Reposted from my blog: http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fu...endID=36849828 As most of you know, I was working at a campground in southern Alaska the summer of '05. Nine dollars an hour plus free camping to do simple maintenance and parking management. As explained in another post, my friend Aryana & I wound up in Alaska by the skin of our teeth with no return tickets. Somewhere in the following weeks I decided that what I needed to do was buy a used motorcycle and ride it back to Louisiana at the end of the summer. Riding the Al-Can Highway had long been a goal of mine. Fate had robbed me of my chance on the way up, but I still had the trip back. I searched the Anchorage Daily News and found a great used bike: a KLR 650, the biggest of all Kawasaki dirt bikes. The previous owner had used it for trips to Canada, and was selling it with low mileage at a good price. It had a comfortable seat, large windshield, highway pegs, centerstand, 6 gallon gas tank, and a locking trunk big enough to hold a weeks worth of clothes. All useful when you plan to travel 5000 miles. He even threw in a good helmet. The insurance was cheap, and I bought one year of full coverage with medical benefits. I hitched a ride to Anchorage, took a loan against my credit card, and rode back to camp on one mean green highway-eating machine. Come September, I was headed for my greatest adventure yet. (stock photo) Up until then I had gone everywhere on foot or by bicycle, so it was a real joy to be able to get somewhere by motorbike. I could go to town to buy a block of cheese and a box of cereal without hitching a ride. I could get around. I could get out. Saturday night I decided that instead of sitting around the campfire in broad daylight, I was going to town. I headed 15 miles east and hung out at the Sunrise Inn, and then headed 50 miles west and went to Goodtime Charlies (there's a lot of space between things in Alaska) At 2am, sober but tired, I headed home. Now the sun Is up 22 hours a day on the Kenai peninsula in July, but when it finally gets dark, its DARK. No streetlights. No cities. Just the moon and 10 billion stars if its clear enough. That night it was overcast. The highway doesnt pass through suburbs and farmland (by the way, Alaska has excellent highways: Your tax dollars at work), when you leave town youre in the forest. The one flaw of the KLR 650 is its square headlight. I could clearly see everything ahead and along the sides of the road as long as I traveled at 55 mph. The speed limit was 70. I was doing 65. All the way up there were warning signs indicating moose crossing, but I wasnt worried, I can see a moose coming down the highway, and a moose would certainly see me. I was tired, a little cold and not really paying attention. The last thing I remember was reaching down to adjust the foot peg. I was sleeping very soundly, but there were people over there saying something... Now they were over here saying something... Where was I?... At home in bed?... No, wait... Sleeping in my tent in camp... sleep... Someone was picking something up off of my legs. Picking me up. Asking me questions. Ok ok, I'm awake. Whats going on? It's dark except for the beams from a pair of headlights. My foot hurts. Did I just crash? Where am I? The fingers on my right hand hurt a lot. They ask me if I'm all right. "I'm ok. Tank you. Wat appened?" I seem to have bit my tongue. They tell me I crashed my motorcycle into a moose on the highway. (Not the actual moose) I ask them if theyre sure, they point to some animal hair stuffed into that square headlight housing. There are only 2 large animals in that part of the Kenai: bears and moose, and there werent any bear crossing signs. My bike and I together weighed 600lbs. An adult moose can weigh over 1000 pounds and stands 6 foot high at the shoulder. What little information I have (which includes moose crap smeared along the left side of the bike) suggests that the moose ran out right in front of me (as moose are wont to do) and I struck its hindquarters deflecting sideways into the gravel like a cue ball. The moose likely got out with a scare and a serious bruise on its ass. I was a little worse off. The whole experience had dreamlike quality, but by the time the ambulance got to the hospital, the shock was wearing off, and I was starting to feel like I had crashed a motorcycle. When the x-rays came back, all I had was a broken left finger, and a broken right heel bone. Well, that and being covered with cuts and bruises. I felt like I had been jumped by a street gang. They sent me home with 2 splints and a pair of crutches. I crawled into my tent and slept for 20 hours. The following day I went to see a specialist. My left hand was set in a plaster cast with 3 fingers free, and my right foot was put in a removable boot cast. The next 6 weeks were an adventure of a different sort. Suddenly everyday activities like getting dressed and making lunch were a real challenge. A national park, is not a handicap friendly place. There was one particularly disturbing instance when a bear walked into camp to check out someones breakfast. My fellow campers made a lot of noise and eventually chased the bear off, but it took me ten entire minutes to put my foot on and get out of my tent to see what was happening. Very discouraging. The retired couple that ran the campground was accommodating, assigning me a stationary job in the entry booth, and offering me rides to and from my shift. Ten days later, I re-learned to ride a bicycle (pump with the good leg, roll with the bad. Pump with the good leg, roll with the bad) and was able to get myself to work and around in general. About a month after the accident my broken foot was well enough that I got a ride to town and picked up a walking cane. I was so happy with my new cane, I asked the guys to take a picture. The insurance declared the bike a total loss and paid me the value of the bike, as well as $9000 in medical bills (X-rays are expensive). After everything was said and done I broke even on the whole thing and even got a good deal on a one way ticket to New Orleans (which had to be changed to Lafayette thanks to Katrina). All in all, it was one hell of a summer.