Stuck, Hurt or Lost--Lessons Learned

Discussion in 'The Perfect Line and Other Riding Myths' started by Cpt. Ron, Jun 13, 2013.

  1. Ronin ADV

    Ronin ADV Gear addict

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    594
    Location:
    Northern Sierras
    This is the opposite end of things. Calling for "help" exposes others and should truly, only be used when you have fully exhausted your capacity for self rescue. Unfortunately that kind of shit happens all too often with SPOT and other beacons. Our local Search and Rescue has responded to plenty of this crap. IMO they should stick these guys with a hefty "rescue" bill for such nonsense.
    #21
  2. High Country Herb

    High Country Herb Adventure Connoiseur

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    9,866
    Location:
    Western Sierras
    Just to clarify; I am not advocating my choice for anyone else. To each his/her own.
    #22
  3. Moto_Geek

    Moto_Geek Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Western Montana
    I don't have a dirt machine yet, so I'm stuck riding more civilized roads. However, here in Montana even civilized roads can get you in trouble because you're still a ways away from help. Yesterday I left work on my Katana 600. I have a set of soft saddle bags I keep on the bike regularly because I haven't finished fabricating my hard bag mounts yet. When I leave work, I'm two miles on dirt before reaching pavement, then another two or three miles to "civilization". About half way down the dirt road I feel something shift on the back of my bike. The dirt road was facing slightly down hill at this point and was rutted. I stop the bike, shut it off, and put the kickstand down and get off the bike (kickstand up higher than the tires because of the poor road conditions). I wasn't off the bike 10 seconds, just getting my helmet off and cussing myself for not checking the bags before I left work... The bike falls over facing downhill :eek1. At first I panicked, what damage had been done? I knew I could get help easily enough (I had cell service), but I hate calling people to come "rescue" me (they were 40 minutes away at least), especially for something so stupid. Seeing gas leaking out of the bike, I knew I needed to get it upright quickly. I went to the downhill side and tried to pick it up. CRAP, didn't realize it was that heavy. It weighs well over 500lbs with fluids and my bags on it. Couldn't get the bags off because one was trapped under the bike. First attempt to lift the bike and I was surprised. Second attempt I got it half way up before I started loosing my grip. Finally, on the third try I managed to lift it up and get it back on it's kickstand. Broke off the mirror, turn signal, bent brake lever, cracked fairing, scuffed plastics, messed up bar end, and a small amount of damage to the exhaust on that side :asshat because I didn't check my bags before I left work and failed to park in a place that would give me the correct angle for my kickstand to be effective :eek1.

    I felt like a dumbass, still do, and feel that way sharing it here. But last night I got to thinking about it more after I had gotten over being pissed and embarrassed. I wasn't in any real danger, but I learned the hard way to:

    1) Check the bike over no matter how much of a rush I'm in
    2) Park the bike in an appropriate location even if I'm only getting off the bike for a moment to check something
    3) The bike weighs a lot more than you think it does, especially when you have to lift it past 90 degrees because it's facing downhill

    Not life threatening, or even being stuck in the woods like most people have shared here, but information that could save me from a disaster when I am out in the woods on a different bike at a later point in time. I missed a couple simple steps (I can hear my MSF instructor in my head telling me to check the bike before I ride), which would have only cost me 30 seconds, and now my bike is messed up and I'm going to be out a couple hundred bucks not counting the body work. Relatively cheap lesson, but still sucked...
    #23
  4. Stinky151

    Stinky151 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    455
    Location:
    Montana
    Where in western Montana? And who was your instructor?
    #24
  5. Moto_Geek

    Moto_Geek Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Western Montana
    I live in the Bitterroot Valley, south of Missoula. I took the MSF Basic Rider Course with DJ and Kelly. They are a husband and wife team that were great. As soon as this went down, I could hear them in my head, "always run through this checklist in your head". Considering I've covered 3,000 miles in the last three and a half weeks since I picked up my bike this is a cheap lesson learned. They don't write the stuff in those books, and teach you that in class because it doesn't matter. Normally I am anal about checking things on my bike because I don't want something going wrong at highway speeds. Just got in a hurry to leave work and get home and found myself creating a bad situation due to inattention...
    #25
  6. Stinky151

    Stinky151 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2009
    Oddometer:
    455
    Location:
    Montana
    I know them both, good people. I try to drill pre ride check out into folks when I can.
    #26
  7. Moto_Geek

    Moto_Geek Adventurer

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2013
    Oddometer:
    41
    Location:
    Western Montana
    Yeah, they were fantastic coaches and great people I would genuinely like to ride with and get to know better if the opportunity arises. Our paths probably won't cross again, but they were great and I would never discourage even an experienced rider from taking the class. I rode years ago in another state, but didn't have my Moto endoursement transferred over when I moved here and hadn't ridden much in the last 8 years. Ended up taking the class instead of trying to study for, and pass, the DMV driving test. Great class, learned tons, some of which saved my life when I flew to California last month and rode my new (to me) bike home from California to Montana. California driver made a left in front of me at an intersection. The scanning ahead and the swerving I learned in that class prevented me from becoming a hood ornament. Glad I didn't have to learn that lesson the hard way...
    #27
  8. Angelsndevils

