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Old 08-25-2013, 03:38 PM   #1
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Joined: Oct 2007
Location: Tacoma, WA-ish
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FAIL! GS Sidecar Attempts the Continental Divide Trail -- with dog

This is a recap of a RR previously posted in HACKS.

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On July 25, Kirby and I headed out to the Bigfoot Rally about 550 miles from home. After the Rally, our plan was to ride the Great Divide Route (or GDR, aka the CDT or Continental Divide Trail) from Banff to Mexico so we were packed for a 30-day camping trip--

Took FR37 over Baldy Pass from Winthrop to Conconully--

Took a ride up Duncan Lake. Not a soul within 10 miles of here. Pretty much unspoiled wilderness--

Lunchtime view north up the lake treading water 30' from shore (it was hot!)--

Next day we did a VERY spirited ride to Sandon on Rt 31A then headed up to the viewpoint on Idaho Peak--

When you ride uphill to a dead end you gotta come back down again--

July 29--the last day of the Bigfoot Rally, I partnered up with Kel from Colorado with his KLR rig and we headed north.

Breakfasted at The Treehouse in Kaslo then Rt. 31A to New Denver and up Rt. 6 alongside Slocan Lake and Upper Arrow Lake to the Galena Bay ferry. The view looking north from the ferry--

Followed Rt. 23 to Revelstoke and had a late picnic lunch in a park. Then went looking for a campsite somewhere on the way to Golden. Scenery near Revelstoke--

We found a nice campsite in Glacier National Park right off the Trans-Can Highway and went to bed early. Did 200 miles that day.

GDR Day 2-Revelstoke to Canmore

July 30-Woke up to temps in the 40's () and headed up the Trans-Can to Golden. I was carrying a brand new Vredestein Snow+ rear tire (the original rear wheel from my GS was moved to the sidecar, and replaced with a car wheel and tire) and I wanted to mount it up before we started the gravel portion of the GDR. Found a great Kal-Tire shop in Golden that swapped out the tire for me no charge. Here's the guy--

I had some last minute supplies to shop for in Golden and Kel was anxious to see Banff, so we split and made plans to rendezvous later that day. Moments later, it started raining and it didn't quit all day. The ride from Golden to Banff is supposed to be the most scenic section on the Trans-Can but we got to see nothing but grey clouds and rain! So . . . no pics of the Canadien Rockies!

Arrived in Banff and couldn't find Kel. Wandered around cold and wet (temps now in the 50's!) but no luck--Banff is big! Anyway, decided to head up to Mt. Norquay which is where Cannonshot thinks the GDR should start--

Then drove over to the famous Banff Springs Resort that the Adventure Cycling Association considers the GDR launching point--

Banff is crowded with tourists and not much fun in the rain (and cold) so I decided to follow the GDR to Canmore and find a motel where I could hole up and reconnect with Kel. Found a really great motorcycle-friendly place called the Rocky Mountain Ski Lodge and got a hot shower.

205 miles this day, all on pavement, including at least 2 hours in Golden on the tire change and three hours in Banff.

GDR Day 3-Canmore to Crowsnest Pass

Finally some gravel! Kel had holed up in Banff that night so he rode down to my ski lodge then we headed south on the Spray Trail through the Spray Valley Provincial Park. Was 32 degrees in Canmore that morning but we quickly climbed up through the clouds and into the sunlight where it was warmer and the scenery was fabulous--

This road was so perfectly graded that you could take a Greyhound bus on it. In fact, we actually DID see a Greyhound bus full of Japanese tourists on this stretch of road--

Unfortunately, 45 miles south of Canmore we ran into this--

This is the start of the Kananaskis Trail and it was closed due to flood damage. Big disappointment since we were going to follow this trail all the way to Crowsnest Pass. Instead, we were forced to make a U-turn, drive north all the way to the Trans-Can, take the Trans-Can east to Calgary, then down the Cowboy Trail (Rt.22) to Crowsnest which was a 200-mile detour all on pavement. Boo! And we were out on the plains instead of up in the mountains. We did try several different dirt roads to get us back on the trail south of the flood damage, but they were ALL closed due to the flooding.

