A Close Call

To lead you up to the event

It actually started a few days ago. Julie and I went on vacation to Mission Canada to visit some friends. We left all of the children at home with a sitter. Unfortunatly, they couldn't be good and we had to cut our vacation short to come home and deal with them. They were really out of control.

Not all of the children were causing problems. Subastian (our youngets son) got lucky. He was staying the weekend with a friend. I bet if he had been home he too would have gotten in on the action. But in any case, I still had over a week of vacation left. I didn't want to stay home because I would have killed the kids (figuratively of course).

Subastian and I loaded up the motorcycle and headed out on the road. Where we were going we were not 100% sure yet. We spent one night in the mountains at Detroit. Then another on the coast at Newport. Then I had a great idea. Lets go to 6 Flags in California. I called Julie to let her know and we were off.

It turns out that 6 Flags wasn't where I was thinking it was. It is way down near L.A. I was thinking of Paramount's Great America in Santa Clara. So that is where we ended up going. We got to the hotel and checked in. Again we called home to let everyone know where we were and that we were ok. After all, In the last week and a half I had driven almost 3,000 miles on the motorcycle. That is a lot of driving!

We spent the next day in the park going on almost all of the rides. There was one that was shut down and another with a 90 minute plus wait. We skipped both of those. All in all we had a great time.

The big day

Finally on July 4th we were ready to head home. We were going to head up the coast line and take a trip through the redwood forest on the way home. Subastain and I were having a wonderful time. Until it happened...

It came time to stop for gas. I saw a sign that said Petaluma next exit. I moved over and got ready to exit the freeway. The off ramp had no speed sign so I just eyeballed it and slowed to 45 miles an hour. Unfortunatly, what I first thought to be one straight road was actually two roads next to each other curving in different directions. I had looked from the exit accross to the on ramp. It was too late to do much about it.

I quickly hit the breaks. This being a new bike to me (only 4 weeks old) I was thinking I was on my last bike still. I hit the breaks too hard and started to slide. But I managed to recover from that just in time. Unfortunatly, I was also way too close to the edge of the road and leaning really hard to make the corner.

Then I hit the gravel on the road side. That was the end of that. The bike went down hard. We were probably only doing about 40 by the time we actually hit the ground but that is plenty fast when you are on two wheels (not any more I guess) and the bike is almost 1,000 pounds by itself.

Everything seemed to slow down for me at that point. All I could think of is I was about to kill my son. What happened to me really didn't enter into my head at all. As the bike hit the ground, I let go of the handle bars. I then put my back on the ground and reached out to grab Subastian with my left hand. With all my might I held on to his coat (no more than a wind breaker really) and pushed the motorcycle away as hard as I could.

Unfortunatly, I couldn't keep my grip on him. As the motorcycle moved away, Subastian slipped from my fingers. I could only hope that I got him far enough away form the motorcycle. I knew it was going to flip any minute. And it did.

At that moment when I lost my grip time went back to normal speed for me. There was nothing but a huge ball of dust filling the air. I couldn't see anything. Not the motorcycle, not Subastian. I called out over and over but he didn't answer. Then I could hear him crying. I ran as fast as I could to him.

Oh thank god! He didn't get hit by the motorcycle! His clothes were ripped up pretty good. I had him lay really still and I ran to the motorcycle. I grabbed the cell phone and called for help. Then I ran back to Subastian to check him out. My mother being a nurse, I have had a lot of first aid and such. I know you shouldn't to remove the helmet of a downed motorcycle rider. But this being my son I and having already checked for neck injuries I removed it to get a better look at his face and eyes. He was scratched and bruised but his head was ok. I didn't want him to move just incase there was something that I couldn't detect. Me, I didn't hurt at all.

The emergency teams arived and looked him over. The police and I looked at the bike and I went over what had happened. The bike was a total mess. Both sides were shattered. This being a GoldWing, it was covered in a great deal of plastic. After flipping over, there was a lot of damage done. But the forks and frame looked ok. When they loaded Subastian into the ambulance, it was time for me to go.

On the way to the hospitol, I was holding Subastian's hand telling him it would be ok. He then looked at me and said "I knew it would be ok, I was with you dad" and I just about burst into tears right there. He had no idea how close it really was. From the hospitol I called Julie and let her know everything was ok and told her not to worry. After some tests they determined that Subastian was alright. No internal injuries, no broken bones. He did have a few scratches and bruises. Nothing major. But he didn't have any clothes. They were all cut off of him including his shoes. All his clothes were in the motorcycle and we couldn't get to that. All he had was his undies and the hospitol robe.

A nice man who was in the hospitol visiting a relative overheard our situation and was kind enough to offer us a ride to a motel. We didn't have any cash to take a cab. Only my credit and bank cards. It was really nice of him to offer. We got checked in and went to our room. A little later the office called and said somthing was left at the front desk for us. That nice man had gone home, gathered a change of clothes from one of his children and gave them to us. I never even got his name. But I am sure that is something I will never forget.

Later that evening I started to feel a bit stiff. Ok, I really started to hurt. I guess once the excitement died down my body was ready to tell me what it was feeling. Subastian wanted to rest so he stayed in the hotel room and I walked a few blocks to get us some dinner. By the time I made it back to the hotel, I could hardly move.

After eating, I figured it was time to take a shower. I had to get some help getting my shirt off. It was torn and so was my wind breaker. But this is the first time I had removed them since the crash. It turned out that there was a spot about the size of a dollar bill where the skin had been stripped down to the muscle. This must be where my back was on the street when I pushed off. It took about 20 minutes or so but Subastian was a trooper. He cleaned the spot really well for me. The rest of my back turned into one big bruise. My leg muscles were stiff. Probably from shoving the bike so hard. That night we both slept really well.

What happened next

We couldn't get to the motorcycle for a couple days because the shop was closed. Once we did it was apperent there was no way that bike was going anywhere any time soon. We ended up taking a bus home. Never doing that again. I should have rented a truck and just brought the bike back. Instead we took the bus and ended up going down to get the bike at another time. It turned out to be a total loss. Oh well.

I have another bike now. It is a 1992 GoldWing. Subastian still rides with me. And every day I am very thankful things turned out as well as the did. And I get the shakes any time I think about how it could have ended up.


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