I've been planning this trip for a year. Ride from Ottawa, Ontario through Utah and Colorado to the west coast and move to BC. I knew the Midwest would be the hardest part. So many miles until the desert and mountain regions I was so excited to see. So I decided to stop at Sturgis on the way to give myself a nice mid point. I was about 5 hours from Sturgis and had left my airbnb about an hour earlier. I had stayed with 2 people previously from the Bunk a Biker page on Facebook and had experienced amazing hospitality from both my hosts. I was sore from the long days of riding but feeling very positive. South Dakota had the straightest, longest, best-paved roads of the trip. I opened the throttle and started my day full of excitement. The landscape had finally changed and I really felt like I had started my adventure in earnest. Then the handlebars started to wobble. I'd never felt anything like that before. I pulled in the clutch and started to slowly apply the brakes. The wobble got worse. I wasn't sure if I should try to force them to stop or stay firm but loose. I took the middle path but the wobble had a mind of its own and I found myself thrown from the bike. The whole process took about 3 seconds. I had been wearing textile armored riding pants for most of the trip, but not wanting to change when I got to Sturgis, I had decided on just jeans for the day. I was wearing a new helmet (bell qualifier dlx with MIPS), an armored jacket with a back protector, Timberland boots that have seen better days, and new Dainese leather gloves. I guess I rolled once or twice before sliding on my back about 30 feet. I tried to keep my body as loose as possible while flying through the air. It's amazing how calm you can be when your life is at stake. I stayed loose, rolled, slid, and stood up, intact. I've been skateboarding for years. I react the same way in any fall. Get the board out of the road so I don't cause an accident, keep moving, get some water. My bike was lying in the grass. The top case was in the middle of the road, and one side case was further into a ditch. I got the top case out of the road and a farmer pulled up. He had seen the wobble but not the fall, as a hill had obscured his view. He asked if there was anything he could do. "I'm surprised you're walking" he said. I said I was ok but could use some water. He obliged, and passed me a bottle of water from the truck. He had just caught a skunk and said he was taking it home, but would be back to check on me. I had basically crashed into his front yard. I took off my helmet and gloves, got the other bag, and fished out my first aid kit. Keep moving. Get patched up, deal with the bike. Instead, I decided to lie down. I wasn't dizzy, but I felt a bit weak for a moment as it stared to hit me, and it was hot. I rested my head on my helmet and lay in the grass. It was the hottest day of my trip. About 35 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. It was nice to lie down but it was so hot. I knew I needed to find shade. The farmer came back moments later. I asked if I could patch myself up in the shade in his property. He drove me to his garage and gave me some more water. I used some alcohol swabs from the first aid kit to wipe off my road rash and tied some gauze around the wounds. Most of the top layer of skin on my right knee was missing, and I had deeper abrasions on my hips, a couple milder ones on my left knee, and a few scrapes on my arm. My jeans were a bit shredded but it looked like nothing had fused into my skin. My jacket was melted where it had hit the road. He came back again to check on me and found me wrapping up my wounds. I had just enough gauze. He asked if there was anything else he could do, if I would like some mashed potatoes and roast beef. I accepted. I didn't have the heart to tell him I'm vegetarian but I ate the potatoes and his wife came out with a brownie for dessert. I had been going fast when I lost control. I've gone faster but not loaded down with that much luggage. I didn't realize I was so close to the limits of my vehicle. To fall going that fast though, I should probably be dead. I felt bad for inconveniencing this kind old couple, but they said they had plenty of time and were happy to help. I think they were happy they didn't have to call an ambulance or an undertaker. We were about 10 minutes out from Salem, South Dakota. I wanted to go to a clinic and get checked out by professionals. I felt ok but I don't know at what point you need a skin graft or whatever. But I was missing a side case, the one with my work laptop. The farmer agreed to wait for me while I beat the bushes looking for the bag. I needed to find at least that bag or I wouldn't be able to work next week. While I was stiffly climbing ditches and pushing through the tall grass, another guy pulled up in a big truck and offered his help. He said he worked in search and rescue and was happy I seemed to be OK. A blonde child maybe 8 years old with a Mohawk jumped out of the truck. He found my bag within a minute, even further down the road than I had been looking. The man's truck had a trailer attached and he offered to tow the bike into town to the mechanic. We managed to haul the bike into the trailer but the farmer got his foot caught under the bike somehow and fell. I later found out he had gashed his arm in the fall. We drove to the clinic stopping at the mechanic en route where we met up with the search and rescue guy. The mechanics also had blonde mohawks. They were brothers. Classic. Since it was a new bike and had EFI, they said I needed to get to a Suzuki dealer for the computer bits. The search and rescue guy offered to take me and the bike to Sioux Falls, about an hour away. I didn't want to make the search and rescue guy wait so I decided to get checked out later in Sioux Falls after my bike had been dropped off at the mechanic. I left the farmer