    Angelsndevils Pig handler

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2013
    Oddometer:
    21
    Location:
    Ukiah, ca.
    reading all these threads has got my gears turning. Instead of all these communication gizmos I was thinking more along the lines of a well designed 12 volt winch for these bigger bikes. Found one that is 14 lbs with 49 feet of air craft cable. 2000 lb pulling capacity. power in/out. It would need quick disconnects for power and a bar mounted in/out switch. Would an extra 14 lbs of weight be worth the insurance of at least not getting stuck? Sure its no cure for a broken leg but it sounds like we all get stuck alot more than injured.
    #28
  9. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2011
    Oddometer:
    928
    12 volt winches are neat (unless you've a 6 volt bike), but they pull a lot of amps. Doubt many dirt bike batteries could power them.

    Deer winches might be a far better idea. 700-1000 lb compound pulling power, and typically upwards of 100' of cord on them.

    Added: Here's an example. At that price, I might quit looking for my lost one, even if the lost one is a wee bit smaller.

    http://www.sportsmansguide.com/net/cb/iit-2-ton-polypropylene-rope-hoist.aspx?a=1116882
    #29
  10. Ronin ADV

    Ronin ADV Gear addict

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2010
    Oddometer:
    594
    Location:
    Northern Sierras
    IMO these types of devices are bit heavy although some guys on big bikes like a GS are using winches.

    Here's a much lighter more compact solution:
    http://advrider.com/forums/showpost.php?p=21001814&postcount=35
    #30
  11. Cpt. Ron

    Cpt. Ron Advrider #128

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    3,350
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    I even have that set of pulleys from Adventure Engineering, great value. I didn't have it with me this time out, not that there was much to anchor to anyway. Regardless, it's a tool I should be familiar with using before needing it. :deal
    #31
  12. joefromsf

    joefromsf Dark Happens

    Joined:
    Apr 28, 2005
    Oddometer:
    1,599
    Location:
    San Francisco
    I think they also just recently covered z-drag equipment and techniques in the Toolkit Thread.
    #32
  13. Sparrowhawk

    Sparrowhawk Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,407
    Location:
    Eastern Washington, USA
    I do a fair amount of solo back country riding and have not done anything yet worth a story. Like most say; plenty of water, snacks, tools, and medical stuff. Two rules I follow help me stay out of trouble.

    Don't ride down anything I will have trouble getting back up. If in doubt park the bike and walk it first.

    The other I bend sometimes depending on the remoteness of place and weather. Don't ride solo into the unknown beyond half a tank. Even though the road/trail is good and the map shows a clear route you may not know about a bridge being washed out or a rock slide. Fifty miles goes by fast but can be a long way to walk.

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk 2
    #33
  14. Tinker1980

    Tinker1980 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Oddometer:
    1,763
    Location:
    Nowhere, OK
    Great thread. One thing I can agree with is DON'T RIDE ALONE. It's asking for trouble. And bring tools.

    A friend, my brother, and myself were riding at Hudson lake. I had my 08 KLR, Friend Ray had his 09 KLR, Brother Sean had his 09 DR650. He tried to skirt the DR650 around a mud hole, and the back tire slid in, dropped the bike - and it turned out to be a mudhole that would stop a lifted jeep. Only thing sticking out of the hole was his handlebar, rest of the bike was submerged. We got it pulled out of the hole, and then the fun began - would it start? Pulled the plug, cranked it. Tipped the bike over on it's left side, stood it back up, and drained the water from the tank. Drained the fuel and water out of the carb. I ran the KLR out of the woods and to the closest gas station for three quarts of oil, and we drained the oil. Only ill effects seemed to be the clutch cable sticking, and my brother swearing off trail riding.
    #34
  15. Hop-Sing

    Hop-Sing Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2011
    Oddometer:
    563
    If I had to ride with someone I would never ride.
    So the issue is getting stranded.
    That means we are talking about being by ourselves and in trouble.
    This is a subject I could then talk about.

    Being aware of your surroundings is vital.
    And being prepared is good, but we are still talking about being stranded.
    So no matter how prepared you are, you are still stranded in this thread.

    If you are an ADVenturous person, keep yourself fit. be ready for something to kick your ass. and then get up and take care of it.
    otherwise stay at home.