We camped at Alberta Lake on Rt. 3 near Crowsnest Pass. 283 miles.

GDR Day 4-Crowsnest Pass to Red Meadow

In the morning, Kel and I split up. Kel decided to pick his own way back to his home in Colorado while I stayed on the trail. Started out by taking Cannonshot's advice to go visit the historic town of Elkford and found a nice gravel road that went up that way--

But before I got to Elkford, I hit this slide and had to turn around. Doesn't look like much, but there was no way over or around--

Paved roads to Fernie, then got on the gravel again-Lodgepole River Rd-from there to Elko to Lake Kookanusa where Kirby stopped for a swim--

Crossed the border at Roosville, south to Eureka on FR3440 (Eureka Airport Road), and stopped in town there for groceries. Then back on gravel up to Bald Pass on FR 114--

On the other side of the pass, I got my first look at Glacier National Park (the one in Montana)--

Stopped at the Polebridge Mercantile for one of their famous bear claws (not so great), then took FR 115 to Red Meadow where we camped for the night--

The thing about camping next to a lake in August is that unless you want to feed the entire mosquito population in the vicinity you set up your tent with you riding gear on . . . including gloves . . . including helmet! They were vicious! As soon as I got the poles up Kirby went right to the tent door and asked to be let inside. He stayed in there, free from bugs, while I finished getting the tent up and the sleeping gear unpacked.

As I was doing this, I could see my rear tire was going flat, but I was dammed if I was gonna fix it in the middle of a mosquito banquet, so I got inside the tent, fixed some supper for me and the Kirbs, and set my watch alarm for 5am.

233 mile day.
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:46 PM   #2
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GDR Day 5-Red Meadow to Seeley Lake

Aug 2nd--This was actually a good day but for some reason I pretty much forgot to take any pictures. Stupid! Anyway, I did get up at 5am and there were no mosquitoes. Found half of a rusty cotter pin in my rear tire--

Pretty easy fix (I use gummy worms) and we were packed up and on the road before sunup. Saw my first moose of the trip soon after near Whitefish Lake (no picture), then met up with fellow inmate ChaosinMT (no pic) near Kalispell for a hot shower and a water resupply with some of his great tasting well water. Kinda rainy day with daytime temps in the 50's.

At this point I decided my front wheel was ready to be re-tired and I stopped in Kalispell for a TKC80 from Penco Motorsports. Also bought a new bulb for my headlight and noticed that I'd blown the seals on the sidecar shock. Got on the phone to Jay and had him send a new shock to a friend of mine who was planning to meet up with me in a few days.

Finally got on the trail again around 2pm, in the rain, and drove south on a variety of gravel roads west of Swan Lake and the Swan River Valley (no pics). By 6pm I was tired and wet and decided to go find a room somewhere. But then a funny thing happened. In the parking lot of the motel, the sun came out, and the roads started to steam, and I decided that this was the best weather I'd seen all day. So I got back on the trail and rode another 2 hours on some beautiful gravel roads to Seeley Lake in the late day golden daylight. Those two hours were special. NO PICS!!!!

Despite the flat tire at Red Meadow, and the stop in Kalispell for a shower and a new tire, still managed to do 224 miles that day. Also, ta-ta-DAH, got 270 miles from one tank of gas--it took 7.7 gallons when I filled it (35mpg). My rig definitely gets good mileage when I keep the speed down to 30-35 mph which is my typical speed on gravel.

