Continued from: The Blindside
If you have ever had one of those moments when time stands still, you will understand my attempt to explain what happens next. My life is not passing in front of my eyes, but I am seeing the trip ending. I am not more than an hour from Fairplay, CO. Practically at home, and this, this is how my trip is going to end? Ugh!
Now I would love to tell you about how I navigated the trees like Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back, riding on an Imperial Speeder Bike; safely saving my self, the princess, and the galaxy. But alas, the truth is much less epic.
Entering the woods, my foot tries to negotiate with a stump. The stump is not amused and immediately retaliates by smashing my foot into my backside. Still mounted on the KLR, I continue to push deeper through the trees with a combination of navigation and brute force; weaving between some and simply rolling over others. Until, eventually, a much larger tree has seen enough and instantly knocks me to the ground.
The whole experience takes probably about 20 seconds, but it feels much longer. As I lie here on the ground feeling dazed and stuck, the one thing I am sure of is that my foot feels crushed into many more bones than should fit into my skin. Standing is not an option so I take a moment to admire the beauty of the fast moving dark clouds against the blue sky as a thunderstorm rolls in.
Luke dismounts and runs up to me. I am pretty sure I have made a stellar first impression of my riding prowess. I am also sure any concerns he had about flying across country, buying a bike from a stranger, and riding with another one have been completely put at ease. We survey the situation, Luke from a prone position and me from my excellent view of the clouds. I am pinned under the bike, but it does not hurt. It is the foot on the outside that keeps me from getting up.
Eventually, I cannot stay down any longer and with Luke’s help I get out from under the bike. I am a good thirty feet from the trail. My new front windshield is cracked, the factory skid plate is ripped off, but did its job, the handlebars are out of alignment, but not bent, and for the moment, my foot is held together by my riding boot. However . . . I will not be going home!
To read the previous Trans America Trail episode, click here.
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