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West Fest 2008 (8/8-10)

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by GSDude, Jul 29, 2007.

  1. klrzorn

    klrzorn Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2006
    Oddometer:
    827
    Location:
    St. Louis, Mo.


    Normally I would have some smart ass reply,but the grass behind my garage was close to the same height as yours. But I don't have near as much as you.
    So whats my excuse? :D
  2. southforkspeedster

    southforkspeedster koolaidless

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,026
    Location:
    the dry side of Oregon
    Hey Austin,
    You are one great photographer:deal :clap

    I am sorry I missed Westfest this year, I won't next year for sure:deal
  3. AZuwere

    AZuwere Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2006
    Oddometer:
    380
    Location:
    Gilbert, AZ
    Here's a video of what all us noob's had to do on Saturday night. That's me in the white helmet. The people of Lake City sure came out to support us!<OBJECT height=344 width=425>
    </p><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/kTYGmjgSMv8&hl=en&fs=1" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></OBJECT></P>
  4. RocketJohn

    RocketJohn Hook em' Horns!

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2002
    Oddometer:
    11,507
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    We made it in last night... We're good... West Fest was the first leg of a 5,000 mile loop we embarked upon... We needed everyone of those miles and days to get past the devastating event we were about 1 mile behind on our way to Lake City...
  5. TNC

    TNC Candyass Camper

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2007
    Oddometer:
    4,631
    Location:
    Tejas
    I saw Putts' on his BMW with saddlebags full of liquor bottles!...Cool!:lol3
  6. RocketJohn

    RocketJohn Hook em' Horns!

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2002
    Oddometer:
    11,507
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    My Father, RocketJoe, wrote this up about our tragic experience on the way to WestFest...

    ========================================================
    Notes from Friday, August 8, 2008, the day John and I left Denver for the WestFest ADV Rally in Lake City, Colorado, on our way to the West Coast and other locations.

    We left our home in Aurora at 7:15 AM to meet our friend Mike Schweitzer and first time acquaintance Mitch Goldbaum at the Blue Cow restaurant in Morrison for breakfast. Mike and Mitch planned to ride to Lake City with us, camp for the night, and return to Denver on Saturday. After the usual chitchat and a proper breakfast, we left Morrison at about 9 AM after Mitch took time to check his Honda VFR 800 tires for proper air pressure, headed toward Kenosha Pass and on to Lake City. About 60 miles into the trip, right past Kenosha Pass, John slowed and motioned for Mitch to pass by him and then John moved into position behind me, with Mike out in front of us on his Ducati 900ss having already separated from us. Mitch soon did the same and we settled in for a short ride to Fairplay to regroup as usual.

    [Let me add here that they got out a mile or so in front of us at this point and we could no longer see them - John]

    Headed toward Red Hill Pass but before making the turn uphill, I noticed a large ball of smoke rising from beyond the trees and up the hill. Since it is forest fire season here in the West, that was my first thought, but I soon saw that the smoke had turned white, and my thoughts went to a blown head gasket on the truck, since we had by now made the turn and started up the hill and I quickly got a glimpse of the 18 wheeler stopped in the road. John&#8217;s first thoughts were that the truck&#8217;s brakes had caught fire since he had seen flames shooting into the smoke plumes.
    But as we ascended the hill, I noticed that the truck had locked his brakes and had skid down the hill into our uphill lane, and I began to notice a lot of debris in the road. The first thing I remember seeing was the sleeping bag mattress that had been attached to the back of Mitch&#8217;s Honda. He had ridden quite a bit of the trip right in front of me and that mattress was always in my view until John waved him ahead. It was laying on the road but off to the right just a bit. &#8220;How did that mattress fall off Mitch&#8217;s bike?&#8221; That was my thought. Then I saw a wheel/fender assembly off to the left side of the road, three lanes wide at this point. I saw some activity in front of the stopped truck, which I later determined was the truck driver putting out a truck fire with a fire extinguisher. Then a massive amount of debris suddenly appeared all over the road in front of me. John later said it looked to him like a disaster movie scene. Then I saw Mitch lying on his back in the middle of my lane, no helmet, no gloves, no jacket, not moving. A small amount of blood was on his forehead, but he was not actually bleeding.

    Slowed to a near crawl by now, I remember weaving through the debris field so as not to run across anything that would damage a tire, but I was getting ever closer to Mitch lying in the road. John and I soon passed right near him and beyond and stopped our bikes and got off to determine what had happened. A woman beside the road was already on her cell phone calling for help, and several other passenger cars had pulled off the road.
    John asked if I was OK and went to see if Mitch could be helped, maybe even to perform CPR on our new riding buddy. He came back to me and said two words I&#8217;ll never forget and never want to hear again, &#8220;He&#8217;s dead.&#8221; Mitch had crossed into oncoming traffic while passing a car and slammed head-on into the front of the truck. The fuel tank on his bike exploded causing the fire on the truck, and the rest of the bike exploded into an uncountable number of pieces, resulting in the debris field in the road, with the rear section of the bike stuck under the front of the truck.
    One witness told me later that she had told her husband after Mike had passed them then Mitch passed them, &#8220; They look like they are having so much fun, David, you should get a bike HE&#8217;S NOT GOING TO MAKE IT!&#8221; It happened that quickly.

