Wednesday, February 25, 2009


I felt like a couch potato sitting in the house and decided I could use a little ride out into the sunset and enjoy the evening outdoors. Funnily enough I don't often get to watch the sunset because when I'm working I'm...working! When I'm not I'm usually hanging out with my wife making the most of whatever the evening together offers, as we don't get as many evenings together as people who work normal shifts.So with my wife at a staff meeting and my chores done I thought I'll take a little ride and see what I could picture. It was a beautiful winter's evening, cool air blowing strongly from the east and clear skies and a strong patch of pink and orange to the west. There were lots of motorcyclists, cruisers, rumbling up and down the highway.I stopped a couple of miles from home and parked the Bonneville next to the new Niles Channel Bridge that arches 40 feet over the water next to the old, flat Flagler railroad bridge. The old bridge is now a fishing pier essentially, still as it was when it was the old Overseas Highway between 1938, and 1982 when the new road was completed. This evening there wasn't a single solitary angler on the bridge. My camera and I were alone:Well, I thought, I'd better get the picture taken as the sun was rushing to the horizon.Nice enough but perhaps one without the intrusion of human ingenuity?That was more like it. But where did that bloody bush come from? I realised I was running out of time if I was going to catch the golden orb above the mangroves of Summerland Key. So I ran forward to find a clear placement for this picture:But between those two images I met this:And I hit it stoutly with my tennis shoe, propelling me forward onto my hands and knees and forcing me to launch the camera and gorilla pod into a sublime arc across the pavement. The camera, amazingly, still works okay even though it now sports a big scratch across the back. I amazingly, still work okay even though I managed to graze my right palm, my left elbow and my left knee which started to pour blood in imitation of a very active and scarlet volcano:"Wow!" I thought, "I should have stayed home!" But then immediately I realised that was an unworthy thought. I stood there dripping blood and stinging like a 51 year old version of 18 year old me when I laid my first "real" motorcycle down. I was doing hairpins up a hill in central Italy in 1976 on my 350cc MV Agusta and I fell into the hairpin as I tried to power out of the turn. I scraped myself up pretty good, thus preserving intact my splendid fire engine red parallel twin, and best of all there was no one around to watch as I picked up the bike, eventually kicked it back to life (no electric starters!) and rode off. My left ankle still twinges from time to time,as a reminder where the foot peg ground into it as I went down... In this case too no one was around to witness my stupidity so I took a few more pictures before darkness closed in, which happily would also hide my stupidity and then the phone rang. "Great," I thought, "now what? Do I tell her the truth or hide it?" In the event it was my buddy Bruce from Santa Fe. I wondered why he was calling me at that very moment. What a coincidence! Nice to hear a friendly voice through the dripping blood! "Well," he said, "You called me!" We figured my phone must have decided to call him as my parabola ended and I probably landed on the phone which must have felt compelled to call for help.
We shared a laugh at my temporary predicament while I fished around a for a rag in my saddlebag to contain the spreading pool of blood which threatened the top of my now it was getting dark so I hoped that I could get home with no one being any the wiser. Because you know they'd see a bloody elbow and a bloody knee and start making groaning noise about those dangerous motorcycles....This whole kerfuffle was actually planned a as a response to the recent essays discussing risks and riding techniques recently posted on Scooter in the Sticks and Musings of an Intrepid Commuter. My point? Walking can be bloody dangerous too, so perhaps we should wear safety gear all the time, not just when riding those nasty dangerous two wheelers.