Back in the day face plant

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by MrBob, Jul 25, 2011.

  1. MrBob

    MrBob Out there

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    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.

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    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.

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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.
    #1
  2. pilot

    pilot Slacker Moderator Super Moderator

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    Go ahead, we have time.
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  3. WindPipe

    WindPipe Been here awhile

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    More, please. :ear
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  4. GlenInk

    GlenInk Adventurer

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    :1drink:ear
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  5. Forty Years Ago

    Forty Years Ago I'm not an alcoholic.

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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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  6. MrBob

    MrBob Out there

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    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.
    #6
  7. wmax351

    wmax351 Been here awhile

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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.
    #7
  8. MrBob

    MrBob Out there

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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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  9. HornyDac

    HornyDac Been here awhile

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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!
    #9
  10. Offcamber

    Offcamber Long timer

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    Do you still have the bike??
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  11. MrBob

    MrBob Out there

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    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.
    #11
  12. Shadow 9er

    Shadow 9er renegade

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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.
    #12
  13. MrBob

    MrBob Out there

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    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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  14. HornyDac

    HornyDac Been here awhile

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    the story get more and more interesting...don't let me down now,tell us more!
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  15. PalePhase

    PalePhase Humour Noir

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    That's neither here nor there
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  16. AKjeff

    AKjeff Long timer

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  17. MrBob

    MrBob Out there

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    Earlier in my trip, while traveling through Tampico heading south, I met a group of young people who found the notion of riding a bright, red British motorcycle through their country exciting. They found me sleeping bag space, took me clubbing, and showed me off at numerous parties. I spent most of a week with them and had a great time. We exchanged addresses and phone numbers when we parted.
    The old pickup carrying one somewhat mangled gringo and his gear arrived at the Tampico city limits. The driver looks at me: "Where to"? Sooner than I could have imagined, those addresses and phone numbers become very important. I point to a pay phone and manage to bum a few pesos from the driver. I badly need a guardian angel and dialing the phone is almost a form of prayer.
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  18. Laconic

    Laconic Anodyne

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    Recalculating...
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  19. MrBob

    MrBob Out there

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    The guy in the pickup is beginning to look impatient as I stuff pesos into the pay phone and listen to phones ring unanswered. He doesn't speak English and my Spanish flew out of my head when I got hit so I don't know what he was instructed to do.
    Xavier comes home from school and gets my call. He'll be glad to help: where am I, what do I need. He asks to talk to the pickup guy to give him directions to an empty rental house Xavier's parents own. I can stay there for a while. Finally, I catch a break.
    The house is in a quiet Tampico neighborhood. Bike and I are unloaded in the front yard and Xavier is there to help. He gives the pickup guy money who then takes off after wishing me well. Xavier hands me an old walking cane he brought from home and helps me get up the front steps and into the house.
    At this point, it's been about 3 hours since the accident and I have not stopped moving in all that time. My knees feel as if someone is poking hot irons into them, I have a headache and numerous bruises from landing on the highway and rolling. I haven't eaten since seven o'clock that morning and I need to pee. I seem to have forgotten what Spanish I knew. Xavier gets me settled on the sofa and pulls out a joint.
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  20. Laromonster

    Laromonster Vesperado !

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    go on...

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