Mission … aborted!

9 04 2009

Well, kind of.  The day started in South Park (who killed Kenny?) at a brisk 19 degrees and howling wind.  We were met downtown by hundreds of school kids who lined the streets for our departure.  Before leaving we met with the president of the MS Society and a gentleman living with MS.  He shared his story and thanked us for raising awareness for the cause.  As we left town, the chill was getting to all of us.  After about 3 miles of riding we had to stop on the side of the road to add layers.  I increased to 2 pairs of gloves, 5 layers on top, and and ear warmer around my ears and face.  The side gusts from the wind had to be better than 40 mph.  They were pushing us all over and a few times off the road.  I rode behind Julie hoping that somehow that would make it safer for her.  There were spots that the shoulder was less than a foot wide with a big drop on the side.  The wind was blowing from our left so I kept imagining that we might get pushed over the side.  I told myself all along that at no time would I put my safety before my goal of making it to Denver.  Within 10 minutes of redressing and remounting I had to make the decision that I hoped I wouldn’t.  I got off the bike.  I just didn’t feel that it was safe with the gusts of wind and large trucks flying past.  I was crushed.  Phil stayed out and we followed behind in the van watching him push thru the tremendous winds.  There were many emotions going thru my head.  I felt like I had abandoned my friend and left him to fend for himself.  At the next stop I decided to remount as the winds had died down.  I don’t know if it was the best time as we were still on the very narrow highway 285.  Cars came uncomfortable close to us on more than one occasion.  With about 2 miles remaining before we got off the freeway, I saw a car merging onto the highway that didn’t look like it was going to stop.  I was right behind the lead motorcycle when I heard Greg yell, “Oh $@%&!”  Just as I went wide to go around, so did Greg.  He pushed me out into traffic.   Over my left shoulder I saw a huge white truck brush within inches of me.  I let out a scream as I realized I made it thru safely.  I was pretty shaken up, however, and got off my bike and sat on the side of the road.  As I was getting my wits back I looked back to see Phil picking his bike off the ground.  He was unable to avoid the car and slid into it.  Luckily all of us were okay, just shaken up.  The rest of the ride was relatively uneventful until the end.  As we rounded the last corner I saw a bunch of people standing on the corner with signs.  As we approached we realized that they were a welcoming committee of MS workers and volunteers.  The most poignant sign was held by a man with MS sitting in a wheelchair … “Thanks Phil”.

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One response

13 04 2009
Michael

Glad to hear you are all okay. I have been watching the progess Phil and you have been making and I am very impressed with how well it’s going.

I plan on riding with you both when you get to Philadelphia (hoping you ride to New York that day), and I am considering joining up in DC/Baltimore.

Best of luck on the rest of the trip!

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