Don's radio call back to me was two words: "BROKEN WRIST". NOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!
I back tracked about a mile or so along the ride and met up with the rest of the group. Strangely, no one was on the ground, writhing in pain. Everyone was calmly walking around and talking. Were they screwing with me?
Nope. Dano's wrist was clearly broken (doesn't take much of a rocket scientist to see when things are THAT badly out of whack. But he was already splinted up and the consensus was we needed to get Dano out of the mountains quickly. So...off we went with Dano riding his 610 with his right wrist severely broken.
Given the crazy up, down and snow we had come through, we decided to plow ahead into uncharted territory. The route would follow the ridge, then drop down a bit, climb back up, run the ridge and so on. Fortunately, the ups and downs were not as difficult as the first part and Dano was able to continue to ride on his own (although he did confide in me that he felt like vomiting most of the time).
Dano broke his wrist about 10 mile into the Freight loop, at about 9600'. It took us about an hour to go the next 12 miles to the gravel road that leads to Austin. Twisting the throttle gingerly with a broke wrist and using only a rear brake, he was able to make it out. Although at that point we still had 30 miles of gravel and hwy 50 to get into Austin...which is still no where.
So...when we made it to Hwy 50, we stopped and regrouped. We had one rider (Marc) who had dropped out of the group the day before due to some suspension problems with his bike. So as the group started toward Austin on Hwy 50, I stayed behind and called Marc.
As it turns out, he had a hotel room in Austin and was just about ready to check out. Perfect place to park Dano until we figured out a next step. I told Marc to hold the room, jumped on my 610 and burned down Hwy 50 to catch up to the group, now several miles ahead of me.
With no speed limit signs, I wound out the 610 trying to catch up. Hwy 50 is America's Loneliest Highway, right? And this is Nevada, the home of no laws, right? Apparently not. As I rounded the first turn close to Austin (you have to go up and over a range of hills to hit Austin), I saw two things: a) our group of riders stopped way ahead in the distance, and b) a Nevada state trooper in the foreground, already flipping on his lights to come after me. Great.
So for some reason, rather than continuing on to where the group had pulled over, I stopped short and started talking to the trooper. He got out of his cruiser, came up to me and immediately let me know that he clocked me at 70 in a 55 zone (I was surprised it wasnít a lot more). I politely stopped him, and pleaded my case -- I'm with the group ahead, was trying to catch up as I had information on where to take our injured rider. He switched gears immediately, dropped the speeding infraction dialog, and the two of us pulled forward a few hundred yards to going the group on the side of the road.
Getting the full low down on Dano's arm, he got back in his car and started making calls. Coming back to us, he had bad news and good news. Bad news -- no paramedic or emergency services in Austin, NV. The clinic had closed after both the paramedics quit. The good news was that the nearest full service hospital was in Battle Mountain, 100 miles to the north. Good news was that we had staged out of Battle Mountain and had our vehicles parked there.
So...after helping us figure out a next step, he graciously posed for the below picture. Great guy and great service...and no ticket!
After departing from our discussion with the trooper, we continued on to the room Marc had kept at the Austin motel (if you could call it that -- it was a subdivided single wide):
Then came the slog. With Dano resting comfortably in the hotel room, we had to figure out how to get everyone back to Battle Mountain. We decided to take the most street worthy bikes north, leaving the KTM 350 and 450 with Marc and Dano. So...leg one -- 100 miles of pavement on dual sport bikes from Austin to Battle Mountain.
Then, leg two -- Greg and I jumped in his truck/trailer and drove the 100 miles back to Austin.
Then, leg three -- Greg, Marc, Dano and I drove ourselves and the bikes back to Battle Mountain. Ug.
We finally arrived at the hospital in Battle Mountain about 8pm, IIRC. They x-rayed Dano's arm and...yep...it was broken (duh). But...they couldnít set it. So...they splinted him up, gave him the x-ray and some pain pills and sent him on his way.
The final resolution for Dano and the group was for Marc to drop out of the trip, drive Dano to Reno, where he would catch a flight home, then Marc continued on back to his home in Medford. More on the outcome of Dano's injury a little later.
So...as day three came to a close, we were trying to determine how to resume the trip with two less riders and a re-starting point back where we had started.
As a riding buddy says, "The adventure begins when things donít go as planned"!