GDR Day 6-Seeley Lake to Butte

Crossed the Continental Divide four times this day and did 243 miles. Not bad! Left Seeley Lake around 9am and headed to Ovando on a very pretty gravel road called the Cottonwood Lakes Road. Ovando is very small but has this cool little cafe--

Continued along the GDR to the Huckleberry Pass Road but found it to be closed (forgot to take pic here, as usual.) Since Cannonshot had said this was one of the more punishing sections of the route, I was not upset at all. Spoke with a local rancher and he suggested an alternate route that worked out great--Cooper Lake Rd back to Rt. 200 then over the Herrin Lake Rd to Fields Gulch where I picked up the GDR again.

So far on the trip the only strenuous gravel I'd done was over Bald Pass east of Eureka. I say "strenuous" because it wasn't really technically challenging--more like just a lot of work. Tiring. Anyway, from Fields Gulch on up to the Granite Butte Lookout the road became strenuous once again--

This road was too rugged for 3rd gear. It was mostly 2nd gear but there was also some 1st gear sections. From atop the lookout we had some nice 360 views of the area and tremendous winds! I've done a bit of sailing so I can guesstimate wind speeds pretty well and I'd say that the wind up there was a steady 35-40mph with gusts over 50. The lookout is NOT tall, but still needs heavy wire guylines to keep it grounded. I could feel the whole thing shake with every wind blast--

Had an interesting experience here (ladies, cover your eyes for this part.) Needed to take a whiz, and I did, but was surprised to see that the rocks at my feet were completely dry when I was finished. This because the wind turned my pee to vapor before it could hit the ground!

I crossed the Continental Divide on pavement up near Banff, and again at Crowsnest Pass, but my first crossing on gravel was right around there somewhere so I memorialized it with a selfie--

I thought the toughest part of the day's ride was over, but I was wrong. As I went up Lost Horse Rd and over Priest Pass I sometimes felt like Charlie Brown and the football, where the road itself was Lucy. Lucy would keep saying to me, "Go ahead and shift up into 2nd. It's OK. I won't be bad again. You can go faster." So then I'd shift into 2nd and BLAM! she'd pull the football away and I'd have to drop back down into 1st! This went on and on. I enjoyed it--it was fun--pretty much on the pegs the whole way--but very slow going--

Selfie at Divide crossing #2 on Lost Horse Road--

Priest Pass and selfie because this was crossing #3--

By the way, if you are afraid of cattle, don't try doing the GDR. Lots of free range cattle on the road. When you see them up close, you realize why they survive so well in the backcountry despite predators like wolves and cougars. It's because they're so blasted BIG! A 6-month old black angus calf might weigh as much as 500 lbs and a 2 year old heifer can be around 1200 lbs. This is not easy prey for a 200 lb cougar. Anyway, I found the best strategy for dealing with the stubborn ones was to approach them steadily in 1st gear but to steer towards their rump. If they were facing me, I'd stop and lurch and blast the horn until they turned, then creep towards their rump. Here is a pic of three calfs that were very stubborn and it took me nearly 5 minutes to get all three of them to give way and turn tail--

Once over Priest Pass the road improves and it was an easy descent to Rt. 12 where the GDR takes you into Helena. But it was only mid-afternoon and I had no need to see Helena so I turned south on the Rimini Road (sorta rhymes with "Gemini") and then took the turn-off to the Chessman Resevoir. I started to regret this decision when I found myself on a very steep and narrow rocky trail with no place to turn around. Getting wheelspin in 1st gear standing on the pegs when I ran into this interesting-looking gent about my age out rambling--

First of all, he couldn't believe I'd made it up the trail this far (of course, he knew nothing about GS hacks and their capabilities), but he said that if I'd made it this far I should keep going just a little ways farther to the top of the hill where the road flattens out and gets better. He was right--made it to the top in one piece and the road around the reservoir was doable in 2nd gear.