at the clinic after we traded contact information and I expressed my gratitude. I felt so bad that he had been hurt, but he said he was ok and he seemed tough as hell. He told me he had turned 80 years old that spring. The search and rescue guy picked me up with his truck and his kids. The two boys had blonde mohawks. I knew I was jacked up on adrenaline and that I wouldn't know the extent of my injuries until later, but I felt ok. I kept thinking how lucky I was to be alive. How lucky I was that people had been there when I crashed to give me shade, water, food, and to help get me, my bike, and my bags out of the middle of nowhere to a city where I could figure out my next move. The search and rescue guy and the farmer had been telling me not to worry, that they were happy to help, that that's what country people do. I told them I had grown up in a small town but had lived in a city for 10 years and was feeling disillusioned. The search and rescue guy empathized with me, said that he had left his hometown and had been a bit reckless in his youth as a firefighter but ended up coming back to his home town. He was actively involved in charity and had recently obtained a grant for a program he had started to keep kids in outdoor sports, among other things. I should point out here that I have dreadlocks and was wearing all black with my favourite band t-shirt : "Death", with a big scythe forming the T, a black bandana over my dreads and my shredded jeans belted loosely over my bloody hips. I probably looked like trouble. This guy drove me an hour to Sioux Falls, dropped my bike at the mechanic, and drove me to a nearby motel where his kids helped bring my bags in. He wouldn't even let me give him any money for gas, just asked me to pay it forward. And that's all I kept thinking on the ride into town and for the rest of the day. I took this trip seeking a change in perspective after living in Ottawa for 10 years. I regret not wearing my riding pants that day. I regret going so fast on a bike that was probably over-loaded with camping gear, clothes, work stuff, etc. I regret letting an 80 year old man help move a giant broken machine onto a trailer, and I regret putting strangers, as well as my friends and family in a position where they were worried about me. But I kept thinking how different it would have been for them if I had suffered a head or neck injury, or lost a limb, or my life. How different it would have been for me if there had been no one around and I got dehydrated, my blood sugar dropped and I passed out in the sun, only to wake up later when the adrenaline had passed to have to walk to the nearest town on a broken foot. I owe those guys a debt I can never repay. I owe it to the world to give something back. I got out of that with nothing but some scrapes and a hairline fracture in my foot. That's insane. Now I'm at a motel in Sioux Falls. I spent most of the day today sleeping. I'm pretty sore now and moving, walking, sleeping are challenging. I'm in a walking cast for 6 weeks. The mechanic quoted me $4000US to put my engine in a new frame but the bike only cost me $4000 Canadian to begin with. I dont have collision insurance since I figured if I crashed, I'd be dead or maimed and unable to ride. I have this week off and had planned to work for the next 2 weeks in Colorado and Utah to explore in evenings and weekends before the last week of August which I had booked off to complete my trip through California and up to BC. Today I called Denny, the farmer, to thank him again, tell him I'm ok, and apologize for getting him hurt. He called me back and told me he was fine, not to worry, and even had the nerve to tell me that he's a good judge of character and that he thinks I'm a good person. I planned this trip to try to rearrange my priorities, change my perspective, and get a new lease on life. After a crash like that, my life could have been changed in a much darker way. Instead, I guess I did get what I wanted. I have a lot to live for now. A totalled bike and a shortened trip are nothing compared to what could have happened. I don't have many options at this point. I could try to ship the bike back to Ontario and work on it all winter but I've sublet my room in Ottawa as of September. My ex's parents even offered to borrow their neighbors trailer and drive down here to pick up me and the bike but I couldn't do that to them, it's over a thousand miles. A wrecker offered me $50 for what's left of my bike so unless there's another miracle that's probably what I'll have to do. I can't stay in this motel forever. I'm disappointed that I ran a marathon of a trip to get to Colorado and Utah and didn't even get to see them but that's always something I can do another year, being as I survived and all. It looks like I'm going back to Ontario until my foot is healed and I'll probably just fly to BC instead of arriving at the end of an epic road trip. People have asked me if I'll keep riding and I think I will. I don't have fear when I think about being on a bike. It probably would have been a different story if I hadn't been helped by such amazing people or if my injuries had been more severe. Maybe I'll get a bike in BC or maybe I'll stick with a cage for the winter and try to take another run at this trip next summer. I didn't get the badass shots of myself riding through mountains and deserts but I did get to connect with amazing people every step of the way on the journey I did take. I'm going to focus my energy on finding ways to give back in my free time, I think that's the best thing I can do. As for the v strom, I need to figure out if it's worth it to ship it home or if I should just abandon it to the wrecker. I loved it and it served me well, and I'll be sad to see it go. Not to mention that it cost me the entirety of my savings. But bikes can be replaced and I'm just grateful that I get a second chance.