Not my favorite day


I get up early and am hoping I have time for a shower, but I don’t. It’s going to be a long day so I pack up and get ready to head out for Port Hope-Simpson. I’m hoping to make Red Bay today, a new UNESCO world heritage site. 240 miles of gravel and wilderness to cover today before the next gas station and people. After yesterday’s flat tire I came back to Goose Bay and now will go out and cover those same 42 miles for the 3rd time before moving on to new road. It’s a little chilly this morning so I wear my liners. It’s overcast and looks like it may rain but I’m hoping to get ahead of it.
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After about 77 miles I pass a road grader. The gravel has turned to crushed rock and is like marbles on the road. It makes for slow riding for me because I am trying to be so careful. There’s a strong gusty wind and occasionally when the road turns just right (or wrong) it is a perfect cross wind. At mile 95 there is a rest area but it is only a bench and pull out on the road. I pass it and continue on toward a long open stretch of road where the wind blows across my path. At 102 miles out from town a strong gust catches my bike and then drops off instantly as I am correcting for the wind and gravel. I am only going about 35 mph but lose control and start “tank slapping” my bars on the bike and it goes down on its left side.
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After the dust clears I can see my bike and I’m glad to not be stuck under it. I try to feel myself and make sure I’m ok and so far think I am. I catch my breath and try to stand up but can feel something is wrong with my left leg. It feels weak and strange and won’t respond the way I’m asking it to. I’ve been on the ground all of less than a minute when a man walks up and announces he is RCMP (the equivalent of Highway Patrol at home) and the relief I feel is immediate. He asks me if I am ok and I explain what I think my situation is. He returns to his car and calls for an ambulance as another truck pulls up to see if he can help. He is headed toward Goose Bay and has seen the accident. He and the officer move my bike to the side of the road as Brian arrives. Two fishery workers (equivalent to GF&P) arrive and all the guys set to work covering me with emergency blankets, building a wind break and making me as comfortable as possible to wait the two hours before the ambulance arrives.
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When it finally does I have to have my boot cut off to assess my leg and then ride back to Goose Bay over the bumpy gravel road which takes another two hours. All this without meds and way more laughs than tears. I am taken to the ER in Goose Bay to x-ray my leg.
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I have to stay overnight while they locate an air ambulance to fly me to St. John’s Newfoundland, more than 1000 miles away to the nearest hospital to have surgery on my leg.
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I fly out the next morning on a jet, not exactly what I had in mind for my mode of transportation, to St. John’s and go through more tests and have surgery that next night to give me the bionic parts I need now. I awake the following day with a bow of gauze tied around my foot.
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My bike is fine, as some of you may be wondering, and so am I. I have been so moved by the incredible help and support of the people of Labrador. Officer Dyke, Scottie who hauled my bike into Goose Bay and kept it safe, and Corey and Tyson from the Fishery Department, and most of all to Brian. I don’t know where I’d be without all you guys, but I’m guessing it would involve some big bears tummy. So I’m eternally grateful…… All the nurses, EMTs, ambulance crew and doctors in Goose Bay were incredibly kind and supportive. As well as everyone at St. Clare’s in St. John and Sylvia and Lily, but that is another story I will work on tomorrow. Back to sleep for me after Brian makes me drink another glass of milk so I get my leg rebuilt. Sweet dreams everyone.

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6 comments

  1. Holy sh*t!
    Glad you will be OK.

  2. So sorry to hear about your mishap. Cool to be out there in the wilderness – glad Brian is there with you. Once your leg heals you’ll have to get out there and finish the trip. Wishing you a speedy recovery.

  3. So very sorry this happened. Take care of yourself.

    • Thanks so much, Kate. I can’t say I loved the crash or the pain of the leg break, but I am calling this “my lucky break” for all the things it has brought to me, like new friends and experiences, and taught me – the generosity of my fellow riders, an appreciation for the small things and for the things I have and can do as opposed to those I don’t have or can’t do……This has been one of the most positive experiences I’ve had in I can’t say how long and I wouldn’t change a thing.

  4. Ouch… Been there done that (http://www.thetexasrambler.com/2012/05/23/yes-motorcycling-is-dangerous/)… Crash… I almost stopped riding because of it… It took a while to heal physically and mentally.
    Glad you are ok…
    Ride safe… See you down the road somewhere…

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