Tip me over....but don't pour me out! 5 tales of me tipping over motorcycles...
Fast forward and 80,000 miles and another 2 bikes and along came ‘Tipsy #2’. Pretty solid track record of remaining upright considering the length of time and mileage in between! This time, I side planted in conditions that a motorcycle really should not be riding in the first place. Imagine that! Me riding somewhere where a cruiser motorcycle really isn’t meant to ride! So, there I was on my Victory Cross Roads in the middle of BFE Texas. It was April. We left MN in sleet and as we rode south, instead of nicely turning to sunshine, it just turned to slightly warmer rain. 12 hours of precipitation, in various forms, no exaggeration. We got to our destination (a friend of a friend’s house) in the countryside of Texas, with tons of acreage on either side of the mobile home. While it is likely an amazing view in nice weather, in storms, it just offered better insight of the beating that was about to occur.
So as the clouds turned darker and darker, and as the wind picked up faster and faster, we were all dodging our bikes under whatever cover we could find, which included a mini-shed, and a lean-to on the side of a horse barn. Good enough! With sirens blaring, our phone alerts going off like crazy, we weren’t going to let a little rain prevent us from having SMORES around an open fire! Nope! We would simply take the fire and smores indoors. And so, amid tornado warnings, high winds, and blaring alerts, we cranked the tunes, cracked a beverage, and busted out the blow torch and marshmallows. It was a classy scene.
Fast forward to the next morning, when the rain finally subsided, there was now not only a ½ mile long driveway to tackle on the way out… but it was now MUD. Slippery, clay like mud. And a LOT Of it. Back to my point on tipping over….
After hiking around the overlook, dangling my feet over the edge for a few photos, and just stopping to take in the amazing scenery, I walk back down to the bike… and notice a vehicle coming up from behind us… where a little windy, gravel road seemed to appear out of nowhere. Wouldn’t it be COOL if this road led to where I just hung my feet over?? I must find out… and so away I went, with Shelly shaking her head and probably wondering why the heck she continues to follow. The little gravel road was half gravel, half fine sand, depending on the switchback of the moment. That’s right, switchbacks on gravel and sand… on two wheels. I didn’t care. I wanted, er, I NEEDED to find out where this mystery road went! So instead of turning around midway, I just kept on going. I made it to the end which led to even more amazing views and scenery, and only one other vehicle was way back there. It was a Subaru, pssh... not even a challenge for that guy (also from MN)! I started back down the gravel sand road, taking it slow around switchbacks in anticipation of oncoming traffic. But I also wanted a picture of this insane road that I was riding on… on two wheels. And, well, that’s where lesson #4 comes in. Don’t take photos with one hand while steering a bike around switchbacks of gravel and sand with the other. Because just as I went to snap a photo, my front tire clipped the edge of a boulder unearthing from below and sent me into a spiral. I am not even sure how it happened, but next thing I know, my bike is now backwards, facing Uphill, under a tree, on top of a big rock, with the headlight smiling at Shelly as she slowly crept around the switchback… and then hit her brakes.
<-- Skid Marks -->
<--Looking up the road (backwards.. same way the bike landed)
This is the direction I was going originally-->
I was laughing, it was all I could do. I knew I was a fool for thinking I could make it while taking a photo, but kept circling back to “What could go wrong?” Well, once again, Shelly helped me upright the bike. It was a bit beat up this time. I broke the right-hand crash bar off the frame – it hit the bulging boulder I spoke of. I had gravel in my pipes, in my floorboards, and everywhere gravel could get into. I bent the floorboard – but I DID keep my hands and feet ‘inside the moving vehicle at all times’ and the bike took the brunt of the fall versus my body, which I was thankful for. Also, in case you were wondering, my phone was fine. LOL. I get to the bottom of the windy road and stop in the viewing area where most tourists chose to accept their scenery as is (vs take silly narrow, windy, sandy/gravel roads), and I take a few minutes to inspect and fix my bike the best I can. And off we go. Lesson Learned: One handed photography while riding on 2 wheels through sandy/gravel switchbacks is a REALLY BAD idea. At least I had tools...