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PingWi-Fi Does Aerial Acrobatics & The SongBird Has Flown

April 19th, 2018 · Tags:Cities · Politics · Satire · Uncategorized · Wi-Fi

2014 Triumph Thunderbird LT

 

Even my friends who hate motorcycles (and blogs about motorcycles) have probably heard or seen the slogan:  “Loud Pipes Save Lives.”

Apparently I needed some louder pipes the other day.

A young lady in her SUV caught up with me after following me at a distance for a quarter of a mile — headed east — away from the sunset, after the four-way stop south of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.  She apparently never saw my brake lights, my right-hand turn signal, or the 1,000+ pounds that make up me and my favorite mode-o-transpo.

Thank goodness my guardian angel was working over time … 

No seriously, praise the Lord that I was able to crawl up off of the asphalt and limp out of the busy street.  But I think there was another safety phenom at work that day, and I am living proof.  Accordingly, I have a new slogan:

“Long Hair Saves Lives”

You see, I am now a little embarrassed to admit it, but in the past, on a few occasions, I have ridden my motorcycles without a helmet … but not once within the last couple of years.  Why?  Well … crazy as it is at my age, it’s because once again I am growing and donating my hair to the Locks Of Love organization.  And you know what?  Despite the long-hair-easy-rider photos you might see on some old Doobie Brothers album — long hair, motorcycles and Texas wind do not play together nicely.  With long hair, after a 30 minute ride at or near the speed limit, the rider might as well shave their head or accept that they now are growing natty, knotted dreadlocks.

Are you a fan of “word pictures?”  Here is the best word picture I can conjure.  If you have ever ridden a fence line, pushing cattle along through the pasture from the back of your horse you’ve seen it … or if you’ve worked on a cattle operation that had barbed wire fence that needed mending, you have seen those orange (Hereford) or black (Angus) wads and rings of hair wrapped around the barbed wire … well, picture clumps like that on my head.

 Those tangles don’t come out.

 

The Helm

So … anywho … thanks to long hair and the plan to donate that untangled hair, I was wearing head gear and avoided any unwanted donations of more important Ping parts.

Man down!

Actually, I said I crawled off the asphalt for dramatic effect.  I hopped up off the street faster than a football player jumps off the turf in an agility drill.  As quick as I was, I left a little flesh on the ground that day.  Shock and the body’s adrenaline are wonderful things, although I will try to use them more sparingly in the near future.  I hit the ground hard … really hard … but I never considered lying there.  Immediately, I was up and walking around on the protective median.

 

A Few Of The Souvenirs

 

Ha … I bet passersby thought there was a crazy man on the loose.  I was hunched over, like some old cowboy who had just taken a really strong, big shot of rot-gut whisky … bent over and staggering around and cussing at the top of my lungs like a mad man … Not cussing at anyone, or to anyone … just cussing out of pain and frustration and disbelief, as if that were going to help the situation.  Cussing was about the only thing that felt good at that moment.  I know I must have looked scary insane.  Ha … maybe I was.

How could someone be so careless?  I hobbled across the intersection and sat on the curb for a few minutes as the first responders responded, and then I saw something lying in the roadway.  My .45 pistol was smack dab in the middle of one of the adjoining intersections, despite the holster still attached at my lower back. (Yes, licensed to carry …)  So, as quick as I could, I hobbled over to retrieve it.  Funny.  Some woman was pretty much standing guard, watching the gun, as if it were going to also hop up and sound off at everyone.     I could tell she was terrified by the weapon.  I would have bit my tongue if I didn’t think that would hurt too.  Nevertheless, I refrained from saying, “If I were you, I would be more scared of the ‘three-thousand-pound weapon’ that just ever-so-casually knocked me off my bike.”

If only people driving cars would realize those things are also deadly weapons … much more deadly than guns, statistically.  I digress …

Kinda surreal.  I scooped it up and popped it back into my holster.

“So what was it like?”  some friends asked.

 

A Weapon

 

Well … it was strange.  I had been keeping an eye on this car since the aforementioned four-way stop sign.  I ride this route every day on my way home, and I always have anticipated this very accident scenario, crazy and futile as that seems.  At the four-way stop, I always separate myself from traffic, knowing I have the right turn coming up. (Ha … there is a safety median that prevented me from getting over further to the right to turn …)  IF I am at the back of a group of cars, I slow down and let them get well ahead of me.  IF I am the leader of the pack (P-I), I always “jump on it” … accelerate rapidly to create space between my bike and any cars behind us.  I did the latter on the day of the accident, and jumped way ahead of any cars.  But, in my rearview mirror, I saw a white vehicle leave the four-way stop, and whip around another car to get in the lane behind me.  But she was way, way back behind me.  I guess she caught me.

I looked in the rear view mirror one more time just as she got up on my tail.  I was already turning into another intersection — and about to cross that second intersection with cross traffic. So I didn’t have a lot of options.  I started my turn thinking “there is just no way.”

