Death Valley or Bust… We should have left out the “or bust”

This is part 2 of my ill fated attempt to ride to Death Valley with friends. Part 1 is here.

Lunch was good. It was great to meet up with JB and it finally felt like the trip was starting, never mind it was 2 in the afternoon. We looked at Maps for a bit and JB had a good route in mind and since my plans were already shot to hell I figured why not. We got going again (with a sigh of relief when all the bikes started) and headed south on highway 25, or as I know it and most call it the Airline Highway.

It’s a pretty fun road, not as twisty as I would like but much better than 101 and worlds better than 5. I was leading followed by J and then D and finally JB on his Harley. We were riding fairly spread out. I couldn’t see D and I just rode at my pace, know that J couldn’t really get lost since there aren’t many turn offs along this piece of road in the middle of nowhere. It’s a 50 mile stretch of road, and I enjoyed finally being able to just ride enjoying the beautiful green hills and the corners that the road did have.
After a while I did begin to wonder if I had missed a turn off, I didn’t think so, but since I really had no idea where I was going I found a clear stretch of highway and let D and JB pass us.

It turns out I was not lost and we stopped briefly at the junction of 25 and 198. We then got on 198 only to get off again almost immediately and head south again on Peach Tree Rd.

It was about 5 miles down Peach Tree Rd. that disaster struck in the form of a Turkey Vulture, causing D to crash and total his motorcycle.

None of this.

None of this.

My friend holding the Turkey Vulture is a big guy. we're talking 5 foot plus wing span.

My friend holding the Turkey Vulture is a big guy. we’re talking 5 foot plus wing span.

Details I still get upset when I think about it so the details (if you want them) they are here.

As we sort things and realize that he’s not dead or dying, a pickup truck drives up and a very helpful local who lives up the road asks if we need help. He offers to come back with a trailer for the bike saying we can leave it at his place for a few days. We thank him and he heads off.

Shortly after that two Paramedics show up in their SUVs, they look D over and seem to think he’s going to be ok. While this is happening a CHP officer arrives, followed soon after by another. They report that the Ambulance is just a little while behind them, and sure enough 5 or 10 minutes later we have an ambulance with us as well.

Just in case you lost count (or weren’t counting) that makes five emergency vehicles, six emergency personal, 4 motorcycles and 4 motorcyclists on the side of a one lane road in the middle of nowhere.

It was quite a sight and after the shock of it all it was a bit surreal. The CHP took a report and the Paramedics made D sign an AMA (not an American Motorcyclist Association, but an Against Medical Advice) since they thought he should take and ambulance ride and he did not really want to do that.

The CHP asked all of us separately our versions of the crash and well you’ve heard mine and I can only assume the others said similar things. Though most memorably the officer did ask me how fast we were going, and honestly I could not recall, I was simply following the people in front of me, all I can say is that it did not feel especially fast. However before I could answer he said “You were going 55 right.”

Yes of course that’s how fast I was going officer.

The rancher came back with the trailer and we loaded the badly damaged Multistrada into it. The Emergency people packed up and headed out and we did the same. Of course deciding that this trip was a bust and we would have to try again some other time. Maybe next year?

The ride home was thankfully uneventful. We stopped for gas once and at Starbucks once. Highway 101 north from King City to Salanis is a windy nightmare. With no windscreen on my bike I was basically lying on my tank hiding behind my speedo and tach.

We all made it home safely, D later went to the emergency room and turns out besides a stiff neck and sore back he was fine, no concussion or any other injuries.

I still don’t believe in Fate, but what a crazy day.


About MotoCynic

I started riding motorcycles in 2006, and there is no going back. I've ridden more than 100,000 miles, most of it on a Ducati Monster, and despite setbacks and murderous BMW's I'm loving every mile.
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10 Responses to Death Valley or Bust… We should have left out the “or bust”

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