    We stayed there for the next two hours recovering, regrouping, then slowly, frightfully, carefully, began to continue the trip we had been planning for the past eight months. Many thoughts go through one&#8217;s mind at a time like that. What a tragic situation, what a tragic day. Nance says a radio report described it as a &#8220;severe fatality.&#8221; That it was.

    The local newspaper in Fairplay printed the following report with accompanying picture:

    http://theflume.com/ftp/<wbr>frontpage.jpg

    --
    Joe





    :cry
  7. Hayduke

    Hayduke ///SAFETY THIRD/// Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Oddometer:
    48,277
    Location:
    Salida, coloRADo
    Oh God.

    Peace to you.

    :cry

    RIP Mitch
  8. eric2

    eric2 ®egister this:

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2003
    Oddometer:
    3,866
    Location:
    Austin
    Holy Shit! That was terrible! Was Mitch prone to this type of riding? Apparently this was the first time he rode with you guys correct? I'm not sure I could continue a trip after that, what about his relatives?

    Damn thats a rough thing to come up onto. RIP to Mitch and his family.


    Just curious, but have you thought about riding with a new aquaintance again after that?
  9. Gordy

    Gordy SUPPORTER

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2001
    Oddometer:
    32,075
    Location:
    NM
    RJ,
    It was great to (finally) meet you and visit with you at WF. Unfortunately, the horror in your story you told us was hard to forget.

    RIP Mitch and I hope that you and your dad can get over the movie that is now playing in your heads.


    On a brighter note,
    I can't wait to hear about your 5,000 mile trip.
  10. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2003
    Oddometer:
    13,483
    Location:
    On the road
    I can still feel the hollow feeling I had when you told us about that in Lake City. There is simply nothing I can say. I hope you are getting through this. Thanks for posting this so everyone knows...
  11. Bonnie Abbzug

    Bonnie Abbzug Property of Hayduke

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2006
    Oddometer:
    10,350
    Location:
    on the couch pm'ing Hayduke
    So very sad :cry . Peace to you and to Mitches family.
  12. DADODIRT

    DADODIRT Long timer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,377
    Location:
    Durango,CO(closer to Purgatory)
    I don't know what to say.

    I've passed bad accdident scenes, but never someone among my group.

    I am not sure how you guys continued on.

    RIP Mitch.
  13. MotoKat

    MotoKat Whine Cooler.

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2005
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    PDX
    How sad :cry Rest in Peace, Mitch.
  14. RocketJohn

    RocketJohn Hook em' Horns!

    Joined:
    Apr 15, 2002
    Oddometer:
    11,507
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Mitch seemed like a strong, experienced rider... I saw no signs of immaturity or squidness about his riding skills in the 60-70 miles I rode with him...

    I personally rarely ride with people... and if I do its with RocketJoe... I ride to relax and explore and enjoy... I'm not a racer... I've had sportbikes, and I cruise through the sweepers, but I've been on the track enough to know anything over 6-7/10ths on the roadway is just asking for trouble...

    I told my Father, that if he didn't get on that bike right then, I was afraid he never would... he dismissed that idea and knew we had to get back on the bikes and we knew that the miles and time would be way better than sitting around home for a two weeks, all depressed... and it turned out, I can't think of better mind clearing therapy for us than to go on a two week road trip, Father and Son, riding through the most beautiful scenery on the continent...

    I appreciate all your nice comments and thoughts... Joe wrote in a journal every day of the trip... We're organizing thoughts and pics and will post a ride report that I'll link you to... I'm glad we kept going... I wasn't ready to stop riding... I felt guilty about that the first day, due to disrespecting the fallen, but I just hoped our decision was the right one... I think it was...
  15. Blakebird

    Blakebird ran when parked

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2004
    Oddometer:
    29,055
    Location:
    Las Cruces, NM
    wow.

    RJ, it would have been good to see you at WF, but your plate would've been kinda full to kick back and catch up...
  16. Kemosabe

    Kemosabe Perpetual Adverturer

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    Nov 9, 2006
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    Gods Country OR
  17. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
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    San Antonio, Tx
    I can't imagine the grief and shock you must have felt during your ride, RJ. No one should have to go thru this.

    Prayers...
  18. katbeanz

    katbeanz earthbound misfit, I Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
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    Kansas City
    Sorry I missed that, hecklers suck, except for SgtMarty. :lol3

    I heard about the accident but no one had any details. I hope those he left behind can find peace. :cry
  19. Lobby

    Lobby Viel Spass, Vato!

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2003
    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    San Antonio, Tx
    It'd be cool if someone was videoing the hecklers. So we can out them.

    :lurk
  20. RocketJoe

    RocketJoe Geaux Tigers

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2003
    Oddometer:
    100
    Location:
    SuburbanDenver, Colorado
    Thanks to all of you for the kind thoughts. We did not want to rain on the WF fun, so we only talked to FatChance about the accident in response to a couple of questions he asked about our ride up to WF. Also, we were still dealing with it ourselves since it had all happened just a few hours earlier.

    The remainder of the trip was simply glorious. It was cathartic, revealing, refreshing, tiring, sometimes actually exhausting with two back-to-back 600 miles days, and even enlightening. More to come on that issue.

    Again, thanks for all the support and kind words and thoughts from all of you.