The Mobius Trip

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by DR. Rock, May 23, 2008.

  1. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    in my boredom, fiddling through the various map sets on the GPS, I spotted a decommissioned road that looked like it looped back to the alaskan highway. We gave it a shot:

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/1330909989_5GJvmGD?width=640&height=360"></iframe>

    yahoo!!! dirt, water crossings, and everything. :clap

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/1330909794_xnQXHXD?width=640&height=360"></iframe>

    Kick-ass Just the morale boost we needed. :D
  2. konaunit1

    konaunit1 Adventurer

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    Doc,LDF. Let me just say that I am not the post whore,comment on every thread type person. I usually read a report look at the pics and comment to myself how awesome a trip looks. But I stumbled on your thread while at work 4 days ago and haven't really left the computer since. I am in the Navy and work on P-3's on Whidbey Island WA. The reason I linked this page was because as I was scrolling thru down looking at all the wonderful pictures I noticed faces I recognize. Third pic down of the older couple is my neighbors. Larry and Loretta, amazing small world when you think about it. Not to long ago they were telling me abou the trip to Alaska they to aboard their goldwings, seems I found proof :rofl .You guys where less than 10 miles from their house when you were in Anacortes (mine also) Wish I knew I would of ridden up to BC with you!

    Absolutly a wonderful R/R the pictures and commetary are top notch. Seems kind of funny that you are an ER doc condidering almost all the women in my life are ER nurses. Please keep it coming as This has truly been inspiring. I am in the long process of trying to work out a TAT trip with my buddy after I retire in 6 years. This might be a bit of an adventue since my buddy has just got back to riding bikes after a 10 year hiatus after becoming a para in a bike accident 11 years ago. But both he and I are determined to do it.

    Again I hope you and LDF have many more fantastic trip so myself and others may enjoy reading about them!!! Happy trails and keep it up!!!
    Rich
    :beer:beer
  3. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    Thanks, Rich. We'll be sure to look you up if Mobius swings that way again. All the best planning, and riding the TAT with your buddy. It will be quite an undertaking. I'm always available by PM for questions or advice. :deal

    PS: for the record, I'm not ER, I'm Anesthesia and Critical Care. That said, I just got back from a trip down to the ER to check out a trauma patient who might be coming up to the OR soon. I gotta agree with you, ER nurses are pretty awesome.
  4. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    the rockies started to flatten out, the roads were straighter,

    [​IMG]

    We stopped for a fuel top-off at a surreal work camp at Buckinghorse river:

    [​IMG]

    It was grim. Gas field workers were living like veal in trailers/shipping containers. The mess hall was where you had to go to pay for gas, and use the bathroom. The men's room was right inside the door, so I went inside, paid, and popped into the can. LDF had to traverse the pristine dining hall to get to the wimmen's room, and they insisted that she take off her (non-muddy) boots. I mean, I understand the "no muddy work-boots inside" policy in general, but c'mon, get a life.

    Anyway, her rain pants zipper jumped the rails, and the mood was grumpy all around. There was a guy who had driven up from somewhere way south like Vancouver to help his sister move out of an abusive relationship, and his truck transmission had shit the bed, and he was asking anyone who stopped if they knew how to fix a pick-up tranny, and it was just grim.

    We rolled on, not in the best of spirits. About a 45 minutes later, LDF slows down, and I hear on the squawk box, "hey, looks like a bad accident just happened."

    We stop at the scene, and there's a van and a semi-truck pulled over, and way down the embankment there's a silver sedan that has driven off the road, jumped the ditch/creek, and smashed onto the far bank. The passenger door's open, and the driver is a large middle-aged woman sitting there.

    We speak with the woman in the van, and she's on the phone with 911, and tells us an ambulance is on the way, about 45 minutes to arrive. The truck driver is down with the woman. It looks like this all went down about 2 minutes ago, but I ask the van lady how long ago it happened, and she says the truck driver saw it happen about a half-hour ago. :huh

    I hustle down to the wrecked car to see what I can do to help.
  5. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    were spent administering first-aid. I can't recall feeling more helpless.

    As cars passed, they would stop, assess the level of expertise at the scene, and either stay or go. If they had more to offer than those there they would stay, and if not, they would move on. In the hour and a half we were there, there were about 3 changes of personnel. By the time EMS arrived, we had myself and LDF, a nurse, a medic, a fairly comprehensive first-aid kit, we'd build a bridge with an empty pallet from the truck to get her across the little stream, and even had some of her work colleagues stop as they were returning to Ft. Nelson, and they were able to tell us a bit about her medical history.