Shortly I rejoined the GDR and decided to take a route called the "Boulder Alternative" which is part of the GDR but avoids a challenging section. It was getting late in the day and I didn't feel like another challenge. Quickly discovered that the Boulder Alternative was not only NOT easy, it was nearly impassable with mudholes 30 feet wide with water up to my axles. Finally gave up on it, and motored the last 30 miles to Butte on the interstate. Managed to cross for a 4th time though--

Found a moto-friendly motel (the Capri Motel) in Old Butte, got some dinner at the Hennessy Market, and collapsed into bed at 9pm. This was a great day!

GDR Day 7-Butte Rest Day

Aug 4-I woke up feeling still pretty whupped by the GDR workout I'd had the day before and decided to take a rest day. Of course, wouldn't you know the weather would be fantastic--clearly the nicest day since I'd left Tacoma. But I'd made my decision and in retrospect it was a good one. I was tired. Spent the day lolling around, gave Kirby a bath then we went for a long walk, did my laundry, took care of some maintenance items on the rig, and motored around historic Butte for a while.

Butte has a long and proud history of mining. Mostly copper. In the early part of the 20th century, one quarter of the world's copper supply (yes--the world!) came from Butte mines. And the mines are actually in Butte--not like 20 miles away but actually in the city limits. There is only one mine still operating ("The Pit") which more or less defines the eastern edge of the city.

Here are a few pics from in and around Butte--

GDR Day 8-Butte to Red Rock Lake

Aug 5-I uploaded 73 pics from this day so I must have done a lot. I won't post them all here, but I expect this post to be a long one.

We rolled out of the Capri parking lot a 6:20am, 45 and clear, and headed down Highland Road towards the town of Divide. What a special time that was! Riding before sun up (sunrise came at about 7am) on a great road through patches of ground fog, crossing the Divide (#5), then emerging out of the forest and into the first sagebrush field we'd seen--

From Divide to Wise River the GDR goes over Mt Fleecer. Tough on a mountain bike, dangerous on a motorcycle, ill-advised on a sidecar rig. So here is my picture of the Mt. Fleecer section of the ride--

Doesn't look too scary from here!

We stopped somewhere south of Wise River for breakfast that I'd bought the day before--

Mixed pavement and gravel south through the Grasshopper Valley and on to Polaris, still a beautiful scenic road--

Where the Polaris Road tee's into Rt. 278 I ran into my first fellow FF-GDR rider. This is Richard from Yreka--

Seventy-nine years old and doing the GDR as a solo rider on his KLR. And my friends think that I'm adventurous! He bought the KLR just for this ride because he didn't think that the 1200GS that he rode to Alaska last year was the right bike for this ride! Most of you guys can only wish you were half as tough as this guy. Cool dude.

Next stop was the Bannock Ghost Town. I was really looking forward to Bannock but when I got to the turn off--

The state hired a private security guy to keep people out and to show us instead the pictures of the flood that had deluged Bannock only two weeks before--

Pretty boring job so I stopped and chatted with him awhile before pushing off south towards the Medicine Creek Valley--

Kirby saw his first pronghorns along this section. He got pretty excited--

Typically, I only got a pic of them leaving the vicinity.

Medicine Creek dumps into Big Sheep Creek and the GDR follows this drainage for quite a ways. Saw my first non-coastal Bald Eagle here (we have lots of eagles around Tacoma)--

Eventually, Big Sheep Creek dumps you out onto the frontage road next to I-15 and I got gas at this cafe--

Get it? It's a cafe!

And saw this inviting establishment--

Rode on into the little town of Lima and as I started to head east out of town my linear actuator stopped working. This is the gizmo that some people call the electric trim or tilt adjuster. I turned around and found a interstate rest stop that was the perfect place to do some wrenching--

I couldn't troubleshoot the problem and decided that it was likely that I had burned out the electric motor on the actuator--maybe related somehow to the failed shock that I'd been riding on. Unbolted the bottom mount and turned the actuator shaft by hand until it was at a medium height, then bolted it back up again (sounds simple but I needed a crowbar and jack to get it.) This guy, Mr. Root from Watkins Glen NY, stopped to help, and he really was a big help. Really. Good guy--

