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Old 07-25-2011, 09:38 PM   #1
MrBob OP
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Back in the day face plant

I found these old photos and thought I'd share them.
My first long tour - winter of 1976 - Minnesota to Mexico after months of readying the bike.



Three months later, mid-way between Vera Cruz and Tampico, I'm slowing to pull over and someone comes up behind me at 70 mph and - Kaboom.
It took five guys to pull the bike out of the front of the car. The rich guy in back gets out and starts screaming at me in Spanish, as I lay on the road, for being in his way.



Then the story gets interesting, but long. Two months later I ride my Norton into my driveway in St. Paul, MN.
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:13 AM   #2
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Then the story gets interesting, but long. Two months later I ride my Norton into my driveway in St. Paul, MN.
Go ahead, we have time.
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Old 07-27-2011, 08:54 AM   #3
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More, please.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:39 PM   #4
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Old 07-27-2011, 07:14 PM   #5
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I guess that trick little plastic air horn was of no help. Details please. At least you lasted longer than Peter Egan who only made it from Madison to Missoula before his brand new Interstate swallowed a valve.
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Old 07-28-2011, 05:31 AM   #6
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I guess that trick little plastic air horn was of no help. Details please. At least you lasted longer than Peter Egan who only made it from Madison to Missoula before his brand new Interstate swallowed a valve.
The first year I owned the bike I rode it for over 22,000 miles. It arrived with a number of defects that illustrated why the Brit bike industry was going down the tubes but once in a while the planets would line up in a certain way and the Norton ran as intended. That was memorable. Norton/Villiars was done in the States by that time and bike owners were on their own for warranty work. It took a ton of work to make that bike nearly reliable.
I wasn't much on taking photos in those days so not many photos exist of what was for me an epic journey into darkest Mexico. A lot of text describing all that happened would likely be boring.
No, the horn wasn't much help with getting rear-ended but it did wake up more than a few dozy drivers and members of the livestock community who chose to sleep on the highway. I've continued that tradition with Stebel horns on most of my bikes.
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:01 AM   #7
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Man, I wish I could afford a Norton (and a reliable bike that will run). My dad had a few of them in the 70's, and rode from Berkeley, CA to Pittsburgh, PA on an Atlas in 1971. Broke down in Montana ( I think it must have been a primary chain, although he seems to remember a timing chain.) a ways outside of Billings, and had to pick fruit for a couple weeks to pay for the parts, from a dealership that was miraculously in Billings.
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:43 AM   #8
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The car hit my bike so hard that I was catapulted straight into the air, clearing the bars and fairing. I landed on my knees and began rolling. As I rolled down the road I could see my bike coming at me. It was wedged into the front of the car and held upright by the car which was in a panic skid. Hitting me twice would have been almost comic. The guy got the car stopped with my bike about a foot away from me. I briefly passed out from the pain in my knees and when I came to, there was a crowd standing around me with arms folded. I don't think anyplace on earth can magically appear a crowd out of nowhere like Mexico.
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Old 07-29-2011, 01:13 AM   #9
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True...true...when I was splashed like a tomato on the tarmac,I was photografied in ten minutes more than Paris Hilton in a year...That Norton you had is a dream machine,wish I had one,worth a fortune now...Tell us more!
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Old 07-29-2011, 05:56 AM   #10
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Do you still have the bike??
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Old 07-29-2011, 06:40 AM   #11
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Do you still have the bike??
In 1977 or 78 I sold the bike to help pay for my BMW 2002 and a 3 month trip through Quebec and New England. The guy who bought it paid me with a stack of 20 dollar bills and never mentioned what he did for a living.
That crowd of people observing me writhing around on the roadway still puzzles me. Where the hell did they come from? It was the middle of nowhere.
Though my gear was exploded all over the place, nothing was missing when I later took stock.
At the time of the accident I was on my way to the Western Union office in Monterey to pick up a money order. Instead, I found myself badly injured and with a smashed motorcycle and no money in a foreign country. I was no longer a tourist.
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Old 07-30-2011, 10:43 AM   #12
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This is a great story so far...How did you manage to get yourself healed up and the bike fixed? I'm guessing the guy who hit you didn't pay...?

It's always amazed me how insta-crowds form around MC crashes like that.
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Old 07-30-2011, 02:08 PM   #13
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This is a great story so far...How did you manage to get yourself healed up and the bike fixed? I'm guessing the guy who hit you didn't pay...?

It's always amazed me how insta-crowds form around MC crashes like that.
After a half hour or so a Federale shows up in a squad car. The crowd parts to let him through and he comes over to where I'm propped up on the car that hit me. The first thing he does is pull out a bottle of tequila and offer me a hit. I take it and say no thanks to the cigarette. He tells people to back off and leans close to me. In a quiet voice he tells me that he can get a cash settlement from the big shot whose driver hit me if I kick back half of it to him. But, he needs to impound the bike and I need to stay in Tampico until everything is straightened out. I'm nearly incoherent with pain and the heat and everything seems surreal at this point; I agree.
The Federale gets on the radio and some time later a guy shows up with an old pickup truck. My trashed bike and gear are tossed into the back, I'm helped into the cab, and we rattle off to the city of Tampico.
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Old 07-31-2011, 12:07 AM   #14
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the story get more and more interesting...don't let me down now,tell us more!
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Old 07-31-2011, 01:39 AM   #15
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That crowd of people observing me writhing around on the roadway still puzzles me. Where the hell did they come from? It was the middle of nowhere.
Ray Bradbury worked that question into one of his creepier stories...

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