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Published: September 27th 2005
Here's the one you've all been waiting for...
18/09/05 Bishop CA
We set off early as we had a long distance to cover, made good progress, reaching Coaldale by 11 am, our biker friend was correct it is nothing but derelict buildings, the main reason it gets a mention on maps is because it is at the junction of Highway 6 and Highway 95. We turned onto the 6 and continued on our way. We had planned to stop at Coaldale for lunch, but as the riding was easy we pressed on, stopping at about 12.30pm for energy bars and Gatorade (lunch is becoming sooooooo predictable). As the afternoon progressed the riding became more difficult as we headed up hill towards the Montgomery Pass; before the actual pass the road had one last trick to throw at us as we hurtled downhill for a couple of miles loosing all the altitude we had so painstakingly gained.
We finally crested Montgomery Pass and headed down the other side, the road was clear and smooth and we both cracked our max speed again (Clare 51mph and Vern 74kph), this was tinged with pain because we both knew we would be riding to
Mongomery Pass, NV
Looking over at Boundary Peak, on the border of NV and CA.
a much higher altitude tomorrow if we were to get to Yosemite. Still the ride into Benton was great, some pedalling, but mainly freewheeling at great speeds all the way.
At Benton we stopped to ask after accommodation for the night, there was only one B&B and it was full, so we had sometime to eat and headed for Bishop (36 miles away) where, we were assured, there would be room for us.
It was about 6.15pm when we set off, Clare leading, Vernon drafting, we were going as fast as we could because we wanted to get as many miles in as we could before the light faded. On highway 6 the shoulder has been wide and fairly smooth, but trucks don't half shed a lot of tyres in America and all the debris ends up on the shoulder. About half way to Bishop, it was almost completely dark and we had lights and head torches on, Vernon took over the lead and we carried on. Some time later I saw Vern swerve and start to tap down on either side of the bike with his feet, trying to stay upright. At the same time I realised there was
Vernon's face after the bike crash
a shredded truck tyre in front of me, I tried to swerve and missed it with my front wheel; my rear wheel unfortunately ran straight into and over it, I was swerving about the road trying to stay upright and miss Vernon.
The next thing I remember is lying on a metal gurney with my head tied down, it felt like I had a ridge running under my head and I try to push my fingers under my head to relieve the pain, I get told off for that, I think I asked about Vernon, but I guess my version of English wasn't quite up to scratch and I just got smiled at. Later I was moved onto a padded gurney and then a bed and finally I was told that Vern was okay. V
- I don't remember the accident that well either - I do recall hitting the tyre, then standing up to survey the damage. The side of my face hurt, but nothing seemed to be broken. Clare was lying in the middle of the south-bound carriageway, moaning periodically. I called her name, but got no response. I looked around to check that no traffic was coming
After the crash
Clare in the Northern Inyo Hospital
- the road was empty. I got the cell phone out of Clare's bar bag and tried to dial 911 - no signal. I then looked at the petzl head torches, as we were spread across the middle of an unlit road. Unfortunately, they had been destroyed in the crash. A car came towards us on the north-bound side, so I walked down the carriage way, arms aloft and the phone in my hand. They saw me (I was wearing a fetching bright yellow jersey and had blood dripping down my face) and stopped.
"We hit a truck tyre and crashed - could you phone 911 please? My phone doesn't work"
They called the emergency services and turned the car round so we were in the headlights and safe from being run over.
By this time, Clare had sat up and was asking questions (may of them repeated a few seconds later).
"Where's your bike?"
"Are you OK?"
"Where are we?"
A truck pulled up and blocked off the other side of the road. The driver started to see if he could offer any first aid, but didn't have a kit with him. Shortly afterwards,
Clare's legs after the bike crash.
the ambulance arrived, followed by another ambulance, two highway patrol cars and a fire engine (it must have been a quiet night in Bishop). At this point the professionals took over and started asking me questions (being the more lucid one). we were shipped to the Northern Inyo Hospital in Bishop, where I was given a pain-killing injection, x-rayed, cleaned up and had the cut above my eye stitched up. I was informed that I had between one and three cracked ribs (definitely rib one, and possibly ribs two and three on the left side) and that I should come back in a couple of days to have my wound checked and after five days to have the stitches out. I was also given a prescription for some heavyweight painkillers.
As it was now about 1am, I was given a reclining chair with a blanket and pillow in Clare's room and settled down for a night's sleep (although we were woken every couple of hours when the medics came in to check Clare's neurological functions).
19/09/05 Northern Inyo Hospital, Bishop C:
I stumbled between dozing and waking all day and was sick a lot as well, people kept checking my hand grip, push and pull with my feet and what had happened. At first I can't even get my name or date of birth right, later I remember seeing the tyre but not hitting it, much later I remember hitting the tyre and trying not to hit Vernon.
It was probably late afternoon when I saw Vern sat on a chair, he has up to 3 cracked ribs and 10 stitches above his left eye. He has also arranged a motel room and collected the bikes and paniers from the Highway Patrol, but he has to sleep in the chair in my hospital room as it can be adjusted to lie flat or sit up and he can't get up out of a normal bed because of his cracked ribs.
20/09/05 Thunderbird Motel, Bishop
I had a poor night's sleep, was woken once at 4am to check the usual grip, push and pull mechanisms and had difficulty getting back to sleep again. At 8.30am breakfast arrived as did the nurse for the usual reflex checks, I finally found out that I have a fractured skull.
I was discharged in the afternoon with a prescription for many painkillers and anti-nausea drugs. My instructions for the next few weeks are:
Don't drink for alcohol for 2 weeks
Don't go in a car for a week
Don't go up high for 2-3 weeks (we're already at 4000 feet)
Don't do serious exercise (such as riding all day) for the next six to eight weeks.
Spent the evening eating a delivery pizza and had an early night.
My legs were burning under the sheet, which kept me awake and very, very tired. We finally got out at 10.30am and went for brunch, popped into the local bike shop to replace my shades and got photographed for their "grief" wall, we were also advised to try 2nd Skin Moist Burn Pads.
I was very sick and disorientated this morning, stayed in bed all day, feeling terrible, managed to eat some raisins and drank a little water, the next day I was in bed again with very little to eat or drink, I just felt sick all the time.
Vernon had his stitches removed today and asked about me at the same time, I am to expect to be sick and dizzy occasionally for the next few months, I have to ensure I stay hydrated, I have managed some porage today and a pizza for dinner with a fair amount of water, but most of the time in bed again.
25 - 27/09/05 Bishop
Several days of bed rest with occasional forays into the outside world for something to eat or drink. Clare's head is returning to normal and her road rash is healing. Vernon's ribs are now just uncomfortable and his face looks like he has fallen asleep in a bowl of bran flakes. We have decided to do several more days R&R in Bishop and will stay here until the Sunday. We have also joined the AAA (mainly for motel and car hire discounts) - don't tell the bike forums or the CTC- we'll never be let back in.
Tot: 3.839s; Tpl: 0.05s; cc: 22; qc: 104; dbt: 0.0652s; 3; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 2;
; mem: 1.6mb