Going Down

It’s Tuesday, July 2nd, I am still in Louisville prepping Ruby for the road. After a major/minor fix of some electrical wiring I took her first out in the country and then into the city for a test drive. My fear is the engine cutting out without warning. It did that the other day. Today the engine ran fine on the open road and in stop and go traffic. I’m hopeful.

While in the city I stopped in a parking lot to ask a postman for directions. I pulled up in front of his vehicle and shut off the engine so we could hear one another clearly. At that moment the small white car next to him backed out. I didn’t see a driver, hear an engine, or see any lights. He and I both yelled. The next moment I was down on the ground with Ruby on her side. The white car struck Ruby squarely, but luckily at very low speed. I was uninjured. I wasn’t sure about Ruby. Liquids dripped from the front end and near the engine. Ruby bled.

The postman & I picked Ruby up. I pushed her to an empty parking space. The driver was shaken. I was truly uninjured, no macho posturing here. I wasn’t even bruised. I got the directions I needed and dismissed the postman. Sarah, the driver, and I stood for a few minutes. I inspected Ruby. Everything was in order, but she didn’t start. I assumed she was flooded, something that happens when she goes down onto her left side. Sarah and I talked. She pulled back her hair and showed me a scar on her forehead from a car accident. I said that’s exactly what this was, an accident. Then Ruby started right up. A happy ending.

I tell this story so I can introduce another accident. I wrecked in West Virginia a few weeks back. It was the wet morning of a wet 48 hours. I was on a busy country road, traffic started to back up behind me. Under these circumstances I always pull over and let traffic pass. Usually it is into a large paved parking area or drive. This morning it was on a small side road. Although the road was paved, there was a thick layer of gravel covering its first 3 or 4 feet. As I pulled into it the bike swerved with the rear wheel loosing traction. I fishtailed. The bike heaved over on it right side sending me flying. I hit the road on my front, bounced, and flipped over, landing on my backside, feet down. I stood upright. I was shaken, not broken.

The third or fourth car in line pulled over. We picked Ruby up. She was limp with twisted baggage hanging only on one side. I pushed her awkwardly to the side of the street and got her balanced on the kickstand. I assured the driver I was fine and he drove off. I unpacked Ruby in the rain disconnecting twisted bungee cords and setting the bags aside. I took a rag and wiped Ruby down looking for broken bits. The only damage was a bent right brake lever. It had taken the brunt of the fall, not my new right mirror.

Ruby started right up. I remounted the gear. It was gray and raining and I was shaken. I wondered what the hell I was doing. ‘Having an adventure,’ I told myself. And so I am.

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