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Ride Forever -
Monday Edition


Early Fall 2014

By Scooter Tramp Scotty

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For some weeks Charlie and I toured Colorado together after Sturgis, but the weather crept constantly colder with frequent rains, so we set a course on southbound interstate-25.
The idea was to move quickly and directly south until the weather warmed to a comfortable level, then grab back roads to enjoy a slow and easy ride south and east. Almost always the object on my travels, includes insuring the greatest level of pleasure attainable. Then, after attending the Bikes Blues & BBQs rally in Arkansas and visiting old friends there, I moseyed towards New Orleans to roof B.B.'s house and enjoy the city for a while. As for Charley, he hadn't determined when he'd turn home for Hutchinson, Kansas.

Evening set in as we traversed a freeway frontage road just south of Pueblo in search of private country land on which to stay the night. From the right I could hear sounds of the freeway elevated some 15 feet above, while to the left we both eyed the open field leading off into groups of trees in the distance. Thinking I'd spotted a dirt road, I slowed quickly to make a 90 degree turn. That's when it happened...

After the crash of metal, Betsy's right side hit the pavement and almost instantly I was laying on the ground a short distance from the motorcycle. Charlie rear-ended me. Looking up I saw both bikes on their side as oil gushed from Betsy's upturned oil tank. In the grass, where he'd landed, Charlie crouched on hands and knees beside his sprawled out bike screaming in pain. Quickly, checking my own body it became clear I'd received only minor road-rash and ripped jeans. I jumped to Charlie's aid. his blood was not gushing and fortunately no compound fractures. I first tried in vain to work the oil plug back into Betsy's tank. Betsy'd get nowhere without oil. But the oil simply would not stop flowing and there was no choice but to give up.

A woman pulled to roadside and asked if she should call the cops. But before I could answer, the phone was in her ear. I turned to Charlie, who now stood waving at me to stop her. I told her we had cell phones and would make that call ourselves if necessary. She said okay and left.

Wanting no more trouble like that, my first concern was to lift the bikes upright and roll them off the road. With Charlie hurt, I did most of the lifting, and both bikes soon sat in the dirt turnout. Thrown from the motorcycle, my tour pack split open like an eggshell. Our equipment lay scattered across the road. I hustled to gather and clean up the mess. 
Soon, we looked like just two guys parked in a turnout. I turned my attention to Charlie. Lifting his shirt I found only minimal road-rash. Charlie's injuries were internal. I asked if he needed an ambulance but was told no. We'd just wait a while and see. But one thing was for sure: at this time Charlie could not ride. It was near sunset, so with no real choice, I declared that camp would be made right in the turnout. We'd just have to take our chances with the cops.
Next came the job of setting up camp, which fell mostly on my shoulders since Charlie could hardly move. Later, from the sanctity of my tent, I listened to his almost screaming groans and repeatedly asked if he wanted an ambulance. He said no. We'd just wait and see. While setting up camp I'd checked him repeatedly. There was no swelling, he wasn't spitting up blood and said his piss was clear (no blood in it). I'd also checked his body for signs of the bumps left by escaping air from a punctured lung. There were none.
Although slight road-rash grazed his melon, there was no real head injury. If he'd been slurring words or acting funky I’d have called an ambulance against his wishes. But he wasn't. Doctors can do nothing for cracked or broken ribs and if there was no internal injury they were of no use to us anyway. Since he's a grown man this decision was not mine to make, I just let it ride.

Once Charlie'd fallen asleep the groaning stopped and I wondered if he'd died. Just figured I’d find out in the morning. So I went to sleep.

Surprisingly, by morning Charlie was looking a lot better. Whether he could ride or not was still in question, but the possibility seemed good. So we sat, drank coffee, ate, and talked about our options.

Charlie is an accomplished rider. I've seen it. Years ago I rear-ended a car in the exact same manner. I was looking to the left, and he stopped suddenly. All accomplished riders screw up occasionally. Most often it amounts to nothing, but this was not one of those times. Michelle, who's traveled with me many time over the years, would later remind me that while looking for a spot to make camp I often drive very erratically, making quick stops and sudden turns. Early on she'd been a new rider and hung way back out of paranoia. From this day on, when seeking land on which to make home, I’ll be sure to warn anyone riding with me.

