I fell behind a bit to take some photos and let the dust settle down. Trying to catch up, though, proved to be a problem. Nasty sections of loose gravel lined the road and good sized rocks were scattered all over. Not a problem on the straights were we were cruising over 70 at times, but it added some difficulty in the corners.
Judging by the massive cloud of dust, I had started to catch up to Bernie and Shawn. I had to slow down and back off just to be able to see what was coming. A mild right hand corner up ahead. I dropped a gear and started to turn - the loose gravel keeping me from cornering too hard. Through the dust I noticed the radius of the curve decrease and started to turn and cut the throttle a bit - trying to keep things steady. I glanced down - 35-40 mph. Things slowed down when I looked up and it became clear I wasn't making this corner. I stayed with it as long as possible as my path crossed into the left lane and I looked ahead. Dropoff...Trees...
**** it. I dumped it.
The loaded Beemer came down hard on my leg and foot and we slid in a huge cloud of dust with my leg under the bike to the edge of the road where the bike went over, miraculously stopping without going far down the banking. The thought of sliding over seemed much better than going head first.
I stood up and did a self check - all seemed fine except my leg was pretty sore and my right toe felt crushed. The jacket had saved my elbow and side and looked, surprisingly, no worse for the wear.
I took a look at the bike, thinking how the hell I was getting this back on the road myself when a truck full of forest service guys rolled up.
"Hey, man, you okay?!?"
"yup, I'm fine - don't know about the bike"
"Want a hand getting it out?"
They hopped out and grabbed a few straps which we attached to the handlebars. They cut the sapling wrapped around the peg (which probably kept it from going further) and everyone heaved-ho, The big bike scraping back up onto the road.
Cracked fender, scraped fairing, bent hand guard. Not bad. I dug the gravel out of everywhere and made sure the radiator fan spun freely, then hopped on.
"Wait, you're just gonna ride that thing off now?"
"What kind of motorcycle is that? I gotta know what kind of bike can take that kind of crash and you'll just hop on and ride it off"
I thanked them again for the help and started off down the road - a little more cautiously this time. By the time I caught up with Shawn and Bernie my leg was hurting pretty bad. Not broken bad, but probably a hematoma in my thigh. I caught them up on the details and after going over the bike one more time we continued on.
It was a nice section of road, but my head wasn't really in it. The crash shook me up a bit and standing to absorb every water bar was a challenge now. I was getting a little cranky but still enjoyed the view.
We kept on the shared divide trail now, passing cyclists here and there and admiring the views.