INCIDENTS OF My TRAVELS to
NEVER SEEKING ADVENTURE YET ADVENTURE FINDS ME
Just when things are moving alone I try out the Rokon Motorbike...
At one point we needed some more tools and about four 2x4 studs. The reason for them I cannot remember but Jim suggested my using the recently repaired Rokon motorcycle. This way I did not spend a couple of time consuming trips collecting the materials. Hesitantly, because of my lack of knowledge in running motorcycles, I agreed. His logic was sound.
I hiked back to shore, distracted by Star Trek episodes. Arriving at the igloo I collected all that Jim listed for me to get. I placed it in a crate and secured it on the padded rack over the back of the bike. The six foot 2x4s were secured on the same rack. Two per side and the other end would drag on the ground behind me.
I started the motorbike (a quick read of the manual that was available in our campsite) and proceeded on the return trip. I was estimating a quick return, thinking that I can run at top speed across the terrain, but trying to speed up the bounce would send me flying. Two tires barely hitting ground at the same time and all that bouncing would cause me to lose control, midair I would instinctively tend to pull on the handlebars one way or the other and the crooked tire landed and spun in the new direction. Stop. Redirect and speed up again. I would repeat the process again and again.
I would admit though that I might have yipped and yahooed as the bike bounced almost uncontrollable. But the progress was possibly as slow as commuting on foot.
I did slow down eventually. Still not enough to maintain a steady pace, but the bouncing was less severe. I maneuvered around the lagoon slowly and without incident. Crossing the dry creek was a welcomed relief as the terrain smoothed out, albeit a brief repast because as I approached the tall grass plains going became treacherous again because the uneven grounding was hidden in the foliage. Surprisingly, the only thing keeping me from totally losing control was the anchoring of the 2x4s dragging behind me. I continued on.
Then came the Spruce tree forest and this obstacle with the exposed roots exacerbated the bounce. The Rokon motorcycle, though tough and made for such rough terrain, had its limitations. The chain driven front tire, with complimentary chain driven back, had an enormous turn radius. Avoiding obstacles within this limiting range was a chore. Even worse that with a hollow aluminum rim in the front tire full with 2.5 gallons of petrol the force for avoidance was excessive. So at a moderate speed trying to maintain control while avoiding one tree with enough recovery to avoid the next tree impact was imminent, and so somewhere mid bounce in attempts to navigate fa narrow path I crashed into the side of an immovable tree. Eyes shut tight expecting the impact I managed to hit that tree dead center. No side swipe to deviate my course all forward motion suddenly stopped, all my carried materials crashing against my back and I fall over to my left side, almost comical really and seemingly in slow motion. But not slow enough for me to move my leg clear so as to not be pinned down by the couple hundred pound motorbike.
I land on my side, still straddling the active bike, eventually it chokes itself quiet. I was pinned in. The only thing keeping my thigh from being crushed was the wedging of 2x4s on that side of the bike. My foot likewise was fortuitously in a depression on the ground kept the force of the motorbike from snapping it under its weight; I feel the heat from the exhaust warm through the boot on my ankle. Spared the full force of the bike but wedged enough to prevent me from pulling myself out.
I try to lift the bike. But the adrenalin or shock, whatever it may be, weakened me. All I can do was laugh maniacally at the incident. It was pretty funny to me (not realizing of course my luck at the avoiding serious injury). I cackled for a bit, wiping tears from my eyes, waiting to regain my strength to lift the bike off of me.
I lay there on fallen spruce tree needles, sticking to my back (thankful now at the ignorance of knowing that the sticky gooey stuff on those leaves was aphid fecal matter), showered by more falling as a result of the impact. I see an empty bee hive above me and am thankful that I have not angered a swarm. Further evidence that the cold season is upon us bees abandons their nest at 53 degrees.
My breathing returns to regular rate, my cackle in now a huffing and puffing of attempts to catch my breath, tears running down my temples.
Suddenly I hear motion and I freeze. Looking up, well from my vantage on the floor with the sky was below and the ground above, I see movement just beyond the cluster of trees. At first assuming the wild hare Jack coming to investigate the wailing I finally see an adolescent bear had stopped in its pace and started approaching me to investigate.
Being late October these bears begin being dangerous. They seek food to keep them sustained through the hibernating months. They eat everything. Stories are told that at some point they are not particular what they eat. Other NPR stories constantly aired tell of hunters and hikers being attacked for no reason. I had no doubt at that moment that this was one of those NPR moments.
Not moving now, except for my right arm searching for the shotgun that was thrown clear during impact. It was just beyond reach. Dammit!
I lay quiet and staring at his approach, upside down I found it curious seeing it paws up. The bear approached cautiously. Almost upon me I am quiet and the only sound was the trees creak in the gust, my end was nigh.
But just then it jerks back. Annoyed, something offends it. Or some other unseen predator is present? The imagination runs at the speed of the hastened the episodes recalled in my hikes.
The bear turns and slowly departs, disappearing into the brush beyond the trees.
It takes me a few moments to notice the smell of burning rubber. I look down and a small trail of smoke rises from my pinned foot. The exhaust as hot as it was burning through my rubber boots at the ankle where it was making contact. The smell or my complete stillness (maybe it thought I was dead, bears do not approach the deceased I have heard) may have convinced the bear to abandon its investigation.
Whatever it was I did not underestimate my good fortune. The time elapsed slowed my rush and I was able to lift the bike off of my foot. For reassurance, I pounded my feet around on the ground, no breaks or strains. That was good.
The Rokon was not as fortunate. The impact broke the front chain drive. It was useless. After all that work Jim did to it just that past weekend and I break it on the first run. He will surely not be happy.
But I am stuck halfway to the work camp and all this material still to transport. I try to take it all on my back for a ways. Too heavy, too cumbersome. I will have to abandon some on the spot and return for it later. So I carry what I can and arrive at camp hours after I was expected.
Jim was about to come out to look for me, not fearing the worse just thinking I decided to stay at base instead.
I tell him of the incident. He was disappointed but not upset and we both travelled back to pick up the rest of the materials. But by the time of our return it was time to hike back to base.
We retrieved the Rokon motorcycle in the next few days and stored it next to the igloos. We are never to use it again.
About the Author
I have always ended up in unexpected places. So I present a collection of my tales told over the years. Places that due to circumstances I might never go on my own accord.