Me + motorcycle = badass (and damn near dead)

Me + motorcycle = badass (and damn near dead)

There’s a certain badassery that comes with owning a motorcycle . Think Peter Fonda in Easy Rider and Marlon Brando in The Wild One. All these years I’ve been pedaling my ass across the country I never fully understood my throttle twisting friends… until recently.

In early June I purchased my very first motorcycle. It was a fluke, really. I saw the bike for sale on the side of the road on the way to see another bike. The deal was too good to pass up and before I knew it I was popping clutches and wobbling around on my new bike like a baby giraffe. Riding a motorcycle is addictive.

Within a couple weeks, after I jumped through enough hoops for the motorcycle permit, license, and registration, my buddy, Dave, and I took a two hour trip south to Tybee Island, GA. It was successful, more or less, acquiring a pair of parking tickets and getting caught in a torrential downpour in the process.

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But alas, all good things must come to an end. Not so much an end really, but a damn screeching halt for the time being.

You see, today, I got hit by a truck. A Dodge Dakota, to be exact. Black. I didn’t see much else because my body was busy spinning wildly through the air after impact. But I saw the aftermath. The lower left portion of his windshield was smashed in from my right handlebar. From there, running the length of the driver’s side door and partially to the truck bed, was a ragged tear from whatever it was on my bike that raked the side.

I was trying to exit left from the Wal-Mart parking lot. Traffic was heavy, averaging 45-55 mph, and four vehicles were stacked up in the turn lane leaving the main road. I had been sitting there a few minutes when the driver of the foremost vehicle waved me past. I popped the clutch, grabbed some throttle, zipped into the turn lane and immediately merged… just as the Dodge Dakota emerged from alongside the line of cars waiting to turn into the parking lot. I got clipped.

I remember seeing a flash of black right before impact. There was no tires squealing or horns honking. Silence. Blue sky. Clouds. I relaxed as the truck hit me. It spun my body counter clockwise off the bike and onto my back as the bike skidded about fifty feet down the road, throwing sparks and carving asphalt to a shuddering halt.

Eventually I’ll stop sliding and then see what’s broken. The sky was as blue as ever. Clear silence. I rolled to a stop.

I’m okay. I think I’m okay. I need to move something. People will think I’m hurt if I don’t move. I folded my hands across my chest. Took a few breathes. Took inventory. The clouds did nothing to mask the heat beating down on my body. Damn those clouds.

Get up. Get on your feet. I sat upright and stood without effort. There was a thickness in my left side, a sluggishness, and a burning in my right and along my back. No sharp pains though. A good sign. Probably nothing broken. It’s been a few years but I know road rash. A little something mountain biking has shown me a time or two.

I folded my arms across my chest and stared at the broken parts and pieces of my motorcycle littering the street. Shit. This is gonna cost a few bucks to fix. A fire truck arrived. One cop. Two. Then three. An ambulance. I decline medical attention. I felt fine. Except the burn. And why isn’t my left arm working the way it should?

A man ran to me and said his wife saw it all. She saw my head bounce off the pavement. I don’t remember that happening. But I wasn’t in the position to disagree. I’m fine.

After forty-five minutes of paperwork and storytelling, I nursed the bike ten miles home with mashed parts squealing and butthole puckered the entire way. And then I bought some beer. And watched a movie. And tried not to bleed on my new couch, which wasn’t entirely successful.

I’m alive.

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16 Responses to “Me + motorcycle = badass (and damn near dead)”

  1. Rick says:

    You crazy bastard… 11 years of fighting the good fight… dodging bullets, cracking skulls. And you nearly get taken out by a damned Dakota? Although I am thinking you might be whining a bit. From the sound of it, I have done more damage to you than that Dakota did. That Dakota ain’t got shit on me.

  2. Jayme says:

    When I’ve got friends like you throwing me through bedroom windows, who need Dodge Dakotas?

  3. Rick says:

    I didn’t twirl you through the air and give you road rash though. I have to give credit where credit is due. And I don’t think I ever took you down for the count long enough for you to do a physical inventory. You also had zero military training at the time so it didn’t take a truck (a small truck) to knock you on your keister.

