Motorcycle Accident and the Death of my Travel Muse
There is a moment when we intensely discover something that we love about life that marks us, that forever changes us. I knew early on I liked travel and I was well aware I was quite fond of motorcycles, but it wasn’t until I bought my 2nd Motorcycle from one of my best compadres that either of those things became a passion.
I took a month off work to ride it up the West Coast from SoCal and across the top through the Rockies all the way back to Cincinnati, Ohio. My blue bike gave me those passions and for the next several years would be my travel muse.
My muse would take me on many great adventures; we crossed the US twice, did the whole west coast, circled every Great Lake, hit Canada hard, saw the Rockies on fire, the prairies, the deserts, and the many green hills of Kentucky and the Midwest. This bike introduced me to life long friends, saw me through relationships, and most importantly cemented my love of travel and a reason to get on the saddle and just get lost on the road for no good reason other than it was there. I discovered North America on this bike, almost 30,000 miles of it.That’s why this past Sunday when a silver Honda Civic rolled through a stop sign and I t-boned it and was flipping through the air one of the 50,000 thoughts that was firing through my mind was this is the end of this bike. As I landed fists down into the concrete 15-20 feet later, thankful to be alive, I took my time before I walked back to see my bike smashed into the wheel well of the car, handle bar into the windshield, mangled and twisted.
The next day the tow truck came and towed my bike away and then a day later I found out it was totaled by insurance, meaning the cost of repair is greater than the value of the bike, the big red death stamp. My muse was dead, but I’m still alive. My life cannot be rebought I realize, so despite however hard to swallow it may be I am wholly thankful, and a week before my birthday no less.
Everything about the end of this bike was as epic as it’s beginning. It started in L.A. with a 4,000-mile road trip halfway around the US and ended in twisted metal and front flips in Portland, Oregon. I believe that once you find your muse you shouldn’t lose it, but if you do, don’t lose its memory. This bike literally showed me America, showed me the beauty of things that I could have never imagined. Rock monoliths off the coast of Oregon, the colossal trees of the Redwoods, the vistas of Wyoming, the lakes of Ontario, the sound of the wind in the Great Plains, and the sacred Black Hills of my ancestors. I couldn’t un-see these things after I rode through them on my bike and once I knew they existed I wondered with a hungry imagination what else was out there in the world. The travel seed was planted deep in rich soil.
So, today as I know this bike will never roll again and feel the sick empty feeling in my gut I bid it farewell and thanks for a lifetime of memories and hope that I can get even a quarter as much out the next one. Thanks for everything bud. –S.T.
Next entry: Travel Wisdom: Kids Know Best.