Ride report: 1010 miles and a new name, June 11, 2006
Went on a really nice ride today. My friend Matt and his wife Elin
(Lines movie director) invited some people on a day ride out to
eastern oregon. I wanted to get ready for CtS so I made a point of
going. met up with them at 8:30am and there were 10 people there
We went all over. Clackamas river hwy out to Forest Service rd 42 some
other roads. Lunch in Maupin. Then the bakeoven road followed by some
more highway. We missed our exit after bakeoven and stopped at a gas
station in Grass Vally (population 160). Where one rider commented
that her rear tire felt funny. This was the third time that day she
had said something was wrong with it. Her bike is a late 80's suzuki
450cc. Matt looked at it and was able to move her tire side to side
with no problem. The wheel bearings were gone. _Luckily_ we missed our
exit and stopped for gas otherwise there could have been a real
problem with her bike if we had kept going. _luckily_ the woman who
owns the gas station there also owns a tow truck garage across the
street and offered to store the bike til she can come back for it this
Finally it was about 5pm we decided to head home via 84. On the way we
went on my new favorite road. Rowena Crest off 84. OMG it was soo much
fun. Bakeoven is my second favorite new road too. It was a great day
of riding. I was finally getting my groove back after a long hiatus.
So they all wanted to get ice cream in rowena. I decided to just get
on 84 and head home by myself. It was about 5:30 and I had been on the
bike for 9 hours. Just wanted to get home.
Right as I got on the highway I noticed a 1/2 ton ford pickup truck
with a _huge_ pile of stuff piled in the back with a big blue tarp
flapping in the wind weaving back and forth with cars trying to get
out of his way. He almost smashed a car into the center median weaving
from right to left lane.
I decide to get in the right lane and keep on eye on him up ahead.
After a few miles of following behind he didnt seem to be doing too
much swerving so I decided the crazy drunk driver with the precarious
load should be behind me instead of in front of me. So I carefully
pull up closer.
He is in the right lane and I was in the left. I was watching him and
right as I got to his rear to pass he swervs over quickly from the
right lane, hits my bike and smashes into the concrete divider. I
smoothly hit the brakes, my right mirror folds all the way in and he
smashes with metal and plastic bits flying literally _right_ in front
of me. I was waiting to feel pain or get thrown off the bike or run
into something. He swerved back into the right lane. I seem to be
still upright and moving forward with just my mirror folded in.
I get over to the right lane and he gets off at the hood river exit
and I follow to check the damage and get his insurance info. The 100
feet to the exit all I could think was, why is my bike still upright?
Where is the damage? Why dont I feel more freaked out?
We pull into the chevron. I get off. Only shaking slighly. I look and
there is _nothing_. The mirror has a small long scratch along its
length but I couldnt see anything else except lots of bug bits from
the day. I checked 3 times. He got out and didnt say anything. I
walked over and said, did you know you almost killed me? He said no. I
said, did you know you hit me? he said no he didnt see me. I asked if
he was drunk. He said no, he fell asleep. He had a small baby
screaming in the front seat. I got a really bad feeling from him. He
looked like a drug addict or gang banger or something. I told him I
saw him swerving all over for miles and was trying to pass when he
smashed into the divider. He said he didnt know he hit me and said he
was sorry. His truck had visible damage but I was expecting much more.
I decided not to pursue it since he probably didnt have insurance and
my instincts were telling me to get away from him. The scratch was
barely visible. So I pull out of the chevron and right as I am pulling
onto the highway an LEO does a U-eey and lights me up. I was happy to
see him and would have gone to talk to him either way. I couldnt get
my side stand down so talked to him while on the bike. I took off my
helmet and gloves.
The first thing I say is, did you hear what happened? He said yes,
someone called it in and he saw me leaving. Im sure it was a pretty
spectacular sight for the cars behind us. I told him the guy was
swerving and dangerous and I was trying to carefully pass him when he
hit the divider. The cop looked all over my bike and said all he saw
was the scratch on the mirror. We had a little chat and I told him I
talked to the guy (handicap Washington license plate 44415 ) and he
apologized, said he didnt see me, said he fell asleep. LEO asked if I
smelled alcohol on his breath, then laughed and said, assuming you
know what alcohol smells like (yes I look really young). I said I
I gave him my licence, insurance and paper license plate and it was
all verified that Im legit. I told him I was really careful and am a
good rider. He said he could tell, not many people put reflective
stickers on their bike as he was pointing to my Team Oregon sticker on
my helmet : ) He said he was suprised I wasnt more shaken up and
wanted me to pull over to get some coffee or something. I told him I
was fine. I would be happy to make a statement. He got all my info and
picked up my gloves for me so I wouldnt have to get off the bike.
After that it was an uneventful ride home.
I have a renewed faith in God and a new name for my bike. Red never
did feel quite right anyway. She is now appropriately named, Lucky.
> He is in the right lane and I was in the left. I was watching him and
> right as I got to his rear to pass he swervs over quickly from the
> right lane, hits my bike and smashes into the concrete divider. I
Ok. So I should add I made one mistake which I realized suddenly about
30seconds after pulling back onto the highway after the chat.
I wasnt watching his tires.
After 9 hours of riding I was tired and even though I was paying
attention to him, I forgot that one basic piece. Luckily, it all
turned out fine. Data point number 2 on that piece of riding skill
advice for saving your ass on the highway. The tires are the first
thing to move when a car is changing lanes. Then comes the front of
the car. I do remember though at least watching his front end of his
truck which gave me enough time to hit the brakes smoothly.
> of me. I was waiting to feel pain or get thrown off the bike or run
> into something. He swerved back into the right lane. I seem to be
> still upright and moving forward with just my mirror folded in.
I should also mention that I was doing more than just waiting. I
remember feeling a sense of my safety training and remembering what I
had practiced and doing the right thing (while at the same time
"looking" around and thinking "I am getting into an accident". It all
seemed in slow motion now.
The 3rd thing I should mention is when I got home I called my friend
Elin. She was pulling into the driveway. She asked if I got pulled
over cause she thought she saw me on the hwy onramp talking to a cop.
I told them I was worried about it cause the bike was brand new and
the plates havent arrived yet. I did have my paper place within handy
reach in the tank bag, he said usually they have to get it from the
I told her no. I got hit by a drunk driver. She said (among other
things) "oh, that big blue pickup truck with 4 cop cars around it?".
She said they stopped for a bathroom break and noticed the cops were
all really interested in him. I have a feeling the baby is in
protectice custody and he is talking to some people tonight. I hope
Yes, I should have called the cops. I should have been more angry. I
told him he was lucky he didnt hit me before I told him I was lucky he
didnt hit me. Im sure my therpaist will have something to say about
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