    The upshot is that she had a history of sleep apnea and headaches, she had high blood pressure and diabetes, she was heading to Ft. St. John to get a CT scan to evaluate her headaches, she was eating a salad (bean sprouts everywhere) when she crashed, air-bags deployed, shit herself, got out of the car and walked around, called her daughter on her cell phone, was completely oriented when the truck driver got to her, and in the hour and a half we were with her exhibited the classic... no, CLASSIC lucid interval following an epidural hematoma. Within about 5 minutes, my opinion was that she needed neurosurgery about 30 minutes ago.

    [Aside] -- best movie (ironically, Canadian) ever to use an epidural hematoma as a plot device: Jesus of Montreal.

    Now, in Manhattan, at Bellevue where I work, our average transport time from scene to hospital is 10 minutes. TEN. I passed the time with the nurse and the medic swapping stories... supporting the victim's airway, cleaning up when she vomited, notifying EMS that she was suffering mental status changes and encouraging them to consider air transport.

    It was kind of agonizing. I knew what the woman needed, and I was pretty sure it wasn't going to happen in time. It made me think long and hard about the risks we take. ATGATT doesn't protect from someone driving into you. And Spot... so you hit the button... it's still gonna be hours HOURS before you get to definitive care. It's a real possibility that's gonna be too long. The stakes are high, even on a highly traveled road like the Al-Can.

    Eventually EMS showed up, and then the police. We all worked together to slide her out of the car, onto the backboard, over the pallet-bridge, and into the ambulance. EMS had arranged for a helicopter to meet them half-way to Ft. St. John, and it was only then that we snapped a few photos:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    :cry

    Not fun.

    About 45 minutes later, we heard & saw what we presumed was the medivac headed to meet the ambulance: it's above the trees on the right.

    [​IMG]
  6. MTrider16

    MTrider16 Ridin' in MT

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    First, thanks for stopping and helping as best as you could. I hope it was not in vain.

    This is what life is like outside the bubbles of civilization in the northern hemisphere. [shrug] Its still leaps and bounds above what is in the third world areas.

    Most of us in the rural west US wonder what keeps you packed in like sardines in NYC.

    Ah well, enough philosophy.

    David
  7. taco250

    taco250 wannabe adventurer

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    Doc/LDF,

    At least you were there to give the help you could-take solace in that. Sometimes doing the right thing has no reward... for anyone... but that doesn't make it any less honorable. I believe we reap what we sew (as described in the Bible) so just be sure you keep sewing good into the world because it's sorely needed.
  8. CBAT

    CBAT occasional wanderer

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    Yep, it's a helpless feeling out in the middle of nowhere waiting for help to arrive. Been there myself both fire and medical situations. You did the best you could and that's all you can do. :deal
  9. RichBeBe

    RichBeBe All Hail Seitan!!!

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    Dave and Francine...I am not surprised that you guys would do as much as you could do, and though you felt helpless I am sure that the woman couldn't have been in better hands than yours at the moment, given the conditions.
    Obviously you weren't going to relieve the brain pressure there, but I am curious if this incident made you rethink your first-aid kit at all?
    I was thinking about one time I was riding with you and I Barry (DocGonzo) and I hit something and went down (very minor) and thinking if I crashed bad I could have worse people riding behind me.
  10. rufus

    rufus We're burning daylight...

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    In the , many gates, section of the nevada TAT I hit a barbed wire gate at about 40 mph. I skint my elbows and got a sore knee. Pretty lucky i think. We were hours from anything. 3 of with GPS but no maps. We didn't really know exactly where we were. It was scary when it happened and it still haunts me from time to time, thinking about how much worse it could have been.

    BUT, I think about all the people i know who exist but don't really live.

    To me it seems pointless to go through life and not do the things that you want to do,.....ain't none of us getting out of here alive.
  11. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    Well, that was the frustration -- it wasn't a macguyver-able problem. I saw straight away what she needed -- I even tried to envision it was something else, hypoglycemia, for instance, but aside from cleaning and dressing a cut on her hand, and addressing the hot mess in her pants, she didn't really need anything else that could be done in the field. She didn't really need first-aid, she needed a CT scan and an operation asap.

