On Saturday afternoon I crashed my Yamaha dirt bike and broke my arm! Just to show you how tough the motorcycle is, the only damage to it was a broken bracket that holds the clutch lever in place. I did not fare so well. The story of what happened after the accident is so interesting, I thought I’d share it with you.
The weather this time of year is fickle. In fact, as I write this, it’s snowing outside. But Saturday was a pretty nice day. So I hopped on the bike and rode some of my favorite routes near here. Around 4:15 PM I was on the dirt road that connects the Peach Valley recreation area and the Montrose Adobes. I thought I was riding carefully and was watching for ruts because the road was very rutted. But I guess I wasn’t watching closely enough. And, to make matters worse, I was traveling fairly fast. Well, out of the blue, a rut about 4 inches deep grabbed the front tire and yanked the motorcycle right out from under me. This has happened to me before. Usually I just dust myself off, hop back on the bike, and move on. Not this time—I knew before I’d even stopped rolling that I had broken something.
I thought for a while about what to do. I had my cell phone with me although I was probably out of cell range. I also had ham radio gear which might have worked because the nearest repeater was only about 5 miles away. But I did not have my GPS, and was on a road that has only recently been opened, so my head was filled with visions of complex coordination and waiting a long time for the emergency services people.
One leg was stuck under the motorcycle, so I had to drag myself out from under using just one arm. Once free of that I had to stand up—a little hard because my left arm was not any use at all. But that was nowhere near as hard as the next task, which was getting the motorcycle upright. I tried pushing it up like I normally do. The motorcycle had fallen on its left side so I got on its left side and started pushing up but the problem was that the handlebar was just too floppy and with just one arm I couldn’t do it. So I went over on the other side of the bike, grabbed the handlebar, and managed after several tries to get the bike upright. But now, I’m on the wrong side of the motorcycle. So I very carefully leaned over the motorcycle and with my good hand pushed the kickstand down. Then I went around the bike and got on.
Getting out of there
So here’s the problem. My left arm was useless, the clutch lever was useless, and I had about 5 miles to go to where I thought I might find people. I got the motorcycle started, which was difficult because it had been down for several minutes and the gasoline had flooded the carburetor. Fortunately, my little Yamaha XT-250 has electric start, and the battery had survived the winter well, and had enough power to keep cranking until the engine started. I tried gently slipping the bike into first gear but that just made it lurch forward and stall. So then, I pushed the starter button while in first gear. The bikes started, lugged a little bit, and lurched forward, but kept going. Remember, I’m doing this with only one hand. So, here I am, pointed in the right direction, going down a very rugged road, and dreadfully afraid I would fall again. I was able to slip the transmission into second gear a couple times when the road was smooth, and slipped it back into first gear when I got to the steep part. This went on for quite awhile until finally I was at the parking area.
The Five AngelsThere were a few pickup trucks there with people loading up motorcycles and getting ready to leave. I aimed for one likely group. I’m only doing about 5 miles an hour, and had to make sure that I didn’t dump the bike while coming to a stop. I simply said, “I fell, and I think it broke my arm. Can you drive me to the hospital?” Immediately these five young men jumped to my assistance. After some discussion they loaded my motorcycle onto the back of one of the pickup trucks, and off we went. Montrose Memorial Hospital is only a few miles away. Not only did they take me there, but they came in to make sure that I got the right care. After a little bit of discussion, they decided that some of them would take my motorcycle to my home nearly 20 miles away and drop it there. Meanwhile two of the boys stayed with me. One of them let me use his cell phone so I could call my wife, Loretta. I found out later that not only did they take my motorcycle home but they put it into the garage in its usual place, and put my helmet and vest there too.
I want to say something about these young men. I suppose I shouldn’t be calling the boys, but given that I’m 62, the age difference was pretty large, with one still in high school! Their names were Brad Boyd, Leramy Carner, Nick Boyd, Justin Cain, and Wyatt Yarnell. They told me that they had packed up their motorcycles and all their gear about 20 minutes before I got to them. They ride there every Saturday when the weather is good. Normally, once they pack up, they leave, but this time they were just chatting with each other for no apparent reason. Leramy told me later he was quite certain that it was not just chance that they waited. These young men were perfect gentleman, helpful in every way, including helping me get off the motorcycle and into the truck, and their behavior exemplary. I was extremely impressed. I told them that they were my angels that day. Loretta and I expressed our gratitude over and over. I told them that after I get better Loretta and I will take them out to dinner at the nicest restaurant in Montrose. One of them laughed and said that Taco Bell would be just fine.
The rest of the story
The doc told me that I had broken the ball area at the top of my left humerus in several places. He told me that it would be a painful fracture, which it has certainly turned out to be. Sadly, if he’s right about taking three or four months to heal, I’ll miss most of the riding season this year.
There’s a bit more to the story. Loretta and I are Mormons, and I wanted a priesthood blessing. Loretta was able to contact Bart Skalla. As it turned out, he was on his way home from Montrose to Ridgway with several other people in the car, including his son Tanner, and were not far away. They gave me the blessing, I took my meds, and crawled gratefully into bed.
So, that’s the story. Oh, except for one little thing. Since one arm is out of commission, I couldn’t type this. I dusted off Dragon Naturally Speaking, fussed with the microphone until it worked, and dictated this entire story! Technology to the rescue!