It was so weird.  Yes surreal.  Almost like being transported into some other strange reality.  It seemed as if I saw the white vehicle out of the corner of my eye in slow motion, and I think I heard its motor, but no braking or screeching tires … right at collision. I had a fraction of a second to think, “Oh my … is this it?”  Then my feet went straight up in the air, and I think I completed a full flip and landed hard on my right shoulder and right hip, to the side of the actual collision.  That was lucky. Lucky that the white SUV didn’t run me over as it had my big bike … and lucky that cars in the second intersection didn’t run me over too.  (I was traveling at approximately 10-15 m.p.h. in the turn, and I estimate the other vehicle must have been traveling around 60 m.p.h., having left the other cars behind and overtaken me … ha … literally.)

Have you seen that police chase strategy where the patrol car rams the back tire of the fugitive’s car in a car chase?  The result is that the wheel may be stopped for a brief moment causing the car to skid out of control.  I think that happened.  The initial point of impact was the white vehicle’s front right bumper to the rear left side of the bike.  The motorcycle apparently swerved around, violently, to the left … increasingly in front of the car.  The damage on the left front side of the motorcycle would seem to support that, since I had been making a right turn away from the car … going the opposite way.  The good thing was that the violent swerve threw me to the right … out of harm’s way, or partially.

In that split second, it was as if I could sense that something unknown and powerful and menacing had taken over.  It must be like what a person experiences as a great white shark snatches them up off of their surfboard. (Ha … another word picture …) In both cases, there is that first sign of danger, but by then it is too late, with nothing to do but kind of wait to see what’s next … to kind of ride it out for a split second … before landing.

Another friend asked me what it was like, and I answered, “Imagine being body slammed by a sumo wrestler who is moving faster than 40 m.p.h.”  It was like that.

Perhaps it was in the back of the ambulance — yes, I actually rode the ambulance to the emergency room thinking my hip, shoulder and/or collar bone might be broken.  Ha … and yes, of course I was texting all the way, strapped into a gurney. (I found no Wi-Fi …)  I think it was in the ambulance that I started to analyze more and more how lucky I was that the injuries were not life-threatening.  Yes, PTL!  I realized how unlikely it was that the crashing vehicle completely separated me from the bike … like separating wheat and chaff. Or better yet, I thought … it was like the old trick where the magician pulls hard on the table cloth, and the table cloth comes out cleanly, leaving the food and dishes and place settings still on the  table.  Well on that day, the other car was “the magician.”  The motorcycle was “the table cloth” that was whisked away, out from under me, with surgical precision.  And I was like “Mom’s best china” … left behind on the asphalt “table top” … with nothing shattered and not much spilt.

I am happy to report all of this … ecstatic that the road continues to go on forever.  The ultra-expensive X-rays, and ambulance ride were all for naught. Nothing was broken.  The shoulder was severely sprained, and possibly dislocated, swollen and pretty much frozen for a couple of weeks.  The hip is but one more joint that now pops out of place at semi-regular intervals.  But I live to type another day, and the pain subsides more every day.  I’m more than lucky.  I am so blessed!

 

‘Birds Of A Feather

At this point, I haven’t replaced the 2014 Triumph Thunderbird.  It was declared a total loss … such a shame to lose such a beautiful piece of engineered art … and performance.  In my humble opinion, my bikes — especially the nostalgia-lost Thunderbird — added much to the blog … a new dimension … another facet … perhaps influencing me to take journeys that otherwise might never have been … or perhaps might have been more mundane in a car … like the ride to Columbia, Mo., through the The Ouachita Mountains and The Ozarks, on a “Dirty Gig” assignment … or the interesting, insider’s look at “biker culture” at the first- or second-largest bike rally in the country (depending on who you talk to) for Bike Week in Daytona, Fla., … or the Total Eclipse of the Sun in Fort Laramie, Wyo., … the numerous trips through the Texas Hill Country, sometimes just to sample a swimming hole … or the College World Series … or a couple of trips to and up-and-around a dormant volcano near the Texas/New Mexico border … or the weekend trip to Nashville, including a stop at the American Quilt Museum of all places … about a dozen college bowl games … and so much more.  In four years, the bike and I blogged for more than 50,000 miles.

 

 

 

Here is my first love letter to the Thunderbird (see link) … a bike only recently nicknamed “SongBird” partly because “Thunder Chicken” was already taken by my old buddy’s Ford Thunderbird … and partly because of a belt on the bike that squeaked and even chirped on occasion …  Did you know the British motorcycle company loaned the name Thunderbird to Ford?  Did you know Marlon Brando road a Triumph in “The Wild Ones?”  I digress …

The link is the first journalistic review that I blogged about the bike:

Triumph Of The Will — 1,422 Miles — Cheeks Branded, Intact

Ha … fly free my little wing:)

Know what I sayin?