Appalachian Tough

Aug 31, 2013 View Comments by

Appalachian ToughFinding new small town diners while riding is one of our favorite pastimes, and we found a great one in southeastern Ohio recently. The food is good, the prices reasonable, and we get a sense that the owner really cares about the place. It’s the kind of establishment where it’s fun to sit quietly in a booth and become a temporary part of the community while you eat and listen to the conversations between the locals.

Sometimes we’re invited to join in these conversations, and it’s usually nice to know that we’ve passed some kind if informal test and are allowed to join in the banter. Motorcycles seem to help people let down their usual guard for some reason, and it’s something I’ve noticed more than once. Sometimes these conversations are light and fun, sometimes they’re a bit awkward, such as when a total stranger tells you about their mother’s goiter surgery, and once in a while someone churns out a real showstopper.

Such was the case recently when another patron started talking about bikes while we were waiting to pay for our breakfast. The conversation started innocently enough, with the gentleman telling us that he didn’t ride anymore, although he’d purchased a Yamaha Razor side-by-side for the trails. He promptly eased into a “see my scar” monologue as he pulled up his sleeve to reveal a beefy bicep with a substantial scar running down the side of his upper arm.

He told us that he’d rolled the Razor, and that the seatbelt had broken and he sustained what sounded like a very serious compound fracture. We were a bit confused as he mentioned the term “put it back on” a couple of times, as if the arm had been completely reattached. He told us (remember that this was minutes after we finished breakfast) that it didn’t bleed at all, and that he was mad because the paramedics had forced him to lie down on a stretcher when he was perfectly capable of walking out by himself. He also mentioned reaching down and pulling a loose chunk of bone out of his arm and telling a paramedic to put it into a bag with some ice.

Now here’s the really good part: he told us that he’d competed in a race the following weekend. Here’s a guy that sustained a compound fracture, and expected us to believe that it healed enough, or that he was so impervious to pain, that he was able to compete in an off-road race the next week. I don’t think there’s enough moonshine in the county to allow for that.

By this time we were starting to back away slowly and make a run for it while we still had possession of our recently consumed meals, but he wasn’t finished quite yet. He moved onto another motorcycle accident that a friend of his had involving a deer that jumped off an embankment and skewered the man’s stomach with its foreleg. He told us that the deer’s leg passed completely through the man’s paunch, and that several people had to hold the deer down to prevent further injury.

I don’t know what’s in the water down there, but it must have incredible anesthetic and curative properties. I’m also a little afraid to drink it. Not wanting to hear another one that surely would have topped the shish-ka-bobbed stomach tale, we made a quick dash out to the bike. I have a funny feeling that the guy is a “regular” at the restaurant, and I have mixed feelings about going back soon. Moral of the story…the next time you’re invited to be a part of someone’s world for a few minutes when traveling, think twice before accepting the invitation. You might just be dragged back into a dark little corner of the universe you’d rather not investigate.

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