|No pictures - just the memory - not a good one for the
folks involved I
should think. I was traveling up, I think, 93A towards Jasper. This was
a down on the valley floor road that, as I saw things from the road -
the valley ended and the road was forced to ascend the valley's end. It
snaked from left to right climbing in a steady right hand turn - a view
where you look from the valley floor and stare wide-eyed at the road
along the mountainside. After the big right hand turn the road
straightens a bit and starts a left handed turn - the tight two? lane
road widens out to a large turnout / parking / vista point area.
Construction crews seemed to be doing some work. As I neared I found
out that the construction crews weren't construction nor was their task
a nice one.
The scene I saw was one of large tow trucks - wreckers that had to pick one of the "large-as-a-bus" RV's from the depths just off the side of the road. A rather smashed small car was sitting on the roadway as well.
At this point I recalled the park gate keeper the day before asking if I was traveling through to Jasper - there had been a bad accident - road closed. I wasn't traveling that day - but the next I would be.
This was _THE_ accident.
The car, I am unsure if it was towed by the RV or had been smashed by it. I think the RV was heading downhill and was in the gentle right hand turn. It went wide, crossed the oncoming lane, and completely smashed through the standard metal, wooden posted guard rail (the guard rails I call meat grinders). The wooden posts were sheared at the ground - nothing they could do would keep the mass from going over.
The edge, while not the worst imaginable - was a bad one. It was the type that 15 - 20 feet out from the edge of the road where the tips of mature, tall trees. The RV had all sorts of large holes in it - if from the rescue crews or from the trees I'm not sure.
A few quick looks and I kept moving - I didn't even want to stop at the spacious wayside to snap a few pix.
|The road starts to twist down the hillside with one big
in the road for a decent drop in altitude. As I decended I kept
noticing multiple parallel black skid marks at a few corners. One final
set of heavy skid marks ended at the side of the hill - with a sheared
off tree many feet out from the edge of the road - marking where a
heavy vehicle went airborn. Stopping just momentarily to try and gaze
over the edge I moved on. After passing through the horseshoe and was
down at the lower level I was reminded of the accident - a new section
of asphalt and some burned and broken trees downhill of that section of
The skid marks took on a new perspective as I looked up from where the vehicle started flight - with a solid impact on the roadway - no touch of the hillside in between. Some pictures and video of the area.
A Google search popped up with details:
PDF document archive if the above link doesn't work
Article, large photo
|Well, one tip - in Yosemite - was already mentioned -
but there are others. I call them tips as the bike did end up on its
side but no injurious "collision" or "accident" happened.
Tip #1 - Hinton AB
It was a drizzly day - something fairly new to me on this trip as I had mainly clear and dry conditions all the way to Lake Louise / Banff. I had a bit of drizzle south of Jasper (unfortunate as there was some great scenery) and then again north of Jasper - nearing Hinton. I found the town to be industrial (smelly) and not logical as to streets. Exiting the highway put me on some side streets that did not have an entrance back onto the highway. I had to poke about some side streets to try and find the way back to where hotels were. I went down, I believe, Switzer Dr, took a left on Kelley Rd, and another left on W. River Rd. Switzer was a well used road but Kelley and River were industrial things. River was a dirt road. You recall I mentioned drizzle, yes? Dirt road plus moisture - potential for mud.
Since it was a dirt road it was maintained via scraping the surface flat. This is fine for the main section but the side sections then end up a bit higher as they are not scraped down. I picked a spot to make a U-turn - a wide one being that it was a bit wet. The spot was where two driveways come together on the left side of the road - a nice wide spot to make an easy turn. Right. The first half+ of the turn was on the road and the remainder would finish on the driveway aprons.
The front wheel bumped up onto the 2" higher section of un-graded driveway apron - and mushed out - washing the front wheel out. No way I could keep the bike up so I let it down onto its left side.
Aux fuel tank - full. Main fuel tank - ??. I could not fully lift the bike. I could get it up about 80% but no more. Unloading of luggage started but still no dice for me to right it - at least before a passer-by stopped. With assistance we were able to get it back up on its feet. A reload of luggage and off I went. No broken or 'moved' mirror or other parts.
It was "just a simple, wide U-turn".....
Tip #2 - Washington - Mt. Rainier - A catch off guard
This was one of the "OOHH - stop and get that picture" stops. Unplanned. Quick. I've done several on this trip (I've also done many more where I passed it by, slowed, turned around, and casually came back to it). I was heading uphill and noticed a lake to my right. Since I was traveling slow (20 to 30 mph) I decided to make a quick stop. In the last 1/4 revolution of the wheels the bike went off center to my right. Again - hold on and set it down as gently as possible. Unload the laptop case (a bit for weight as well as a bit to get a better hold to lift). Put out kickstand (remembered this tidbit on the second lift attempt). Put it into gear and grab some front brake - lift - umph - done. Move off the roadway and make it look like "nothing happened" before any motorist passed by. It was at one of the two red circles - not sure which - doesn't matter.
So was this picture "worth it"??
Tip #3 - California - Yosemite
This was a 'public' tip as I was on the phone with my sister Julie. Check out the Yosemite day entry.