    What I do at work is so far removed from what goes on in the field it isn't even funny. I'm not one of those doc's who goes up to EMS on the street and asks if they need any help. I know better. I've always recognized and respected the expertise of first responders. When I see them at an accident scene in NYC, I just step back and stay out of their way. Even in a typical NYC patient's EMS to ED to OR to ICU progression I'm impatient and feel that things are happening slower than I want them to, but seeing first-hand the delay to definitive care inherent in the distances out there was a real eye-opener.

    Regarding our first-aid kit, there's nothing I could have packed that would have helped an isolated bad head injury -- outcome is going to be completely related to speed to decompression.

    I think the single most important piece of a first-aid kit to have, and to know how and when to use, is a tourniquet. After that, is having the means to call for help. Third, is a way to protect from exposure if there's gonna be a long wait. Fourth would maybe be how to splint/immobilize, but even that's not really critical, unless you've got to move before EMS arrives. Everything else is gravy -- clean water to drink and wash out wounds, dressings, antimicrobial ointment, a big needle to decompress a tension pneumothorax, benadryl for an allergic reaction, something for pain. When you get right down to it, it's not much. #'s 1 & 2 above are the big impact items.

    Amen to that. The experience didn't change result of the equation, just gave me a little better idea as to the variables.

    :nod
  12. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Imbecile

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    We do what we are able, as we are able. That is what makes us human.

    When I first loaded the page and saw the ambulance stuff, I have to admit I felt more than a little panic. So glad you both are okay. I'm also more than a little conflicted at feeling relief that it was "somebody else," although I do recognize that's a coping mechanism as well.

    If I ever have a bad biff, I should be so lucky as to have the two of you as first-responders.

    Be well and enjoy the journey!

    John
  13. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    And yet another 300+ mile day.

    [​IMG]

    We pulled into Ft. St. John, and tried to find a reasonable, decent motel, and after driving around we settled in to probably the skeeviest in town. Not that it was dirty, just kind of run down, with displaced persons which we initially thought were from the forest fires and evacuation of Slave Lake, but with closer observation, it just seemed that they were living out of their car at the hotel. :dunno

    We grabbed some grub at the restaurant across the street, with an easy view to our bikes, and debriefed the day. We were headed into Victoria Day weekend, with northern Alberta in a bit of chaos from the Slave Lake wildfire.

    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qXOJagxs28w" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" width="425"></iframe>

    I'd routed three different variations from Ft. St. John to Edmonton -- the first headed due east on gas field roads, past Slave Lake, and then dropped straight south. That was out. The second followed the AlCan, more or less, and the third headed further south, back into the foothills of the rockies, and then turned east to Edmonton. That's the one we would take. Only thing we needed was the appropriate BackRoads Mapbook for Southern Alberta. There weren't any available before we left, so I figured I'd be able to score one in the area. Easier said than done given the holiday weekend.

    Attached Files:

  14. sallydog

    sallydog 80 miles a day for 41 months

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    thanks for all your info :clap also, where was that signpost place exactally? i wanna add it to my map.
  15. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    No problem. It's at the Watson Lake visitor's center.
  16. DRRambler

    DRRambler AKA Albertastrom

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    It's pretty hard to miss that place
  17. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    From Fort St. John to Pipestone Creek campground (near Grand Prairie)

    [​IMG]

    Click on image below for a larger version:
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  18. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    overnight, but we got a nice early start.

    [​IMG]

    Today would be the day we finally broke free of the single-option Alaska Highway route, and found ourselves some dirt. We'd been pushing our mileage on pavement just to get to this point where we could relax a little, enjoy and explore.

    Commentary on the symbolism of fleet vehicle color choices:

    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/1330909620_stvmwNW?width=640&height=360"></iframe>

    Not much more of this:

    [​IMG]
  19. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    to the Alaska Highway, we took this little detour to see this:

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    Click on image below for a bigger version:
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    <iframe frameborder="0" scrolling="no" width="640" height="360" src="http://api.smugmug.com/services/embed/1330909723_Rw6znsJ?width=640&height=360"></iframe>

    [​IMG]
  20. DR. Rock

    DR. Rock Part of the problem

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    FINALLY! Dirt roads!!! :clap

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    Didn't matter that they were straight. And Flat... they weren't paved!!!

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    The roads had suffered from the rain the night before, and our tires had suffered from thousands of paved miles... no worries :D

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    A couple of dead ends, a tip-over or two... this is more like it! :evil

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