  4. Kathleen says:

    Jayme! That is horrible what happened and I now have visions of you bouncing down the highway on your head. Thank GOD you are ok, I can’t take anymore bad news! Take care of yourself!! >:(

  5. Melissa Kohler says:

    What have i always said? All your tours in the war zone, and you come home to get hit by a truck? You’ll do anything for something to post!

  6. Aaron Steinbach says:

    damn dude looks like things are a little rough for ya out there right now. hope you feel better and don’t have any actual long term effects from this blow.

  7. Klimas says:

    Two months ago my little cousin was in a bike accident. He was thrown from the bike before he could let go of the handle bars. He stretched out and tore his brachial plexus and has lost all use of his left arm, forever. This was a week before his 19th birthday. Glad to hear you’re ok bro!

  8. Sara says:

    How very pathetic it is to hear that YOU of all people wrecked before I did. Three words for you: Case guards, helmet. Were you wearing one? No mention. Did you get your arm checked out? What are the logistics of your bike (year, make, model, cost)? What’s it gonna cost to fix? Prognosis? Get back on the iron horse. NEVER trust another driver. Ride like you are invisible not invincible. Glad you are ok. You are, right? I’ll have to take you out and show you how the REAL bikers do it…! :)~ love ya.

  9. Jayme says:

    @ Rick: A truck is a truck. It sucked getting hit by it and now you’re no longer my best friend.
    @ Kathleen: Thanks for the concern. This is a far from the the 200km cycle tour to Kingston!
    @ Missy: You wouldn’t understand the creative thought process we writers have. Sometimes you need inspiration.
    @ Steinbach: Somehow, I think this was karma payback for slamming someone’s head in a cargo hatch.
    @ Klimas: I’m as okay as anyone would be after a near death collision. Oh look! A light!
    @ Sara: Yes, I had a helmet and all my protective gear required by the military. The bike is a 2004 Yamaha V Star 1100. No estimate on fixing yet. My body hurts.

  10. Rick says:

    What?! All I did is mock the fact that you nearly got killed by a truck. That is hardly grounds for such harsh action. You would think that me shoving you out a second floor window or hitting you in the head with a giant rock would have been all the justification you needed. (by the way, pick up your phone once in a while)

  11. Kevin says:

    Reading your post gave me flashbacks to a little incident in 1983 of a VW van turning left in front of me. My helmet saved me from leaving teeth in the passenger door post. Glad to hear you walked away as I did.
    And when you get back on the iron horse… never, ever trust someone waving you on or expect them to see you coming when they are in the left-hand turn lane.

  12. Sgt Pierce says:

    Damn. I didn’t know you had a motorcycle. Hope the left arm gets back to working normally, and the bike is ok. It was good hearing from you again. Quick update: Im at AUL, MSgt Hart is our Log chief, and Frew is the BEQ manager.

  13. Stella from Salsa says:

    Jayme, Glad to hear you are o.k. What an ordeal. I am going to have my son Jimmy(you met him when you came over to practice for the recital) read this. He just got his license to drive a motorcycle to my dismay.
    I don’t write you much but you are always in my prayers. I want you safe while protecting us all. Thanks for all you do. Stella

  14. Jodi Schlatter says:

    Crazy to hear about your run in with the Dakota ~ take care of that left arm and I’ll take care of my right arm so we can ride some trails next time you visit buddy! (-;


  15. Wilder says:

    i knew something happened! you where pretty broken for a few days, and didn’t go on the hump with us. Anyway that is pretty bad ass that this all happened and you kept giving 100%. Did you get the bike fixed yet?

  16. Blanton says:

    Yeah we saw that your arm was fucked up, and first thing that went through my head was “I bet that crazy motherfucker is still going to go on the hump” You didn’t, but I’m sure if you did, you would of still outlasted the rest of us.

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The author.Born in the year of the Dragon, the author grudgingly accepts the fact he has too many interests and not enough time. A cyclist as long as he can remember, an avid yet inconsistent writer since age eleven, and a U.S. Marine since age twenty-one, the author also adds peak bagging, diving, snowboarding, and computers to his list of interests. Incidentally, he is aware of his inability to make a living from any but the Corps. The author accepts this as fact and remains optimistic. Feel free to drop him a line.

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