Lost quite a bit of time with this breakdown but eventually around 6pm got back on the GDR headed east toward the Lima Reservoir over rolling hills of sage--

As the sun got low in the sky, we pushed hard to get to a campground in the Red Rocks Lake Wildlife Refuge--

Zipped up the tent at 10pm. 272 mile day even with the breakdown.
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:50 PM   #3
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GDR Day 9-Red Rock Lakes to Turpin Meadow

Aug 6-The campsite looked a little brighter in the morning--

This wildlife refuge has one of the world's largest populations of trumpeter swans and they were at it all night. Trumpeting I mean. Earplugs came in handy. Also spoke with one of the Conservation Rangers who told me that a fellow lost an arm in a grizzly attack three weeks earlier about 15 miles south of my campsite. Kinda glad I followed proper bear country protocol that night and stored all my food and trash in the campground's bear lock up.

Rolled out at 8am and headed towards Yellowstone National Park. Saw my first sign mentioning Yellowstone. Noticed that there was still some snow around here--

Stopped and ate breakfast here at Red Rock Pass (Divide crossing #6) which also marks the border between Montana and Idaho--

Then rode to Henry's Lake and Big Springs, Idaho--

Big Springs is really something to see. Every day 120 Million gallons of groundwater just welling up in the middle of nowhere--it's the source of the Henry's Fork which is a major river in this area. Here's a pic of the Henry's Fork only a few miles from Big Springs where of course Kirby had to go swimming--

Had to stop here because my linear actuator had wormed its way back down to the bottom stop knocking my trim all out of whack. I bought some hose clamps at a hardware store then began the laborious job of jacking up the rig, disconnecting the actuator, and hand screwing the shaft out to a neutral position, then I stacked the hose clamps around the shaft to keep it from backing down again. Fingers crossed I headed out again after about a 2-hr delay.

Next stop was a little touristy, but I wanted to see Mesa Falls--

From here I followed the Flagg Ranch Road to the Wyoming border where I entered Yellowstone Park and got my first glimpse of the Grand Tetons--

After Grassy Lake the Flagg Ranch Road turns into the Rockefeller Parkway. This parkway is not anything like the Garden State Parkway or the Blue Ridge Parkway--

The parkway ends at the Flagg Ranch on State Rt. 191 where you turn south on pavement toward Jackson Lake and Jackson, WY--

Unfortunately, this 15-mile stretch of pavement between Flagg Ranch and Moran Junction took me over an hour because of construction. I stared a hole in my GPS trying to find a dirt alternative but there wasn't one. Finally got to Moran Junction about 5pm and broke out of the stop-and-go tourist traffic by turning east on Rt. 26 and then northeast on the Buffalo Valley Rd. Yay! Back on the GDR and back on gravel!

186 miles this day including construction delays, sightseeing trips, and linear actuator repair. 2686 miles since leaving Tacoma.

The picture above was the last one I took before the crash.
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:52 PM   #4
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The Wreck--Part One

Before I begin describing what happened, I want to state a few observations and opinions--
  1. My sidecar outfit tips the scales at over 1350 lbs when rider, dog, and camping gear are on board--well over the recommended 1100-lb max load rating of an 1150GS Adventure.
  2. I drive my sidecar hard (ask around).
  3. I use my sidecar extensively on rough, uneven surfaces.
  4. The BMW telelever front suspension is an innovative and utterly reliable suspension when used on an ordinary leaning motorcycle where, essentially, all it has to do is go up and down.
  5. On a sidecar rig, the front forks are subjected to powerful lateral forces that are absent on a leaning motorcycle.
  6. The telelever is connected to the lower fork bridge by the ball joint. ALL the lateral forces that are generated during a sidecar turn are transmitted from the forks to the frame through the ball joint.
  7. If the ball joint connection fails, the telelever suspension fails.
  8. The BMW/OEM lower fork bridge on my 1150 was replaced by the previous owner at 50,000 miles with an aftermarket lower fork bridge that reduces trail and results in easier steering. There is no way to determine if this part was installed correctly. The only way to know if it gets done correctly is to do it yourself, or observe and verify as somebody else does it.
  9. If the ball joint is under-torqued, or over-torqued, or installed without high strength threadlocker, there will be a tendency for the connection between the ball joint and the lower fork bridge to fail due to metal fatigue.
  10. The outfit was driven for 23,000 miles after the steering modification was installed with no sign of any problem.