Tips #4 thru ??? (perhaps five to seven tips all together) - UGH
This road, National Forest Rd 3N03, is the reason for the "Tips" addendum entry section. I was coming from Big Bear City with a destination of Joshua Tree. The direct route, 3n03 (red line) was preferred because, well, it was direct. The "long route" was the green route - Up to Lucerne Valley, Route 247 over and down. Direct route we're talking 31 miles. Up, over, and down puts life at 50 miles. (jump below the map)
Well the DeLorme software, which I have tagged as "optimistic" as to what is a road, did it again. I shouldn't really say that as I could easily have NOT taken the road - but I did. I now wish I turned back at the start of this little forest service road - 3n03.
Nothing broken - but the bike does have a few dents down below on the exhaust system (LUCKILY it was only that).
One route is 31 miles while another is 50. The 50 would be much faster, easier, better than the 31 mile route. I did about 6 of the 27 and turned back - so that put me at 12 miles of it.
The route was, of course, unpaved. It was a mix of packed soil, surface sand (not too deep to be an issue), rocks, rocks, then more and more rocks - and the rocks were getting larger. Oddly it was tagged as "street vehicles only or those that have a green sticker". It was for high clearance 4x4's or dirt bikes. Street vehicles only - right. On the GPS I showed that I needed to get through the first 6.5 miles and then I'd have some sort of basic road - OK fine. At about the 4 mile mark the rocks got larger. Elevation changes happened too - uphill stuff - not too drastic but not flat either.
Tipover #1 happened. I had to offload bags from the bike before I could get it righted.
I did mentally note that the rear fuel cell contained only 1.5 gallons - not too heavy - before I headed onto this "road". At this tipover I figured I could dump the remaining 1.5 gallons into the main fuel system without overfilling it. This would lower the center of gravity a bit but moreso make it a little easier to lift a sideways bike.
Just another couple of miles and I'd be out onto a better road! I pressed on - a couple dirtbikers heading easily the other direction - zip and gone. More tipovers happened - two or three perhaps but none were too difficult to right the bike - no bags needed to be removed. Then I made it to the "end" but the road didn't change into what I expected.
It did level out and the rocky travel disappeared - a nice thing - but the sand became deeper. This was a certain issue - getting stuck. I checked the GPS with greater detail and what was ahead didn't look inviting.
An undesirable decision but I made it - turn around. At least I knew what to expect. What a pain. I now had to go down some of the elevation changes. More tips - one causing the shifter to be bent/pressed into the bike and requiring bags to be offloaded. From that point - right near the small water crossing - I knew that the rest of the road would be relatively uneventful.
Well - one of two things (perhaps both) can be said - I'm an idiot for pressing on - though I did find my limit for 'adventure' with this bike. Second it goes to show how durable and reliable this bike is. I gave it some punishment and never did it concern me that it would not make it out. No broken mirrors or turn signals. The shifter bent but I was able to unbend it - no further action needed. The left mirror also "turned" at the last tip - but it didn't break. For a bike that was designed for straight-line, fast stop-light to stop-light runs it certainly held up on this crazy terrain.
Anyone recall the song that talks about pickups - "set it on fire, roll it down a hill - I still wouldn't trade it for a Coupe DeVille". I guess that's me with this bike.
As before - asphalt is never so smooth as when you come from a lesser road.
Tipovers - at least 4 perhaps no more than 7. A couple were "partials" as the side of the road kept things uprighted a bit. Restarts became routine (carburated motor) - hold the throttle open and crank until it fires enough to stay running. Thirty seconds or so later all four would be running smoothly.
I'm somewhat tempted to ride the road from the "other end" to see how it is. To see where it turns from "normal" to "crazy". That would tell me how much "crazy" stuff remained between where I turned back and easy riding. It's 30 miles from Joshua Tree to my turn-around point. That's too much backtracking - 60 miles added to the day - which will already be a longer one (400 miles).
Here are some pictures for YOUR enjoyment:
The road was a lot of this - not too poor actually
Some larger rocks to avoid but there is still visible "two track" to follow
The "two track" disappeared - now to pick a line and go.
This is more uphill than the picture shows (though still not serious uphill).
Oh, did you notice the rocks are getting larger and more common??
Yep, there it is. A sad sight.
The first of several.
AHHHH - THAT'S BETTER!!
Sand - deep enough to make me more nervous than those rocks.
Sweet, sweet sign - LATER!
|Hmmm - well - let's just get the picture out there:
I'm heading east, crossing over I-15. I was simply moving east noting the vehicles sitting at the stop off to my right - wondering if they see me or if they will pull out in front of me. Well the two vehicles, both able to left turn together, were a standard semi-truck (outside lane) and a car (inside lane). Both started to pull out at the same time - WHAT??? Two drivers not seeing me? Then I caught the "Stop Ahead" white letters painted on the road that I just rolled over (at 45 MPH perhaps).
I need to STOP before I blow a stop sign and hit other traffic.
Rear on, hunker down on the fronts, rear gets a bit light and I feel the Metzler 880 on the rear doing its best to be a giant grease pen on the road (that single black line in the picture...). The back end is basically staying in line with the front - swinging out only perhaps a couple inches. Is it straight enough for me to release and reapply or will I get kicked off when the rear starts to roll and gain grip? I release and reapply. Still a bit hard on the reapply - it skids - but I'm slow enough that it doesn't matter. I'll stop well before the semi. The car on the inside lane is long gone.
The semi driver is taking his sweet time to clear the intersection - he's watching me with wide eyes. Once stopped I give the visual "wipe of the brow" and the semi driver gives a thumbs up. Once clear I head out.