    Maybe this is why I ride alone!
    #35
  16. Geolander

    Geolander Scruffy Nerf Herder

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Oddometer:
    617
    Location:
    Ken Caryl, CO
    January of 2011 I backpacked about 20 miles into Pike National Forest intending to stay the weekend. I left late Friday morning and was planning to be back Sunday afternoon. I had just received a Garmin eTrex 20 for Christmas and didn't bother taking any hard maps. Just the GPS. Well no one told me that alkaline batteries have an exponential discharge rate below 32 degrees fahrenheit... Well I must have left the GPS on overnight Saturday into Sunday because when I woke up to a blizzard a couple of hours before sunrise on Sunday morning the GPS was dead, and my tracks by sunrise were completely covered in snow.. Like everything else.. My sleeping bag, me, the inside of the tent, my outer layer of clothes, my backpack... I didn't even have snowshoes for the trek out. Just some microspikes... I ended up out there until Thursday. It was by far and away the most terrifying experience of my life. My only saving grace was my ability to make a fire with wood that was soaking wet, knowledge of basic survival shelters for added protection against the elements and reflecting a fire's heat.

    I really honestly thought I was going to die in my sleep from hypothermia out there... That or carbon monoxide poisoning from trying to sleep so close to the punky fire all night.

    What I learned...

    Should be obvious.. Always bring hard maps.

    ......and don't rely on technology. Always have some primitive / low tech back ups.
    #36
  17. Seppo

    Seppo Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2009
    Oddometer:
    504
    Location:
    Austria "Mostviertel"
    i got stuck pretty bad twice. on the same day.

    when i was in australia, i bought a xr650r, put a big safari tank on it and did some offroad riding. one day i decided that i wanted to go from cooktown to musgrave roadhouse via the starcke track (i think thats the name)
    its not a particulary hard track, but there are some watercrossings. after a few smaller ones, i came to a big one. got off the bike to check the depth and it was ok to ride through. but only just. so i started to slowly ride through the river (maybe 50m wide) and everything was ok. but then, i must have hit something, a stone or whatever, and i lost my balance. the bike leaned over to the left side (where the air filter is) and i don´t know if i hit the stop button or if it stalled, but now a was standing in a river with a loaded bike and crocodile warning signs everywhere around me. i´m sure, i was only able to push the bike out of the water because i was full of adrenalin and fear. i know, its not THAT dangerous, but i was scared. so i pushed the bike out and tried to kick start it. no way. took of the air filter, pulled the decomp lever and kicked the shit out of it. about 10 times, then i was exhausted. 5min break, and all over again. this went on for about an hour, kicking, resting, kicking, resting. i was already planing on staying there for the night...but then i heard 2 cars approaching from the river. a ranger and his family. they stopped, asked what my problem was. we pushed the bike up a little hill and got it running in 5min. it would have taken me maybe another 1 or 2 hours to get it running, but i think it would have worked. before i forget, no cell coverage, no spot. but enough water and food for 2 or 3 days.

    second little misshap happened about 2 hours later. the track led through a little lake, or swamp. again, i checked everything by foot and found a line through the water that would be easy. so i thought. so i started the crossing but close before i was through it, there was a little edge. i lifted the front wheel over it, but the backwheel got caught between the edge and a rut. well, 2 ruts as i found out, because the edge was a rut aswell. funny enough, the distance between the two ruts was just a bit shorter then the diameter of the rear tire. at first i thought, easy, pulled the throttle still sitting on the bike and helping with my feet. but instead of foreward, the bike went down. the rear tire got stuck between the ruts up to the swingarm. i got of the bike tried to push it, pulled it, lay it on the side...it wouldn´t come loose. finally i had the idea, taking one of my tiedowns, one end to the frontend and the other end to a rut i dug out one meter in front of the bike. i tightened the tiedown as much as i could, started the bike and as soon as i let the clutch go, the bike was free. huge relief, it took me about an hour to get the bike out.

    i guess thats not much of a problem for other riders, but that was my first big offroad trip.

    lessons learned? yes and no. if murphys law kicks in, it can hit anybody, no matter how well prepared you are. for me, the most important part is, to take enough water and food with you. and i think its more likley to be killed in an road accident then getting lost and starve to death.
    #37
  18. bungie4

    bungie4 Frostback

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Oddometer:
    514
    Location:
    Sudbury Ontario
    This thread: http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=864534

    Wire up your spot to as many of your emergency contacts (both email/sms) as you like. Press the Help button on your Spot, and it'll even attempt to contact fellow assistance members within a 50 miles radius of your location.

    Currently over 100 inmates signed up.

    Non-profit, by riders, for riders.

    Blatant ad I know (I'm the developer), but it's just this kind of situation that the system is designed to help.
    #38
  19. Cpt. Ron

    Cpt. Ron Advrider #128

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2001
    Oddometer:
    3,350
    Location:
    Sacramento, CA
    #39
  20. scottrnelson

    scottrnelson Team Orange

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,522
    Location:
    Folsom, CA
    I got bored reading it by the end of the first page (bored by the time I got to #15). Any chance you could list post numbers for the other good stories besides the one at post #1?
    #40