Note that the threads of the steel ball joint are filled with aluminum alloy, and that there are no threads remaining in the ball joint fitting on the lower fork bridge. What happened, simply, is that the ball joint pulled the threads out of the bridge. Once that occurred, all that was needed was the right (wrong?) suspension movement to dislodge the ball joint from the bridge.
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:58 PM   #5
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The Wreck--Part Two

Right after climbing up a series of steep but fast uphill twisties just south of the Buffalo Fork River on a well-graded gravel road called the Turpin Meadows Road, I reached a flat, straight stretch of road. I slowed down to about 30mph and began to cruise leisurely towards the intersection with U.S. Rt. 26 which was about one mile south.

My front wheel rolled over a small rock in the middle of the roadway, a rock that was no different than maybe 100 others I'd rolled over that day, and 100's of others I roll over every day I ride on backcountry roads. I even went back later to get a picture of this rock, and you can see that the grader has actually ground it down so that it almost even with the roadbed--

For whatever reason, this bump dislodged the ball joint from the lower fork bridge. The forks immediately slid forward as the telelever came crashing down on the front tire, trapping it and causing the front tire to begin skidding. The sudden deceleration combined with the collapse of the front end threw me forward toward the windscreen.

The front wheel then dished to the left all the way to the steering stop causing the telelever to drop another couple of inches and re-seize the tire. Now the bike started skidding left and my weight was thrown towards the sidecar. As I attempted to regain my balance, the motorcycle left the roadbed. First the front wheel went over the edge of the embankment, then the skidplate struck the ground, then the whole outfit skewed around 180 degrees from the original direction of travel as the sidecar flipped up in the air. The outfit then did a half flip, throwing Kirby clear, but throwing me to the ground before the rig landed on top of me.

Later, I went back and measure the front wheel skid. Here it is--

It was 50 feet from the stone bump to the exit. At a starting speed of 30mph, and a estimated exit speed of 20mph, this means that I went airborne off the side of the road about 1.3 seconds after hitting that bump. In other words, this whole thing happened in the blink of an eye! One second I'm toot-tooting along with not a care in the world, the next second I'm face first in the dirt about 8 vertical feet below the roadway with the rig on top of me.

The Wreck--Part Three

As the rig plunged off the side of the road and down the short embankment, I was thrown face first to the ground about 8 feet (vertically) from the road while Kirby was catapulted into the bushes some distance away. The upside down rig then landed on top of me impacting mostly on my left leg below the knee and the right side of my ribcage and shoulder. The wind got knocked out of me. I don't know if you've ever had your wind knocked out, but for me what happens is my brain retreats into a very primitive place where it is not aware of anything except for the need to breathe--no sensation of time, no sensation of pain, no vision, no awareness of my surroundings.

When I started breathing again, my vision returned, I crawled out from under and got to my hands and knees, then looked around. There was Kirby standing inches away staring intently at me! Next thing I did was to lay down on the top of the skid plate and carefully reaching down I found the keys, turned off the ignition, and removed the keys. Then I found my way up to the road.