Feeling terrible, Charlie beat himself up profusely and swore that anything I needed would be paid for.
I knew he didn't have much money so, after a little thought, I said, “Why don't I hit your insurance company and see if they'll pay enough to fix our bikes?”
We both do our own wrenching anyway and would ultimately end up repairing these bikes for cheap. He agreed. Since neither of us had ever made an insurance claim before, I called an experienced friend and asked what to do. I then dialed the insurance company and did exactly as instructed. Because Charlie admitted fault the rep said there was no need for a police report. What a break.
Next, we decided how we were gonna get out of this turnout. Fortunately, nobody and no cops had stopped to question two bikes, tents, and beat up dudes in the roadside turnout. First, we rolled sleeping equipment up and I took the tents down, because Charlie was still having a hard time moving. When finished, the place no longer looked like a campground.
Next our attention turned to the motorcycles. While Charlie's had slightly a broken fairing and needed only a small helping of duct tape to be road worthy again, Betsy was in much worse condition. Both bars wrapped around the right saddlebag were ripped from the rear crash-bar and now stuck straight up in the air. After unloading tools, I grabbed a wrench and removed them. That saddlebag would not be reparable but for now a liberal helping of gorilla tape would suffice. Although the mounting hardware holding the saddlebag to the bike was badly twisted, I added a rag and some duct tape then deemed it capable of holding temporarily. The tour-pack required more tape and, with all latches hopelessly destroyed, the lids would be held on using rope and bungee-cord.
The rear blinker-bar was broken, but that could wait. The front crash-bar bent and both right side highway pegs were smashed inward. Charlie and I first loosened and moved them back to a place of some usefulness. When finished, both bikes were again at least temporarily roadworthy. But Betsy needed oil—as was clearly evident by the big blood stain she'd left in the street.
Although the prospects looked doable, Charlie was still badly hurting and it was unclear if he could ride. I wondered what he'd feel like by evening or tomorrow morning because these things usually feel worse later. Anyway, it was decided I’d take his bike into town to get oil. Then, once on the move again, I’d follow to see if he rode okay. But strangely enough, and knowing there was little choice but to ride, Charlie started his bike and, before I could say anything, took off for town.
What could I do? I took the opportunity, in his absence, to call Randy White, who owns the Sturgis Motorcycle Parts Swap Meet. He is a personal friend of mine, and lives on a big farm in Kansas some distance east of our present location. Randy told me he'd be home in a two days and we were welcome to come stay as long as we liked, lick our wounds, and fix our bikes at his place. He even offered to pick us and our bikes up if necessary; though it would cost a few hundred miles and I knew he didn't wanna do it. I said we’d see him in a few days then hung up.

It was a 300 mile ride.
Once Betsy's oil tank was again full, Charlie and I mounted up and headed out. The clock showed 11:00 a.m.

Off the interstate and on back roads now, the day passed uneventfully—though it was obvious Charlie was enduring great pain. When evening came we set camp in an abandoned barn that rested on the barren plains and in the middle of mid-America nowhere.

By morning however, Charlie's attitude changed. Stating he could no longer ride, Charlie asked me to leave him here. As anyone who's been around a while knows, old biker code deems that one never leaves another behind. So, I argued that I'd stay another night and we'd see what the following morning brought. But as we talked it became apparent that Charlie wished to be left alone to sort through his own thoughts for a while. He wanted time to decide whether to return home now, or catch up with me on Randy's farm. Both destinations were in the same direction anyway. I finally agreed to leave. We both have cell phones and if he had real trouble I’d get a call. Before going though, I rode to the nearest little town to stock Charlie up on water, food, and anything else he asked for.

By 11:00 a.m. I was gone.

The weather was beautiful, as the lonely little two lane highway led across the golden prairie-sea in rolling Midwestern plains. I settled deeper into the saddle and wondered what might happen next.

Little did I suspect that the bulk of this unfortunate adventure still lay ahead; and that in time I’d be grateful to Charley for hitting me..

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Back to Real-Life Gypsy Stories with Scooter Tramp Scotty, Two Wheeled Tales

Reader Comments

Great story, I hope everyone is ok. Scotty is a good fellow. I love these tales. I hope the stories can continue.

cameron k
spring creek , NV
Friday, November 13, 2015
Editor Response I'm sure they will continue. Scotty won't give up easily. He knows the code too well.
Hope your doing better Scotty, if you need anything while in south Louisiana, hit me up.

Weasel Thad at,

Houston Thad Cranford
Clinton, LA
Saturday, November 7, 2015
God I love these stories . Mr Scotty seems like a good dude, and I certainly respect his tenacity for the "road." We all have had major fuck-ups along the way, but he continues to plug along.

Much respect . Eager for the next installment. Cheers

ed hardison
Corolla, NC
Wednesday, November 4, 2015

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