Saturday, I joined four other members of Star Touring and Riding for an unbelievable day of riding. We were going to ride two of the best motorcycle roads in the entire state of Ohio; Route 555 and Route 26. It was going to be a ride not for the casual rider; about 450 miles, two very challenging and technical roads, gone for roughly 10-12 hours. And, it was a spectacular day, sunny, with a high of about 80°.
Now, you may think that I am a homie for saying that these are great roads. At a gas stop in Millersburg, OH, we got to talking with two other bikers. They just completed the Triple Nickel (Route 555) and were heading to Cleveland, via Route 83, to eat at Hot Sauce Williams. Big deal, you say? What if I told you the bikers were from New Jersey and specifically came to Ohio to ride 555? Yeah, it’s that good.
Here is the route (click on map for a larger version):
- Route 83, south of Millersburg, had quite long portion recently blacktopped. And it was fantastic riding.
- Leading the ride from Mi Mi’s Restaurant to Zanesville. I am extremely familiar with this route.
- Passing through New Concord, OH.
Here is the actual route we took (click on map for a larger version):
A little bit shorter than we expected. Because the unexpected occurred.
As I had ridden a portion of 555, and experienced Route 26, I was a bit conservative riding 555; I did not look at any of the scenery. Rather, I was fully focused on the road. No goats for me this time.
At point B on the map, one of the riders in our group, Doug, went down as he was negotiating an uphill, blind right curve. Adding to the complexity, there was gravel in the road, from nearly the center line to the edge of the pavement. For those of you that ride, Doug went over the high side of his bike, the bike sliding on the left side. As I was behind Doug and another rider, I was the first to ride up on the scene. I thought, “Wow, there’s a bike off the road.” Then, seeing the other rider in the road, running to the bike, I changed that thought to “I know these two people.” Another emergency stop on what passes for berm in Nowhere, OH, I was off my bike.
Because that wasn’t enough of a shock, we had AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint customers in our riding party. None of us had any sort of cellular signal at all. Yes, we were, quite literally, in the middle of nowhere.
Then, about 3 minutes after the accident, the first of two great things happened: A rider, behind us, stopped and assisted. He had been in the medical field for 10 years and took over the scene, making sure that Doug was a comfortable as possible while asking him questions to ascertain his injuries. About 7 minutes later, a family in a pickup truck stopped and asked if they could help. As luck would have it, they lived about 2 miles up the road and had a land line – they were the ones that called 911 for us.
Roughly 25 minutes after the accident, EMS and firemen rolled up.
If you click the above picture, I have added notes, explaining some of visual damage.
After loading Doug into the ambulance, I and another ride followed the ambulance to the “nearest” hospital, in Zanesville. The other two riders stayed on scene to wait for the Ohio State Highway Patrol to arrive and answer their questions and for the wrecker.
About three hours after arriving at the hospital (roughly 5:30PM), Doug was discharged. He suffered a concussion and a break in his ring finger and in the little finger of his right hand. Plus, road rash on his knees and other bumps and bruises to his body.
By the way, as hard as I tried, I couldn’t get the hospital to perform invasive procedures on Doug. I guess $20 doesn’t go as far as it used to (humor/laughter is critical to a healthy recovery).
Why “just” a concussion? Let’s look at his helmet (notes included on this photo):
Nice crack, huh?
After being discharged, Doug rode home with his wife and the wife of one of the other riders. Two people that drove to Zanesville from Cleveland, shortly after being informed of the accident. The rest of us, the remaining four riders, rode home.
A long weekend on the road, but it was worth it to ride, to assist Doug, to bring his bike back home, and to spend nine hours with Joe today.
Finally, in case you were wondering, yes, I always wear a helmet when I ride. I highly recommend that you do as well.
My Flickr set from Saturday.