About a half hour later a young couple from Boulder CO came by in their Subaru station wagon stuffed to the roof with their two young kids and camping gear for a week-long vacation. Somehow they made room for me and Kirby but there was no room for any of my stuff. I had to leave my CPAP equipment behind (which I sorely missed the next two days) and all my gear. But the rig was very difficult to see from the road so I thought there was a good chance that it would remain unmolested until I could return. If you were driving past here at 35 mph you'd never notice anything--

This young couple then drove me to the hospital in Jackson about an hour away. Leaving me there, they took Kirby and their kids and went in search of some dinner. They returned around 8:30pm to report that they had not been able to find a motel anywhere near Jackson so they had to go find a campsite somewhere. They planned to leave Kirby at the local shelter ! I did not hear this directly from them--they told this to my emergency room nurse, Kristen.

They had Kirby on a leash as they spoke to Kristen outside the emergency room entrance. Well, if Kirby is anything, he's a lady killer. He took one look at Kristen and started putting on all his best moves. Kristen of course was immediately smitten (really, she never had a chance!) and so she took Kirby from the young couple, called her husband on her cell, and had him come to the hospital to fetch the K-man. Kirby spent the next two days at her house entertaining her two daughters. Here's Kristen and one of her daughters two days later when she brought Kirby back--

I was in the emergency room for about 5 hours (there's always lots of idle time in an emergency room) and had time to make some calls. Called my wife, my buddy Snooker in Boulder, my other buddy Boxertwin in Boise, the County Sheriff, and Progressive Insurance. The Sheriff's Deputy came and interviewed me there at the hospital, wrote up his report, and wished me luck. Progressive got to work finding a tow truck. Snooker got onto ADV and asked around to see if there were any inmates near Jackson who could lend a hand. My wife called BT and the two of them started making plans.

After the x-rays and CT scan came back showing no internal injuries and no broken bones, an orderly took me in a wheelchair two blocks down the street from the hospital to the Hitching Post Lodge where Kristen had made arrangements for a room (no dogs allowed.) I was able to walk a few steps at a time, but the chest injury stole my breath and I got winded after about 10 steps so could not walk there on my own.

Boxertwin, bless his heart, dropped everything, hooked up his flatbed trailer to his Chevy Suburban, and the next morning headed to Jackson--a 7-hour drive! BT arrived in Jackson that next evening, and the following morning at 8am--about 39 hours after the accident--he and I met up with the tow truck driver Steve that Progressive had gotten for me and we drove together to the wreck site to recover the rig.

As soon as we arrived, BT and I scrambled down to the wreck (I was floating on Percoset.) At this point I did not know what had happened, just that something had broken, and I wanted to verify that it was not some sort of driver error that my mind had erased from my memory. Within 15 seconds of getting to the rig, BT and I discovered the separated ball joint (click to see short vid)--

I asked Steve to be as gentle as possible in the recovery because I felt that the rig was perhaps not totaled (1-minute vid)--

Once the rig was topside, we stripped off all the bags and panniers, etc, then we loaded the rig onto BT's trailer--

Then we drove to Jackson to get Kirby then on to Boise where I spent the night at BT's house with my wife who had made the 9-hour trip from Tacoma. We left the rig in Boise and drove back to Tacoma the next day.

I can't tell you how grateful I am to Boxertwin for coming to my rescue. I was banged up, barely able to get around, and not totally in command of my faculties. He sized up the situation for me, took charge, organized everything, and executed my rescue. You guys can only hope to have friend like Boxertwin!

Here's to Boxertwin!

DRONE screwed with this post 11-26-2013 at 01:33 PM
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:00 PM   #6
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Location: Tacoma, WA-ish
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After a week recovering in Tacoma, Jay Giese of DMC Sidecars generously offered to let me borrow the DMC trailer that was specifically designed for sidecar rigs. I drove the trailer to Boise behind my own SUV where BT and I loaded the rig on it, then I spent another night at BT's house. Met with the Progressive Insurance appraiser the next morning--very professional and knowledgable guy--then made the drive back to Tacoma.

