Sunday, April 19, 2009

Home from the Hill Country

I didn't get a good night sleep last night. I guess because my body knew I would be home tonight or maybe it was the Jalapeño Pepper Steak for dinner. Whatever it was, I couldn't sleep and by 5am this morning I gave up and just started surfing the Internet. Before I knew it the clock showed 7:15 so I went across the street to the restaurant for  breakfast. Since it was the weekend they had the buffet but service seemed to really suck today. The lady didn't seem too interested in helping people or taking their money. I hope this isn't a new trend.

With breakfast done, I geared up and packed the bike. It was 8:30 by the time I started the bike and pulled out of the parking lot. Since I had filled up last night I headed out of town on FM337 without further delay. As it was still early I kept the pace slow just in case any deer wanted to jump out in front of me. Lucky for me, the first deer I saw today was on the other side of Eagle Lake many hours later. I followed 337 all the way to Medina where I turned left onto Hwy 16. I really like the twisties on 16 so I figured it would be worth going up to Kerrville and catching I-10 east until I got past San Antonio.

Everything was going great on 16. I passed a sign that showed sharp curves with a 15mph limit and another sign that said "HILL". I thought "duh!" It seemed pretty obvious by the rather steep grade in front of me but sometimes people have to put up signs. I was halfway between Medina and Kerrville when I saw a lady on the side of the road with her flashers on trying to wave me down. I thought, "this can't be good".  She told me there had been a horrible motorcycle wreck just up the hill involving an SUV. I didn't think this could be good. I asked if anyone had called 911 and she wasn't sure. So I rode up to where all the bikes were parked and 2 riders ran up to me asking if I was EMS. I said no and asked if they had called 911. I figured if they couldn't get cell coverage I could ride on up the road to the top of the hill where I could get coverage, this all felt a little too familiar. It wasn't until later that I realized I could have pressed the 911 button on my SPOT tracker but then it would have scared Reagan when spot dispatch called. By the time I got up to the SUV, I heard someone say they just got through to 911 and they were trying to dispatch. I figured it would take a while. Since the road was well blocked from the south, I headed up the hill to make sure people were signalling oncoming traffic to stop. The last thing we needed was an even bigger disaster with more vehicles coming down the hill. As I passed the injured rider I glanced down briefly. No blood, OK. I didn't see a helmet on the guy's head but a lady was laying with him keeping his head immobilized. Jacket, check. Gloves, check. Pants and boots, OH OH. I don't think his leg is supposed to have that many bends in it. About that time I heard him say his leg was killing him. I'll bet it was. Since there were plenty of people around him, I went on up the hill to make sure traffic was stopping and as I got there people figured out what they needed to do and they were running up the hill farther to slow and stop traffic. I helped a few other guys move the wrecked bike out of the way and then I stood around to make sure the EMS arrived.

When the emergency folks showed up and more and more emergency vehicles started arriving several of us talked about alternate routes to get to our destinations as it was clear that 16 was going to be blocked for a while and we were just in the way. So I figured I'd just turn around, go back to Medina and then over to Bandera and catch 46 back to Boerne. The road wasn't as fun but I was sort of riding a more sedate pace for awhile. I didn't see the wreck happen but it appeared the rider was coming down the hill and crossed the yellow line around a corner and ran smack dab into the front end of a small SUV.  There were no skids marks behind the SUV from it stopping. As I was riding down the road processing everything that had just transpired it dawned on me that no one had talked to the driver of the SUV. I remember she looked absolutely scared to death. I sure hope she didn't think any of those motorcyclists were going to harm her. I also realized I didn't grab my solar blanket from my first aid kit. All notes for next time. I really need to take one of those motorcycle accident scene management classes that qualifies as our First Aid requirement for the MSF.

OK, so I get to Boerne and hop on I-10. Yuck! Traffic, stupid people and boring straight roads. No fun. I catch 1604 around San Antonio and then get back on I-10 east of town. At exit 617 I head south to catch 90A and get away from some of the crazies. I stop in Gonzales for gas since there was an Exxon and I didn't think I'd make it to Eagle Lake where I knew there was an Exxon. My speed pass didn't work so I still had to dig out my wallet, grrrr. I went inside to use the restroom and get a bottle of water. Today I was using my camelback bladder as things were getting warm and I found myself really thirsty yesterday at the end of the day without it. A quick call to Reagan to let her know where I was and then it was back on the road.

Leaving Gonzales I wanted to take FM532 and check out FM340 as I had planned to do on Friday. About 5 miles down the road however, I had to turn around as the road was closed due to flooding. Ok it was now abundantly clear to me that I was not going to ride 532 or check out 340 from Hallettsville. So I slugged on down 90A through Eagle Lake catching spur 10 over to Hwy 59. A stop by the motorcycle range to see how this week's class was going then I headed home. I pulled into the driveway around 3:50 with 352 miles ridden today. I was home.

Overall the trip was good. Once I got out there I couldn't have asked for nicer weather. The whole trip added another 869 miles to the odometer and put me closer to wearing out the rear knobbie. I put on the TKC 80s to try them out before Alaska. I think they will work great on gravel roads but they aren't much fun on good asphalt or concrete. I'll be happy to have my Tourances back. I wish my friend Chuck could have made the trip but stuff happens. Since I didn't have him to b.s. with I tried to talk to more people. Generally folks are friendly out there but sometimes I think they were put off by my bright riding gear or maybe they just thought I was weird. Next trip out, if it's just me I'm going to go a little further west like to Junction and see what roads I can find out there.

Since __I__ didn't go to the hospital or to jail, it was a very good trip this weekend.

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