The next day I dropped the 1150 at South Sound BMW for a damage appraisal and took the sidecar and trailer back to DMC also for an appraisal. The sidecar is relatively unscathed--the rear upper mount needs to be replaced and the paint job got scratched up a bit--that's all. I'm still waiting on the damage appraisal for the bike. The rear subframe is bent, both mirrors and windshield broken, and the forks are scratched but won't know if they got bent until they're removed and the runout measured. The RID was damaged by gasoline, and I don't know yet if the front subframe is bent.

As for my accessories, the panniers and rack are finished, and the tank bag and tail bag are wrecked. Everything else seems to be OK. My riding gear was not damaged at all (Held "Steve" gloves, Spidi jacket, BMW Santiago pants, Nolan Trilogy helmet). Tossed the Nolan in the trash anyway simply because hidden damage to a helmet is always possible.

It's now been three weeks since the crash. I'm still having a hard time getting in and out of my car, and sneezing is painful. I don't think my leg will ever be right again, but it should heal well enough that I'll have full use back in a few months. I'm walking with a limp, but can easily walk a mile with the dogs so I'm hardly an invalid. All in all, pretty damn lucky!!
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:31 PM   #7
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Great Pics

sorry to see the RR end so dramatically. Get well and keep posting on the healing and stuff. You have some great friends and family which is the best part of this RR.

Yellowknife - New France New Scotland (Nova Scotia)
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Old 08-25-2013, 04:54 PM   #8
bk brkr baker
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Wow !
The thrill of Victory and the agony of Defeat all in a single post.
Certainly glad you and your dog not only lived but seem to be on the way back!
So , what are you going to replace the telelever with ? More conventional leading links ?
I'm in the process of building an outfit and trips similar to yours {- the wrecking part} are the goal.
RR's Catnip Hill to Peoria ___Loopin' Seattle to WestFest
It started with some beers __1500 miles to the Dentist
Skeedaddle to Seattle______ A 30 year old on a Three Flags Run
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:10 PM   #9
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Sorry to hear about your accident, glad all is ok...hope you are back on the rode soon to finish the ride!

Wayne C.
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:23 PM   #10
hi functioning idiom
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Could have been a lot worse for sure. Glad you and Kirby are alright.

I'm glad you had good people around you to help you out, and that Kirby did NOT end up in a shelter (wtf?!)
Don't ride with Nate!
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:42 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bk brkr baker View Post
So , what are you going to replace the telelever with ? More conventional leading links ?
Conventional leading links still utilize the ball joint to connect the telelever to the lower fork bridge. Even though the telelever becomes a non-moving part, the ball joint connection is still prone to metal fatigue failure from the flexing of the forks both fore/aft and side/side. Freedom Sidecars in Pennsylvania reports that they are currently working on a LL design for the GS that does not use the telelever. There is a discussion of this in Hacks right now.
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Old 08-25-2013, 06:06 PM   #12
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WOW! I am glad you and Kirby were able to walk away from this accident instead of it being fatally. Thanks for sharing and I enjoyed it.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:00 PM   #13
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I wouldn't call it a fail, pretty amazing.

Glad your ok. Your pictures and story telling kept me from going to bed.

I wonder what the dog thought when he was ejected from the hack. "WTH is he doing now?" Eyes wide open and ears laid back. Poor fella and probably still wagging his tail.
Brilliance is simply the art of planning ahead.
She's meanness set to music and the bitch is born to run!
I'm a fuel injected suicide machine.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:14 PM   #14
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I think he was thinking, "This is where we're gonna camp? But there's still daylight!"

BTW--Kirby is a minor celeb after making it onto the back cover of The Sidecarist--

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Old 08-25-2013, 07:28 PM   #15
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Wow ! What a story. Really glad that you and Kirby came out of this pretty well. Good luck with the insurance and repairs. I'm really envious that you have such nice places to ride. Of course, you have snow, too. I don't envy that.
I got tired of being here, so now I'm there
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