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Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by OZYMANDIAS, May 7, 2006.
Very well said NevadaWolf... I second that!
Just found this thread as I sit on my couch on my 31st birthday, starting to feel old. This was so sad, and so sobering. It sure gives perspective. A reminder to live every day as if it could be the last.
I'm reminded of the closest call I had on my Argentina to Seattle motorcycle adventure just this last year. That night, after one inch from being taken out by a speeding SUV, I turned to my best friend, accompanying me through Peru on a separate bike. I fully realized how close I had been to serious injury or death, and told her, "Ashley, if I die on this trip, promise to tell my family I died living life to the fullest, was happier than I've ever been, and love them so much". I told her to tell them that I was sorry for putting them through such pain.
I don't know if that gives a mourning family any solace, but it felt true at the time... One never knows what can happen on the road or at any other moment.
I know this was years ago, but rest in peace, Clayton, and love to your family. I'll remember you.
Dear Gene and Marylyn, and all my friends who ride,
I too am saddened by Clay's death, but my admiration is immense -for his willingness to explore the world and for his decision to end his life when he was certain that it was untenable. As a former suicide counselor I think I understand as well as anyone can who is still drawing breath. I thank you for your willingness to visit this site and this memorial to your son. It must be a terror and a joy and I have the greatest love for you for enduring both.
I am nearly 69 years old and have been on one motorcycle or another since 1968. You can be certain that I have made my share of bad decisions and at times had more than my share of good luck. When I first started riding in eastern Kansas a good friend gave me some very important advice: "ride as if you are invisible to everyone". However homey or trite it may sound, it has kept me alive and unscathed in all these years. I cannot know if such advice would have kept Clay from harm, but perhaps it will be of use to someone reading this note to you.
I now live in central Mexico and do hope, as soon as time and funds allow, to ride extensively here. I want you to know beyond any doubt that I will be thinking of Clay, his lust for life, and the sorrowful but important lesson his experience gives me. I, like dozens of others who have contributed their thoughts and sympathies to you and your family, will be more mindful and more aware of the inherent danger of travel on two wheels. And to all of my new friends here on Advrider I humbly hope that each of you will ride with care and respect for your life, and, like me, I hope, give a thought to how we can protect those who have protected and cared for us along the way.
wow...my house is real dusty so my eyes are a little watery . As a young man getting into my 30s and planning on a trip to explore soon this will be in the back of my head.
RIP and God Speed Clayton, this beers for you.
Words fail me , all i can say is that i will slow down , i promise .
Thank you Clayton .
Went through most of this RR, found the book and went through that.
Honestly, I've never read something like that before. I found myself in tears. What a tragedy. In the end he tried as best he can to as Nietzsche said, "die proudly when it was no longer possible to live proudly".
I will honor him the best way I can, and to his family and friends, my heart goes out to you all.
Just a thought, I hope we, as a civilized society can figure out a better way for people like OZ to leave on their own terms. I think he proved to me that dying can be a beautiful thing. I'm not a paraplegic, so I'm taking Oz's view here, for those in his situation and on the verge of death, it is mostly a lonely nightmarish, torturous hell.
Thank you for sharing your final thoughts and days in the brutal honest fashion you so perfectly express with.
Clayton, you are truly an unforgettable person.
Nine and a half years later and I still often think of Clayton when I ride.
This was the first ride report I came to when I started checking into a solo ride for myself. I lived in Everett just 50 mile south of where Ozzy took off from in Bellingham and was so stoked at the thought of his adventure. I had been riding for 30 + years when this all went down and still to this day with over 40 years experience, it's never enough to truly be safe because of the elements out around every blind corner and dark street.
Just remember to never stop moving your eyes and focus on aka the big picture when bombing down the road/Hwy's. It's never to late to learn something new and unfortunately Clayton's experience turned out tragic, I wish he would have had a little more time to ride before trying something so epic. RIP Clayton, as you have taught us all to be a little more vigilant in our own rides and your memory never forgotten.
Back in 2009, this is the first ride report that I ever read on Advrider. Clayton's life, along with some others on this site, are what inspired me to find out more about life on this planet, versus just droning along at work everyday. Although I never knew him, I think of Clayton often.
Currently traveling via 18wheeler.... It's been a while, but ran across an ADV sticker. Had to come visit oz!
This thread is a must read for all riders.
An unforgettable journey.
Peace be with you Clayton....
After being on this site for about 2.5 years I finally came across this thread and Clayton's story today. I had a good cry this morning and had to take a break. As a son, father, brother and spouse it really makes one reflect on all that one lives for.
Ride on Clayton.
Was thinking about this thread today, it is 10 years old this year. Makes me grateful for all I've been blessed with. None of us know when our time is up.....
I came across this thread yesterday. Had the empty pillion pegs down today on my new daily commute through a few congested areas. Felt a chill down my spine as I rode through the tunnel.
Aumen to that brother!
Powerful doesn't even come close to describing this. I've spent the morning reconstructing this ride report from fragments and comments left by others. Clayton was impactful in so many ways, as inspiration, as a cautionary tale, I feel like I knew him. Maybe having so many things in common with someone increases the level of empathy. This thread being alive and running for so long with so many genuine, heartfelt comments and reflections from fellow riders is absolute proof that Claytons impact on the motorcycling community as a whole has been astronomical. We all tend to ride too fast and take chances until we are reminded how dumb it is to do so, Claytons life just gave me that reminder. That's what I'll remember, Claytons life. Thank you.
I too was deeply touched by Clayton's story when I read it 5 years ago...for all it's promise and enthusiasm and zest for life and for the despair he endured and brutal honesty he embodied after the accident. I give him the highest marks for his courage and persistence trying to figure out a life he could be happy in. I completely understand his final decision to check out when he did as I probably would have done the same.
I hope to do the same trip Clayton set out on this fall 2016. I decided after my first read of his story that I would print out a shrunk down bumper sticker to place on the inside of my small windshield with the word - OZYMANDIAS - on it. Something that I will look at every time I get on and off the bike, something that I will look at every time I glance down at my speedometer. It will be joyfully symbolic in that I will be taking Clayton along with me to finish the ride he started and it will be a cautionary reminder to slow down and be aware of unsuspecting wildlife, kids and pets running into the road.
Clayton's legacy is a quiet one but it's also a BIG one. I have no doubt the story of his mostly beautiful life has saved other lives over the past 10 years...how many we will never know. His example and message lives on. Thank you Clayton for what you have given me. Thank you Clayton's family for your courage and unselfishness in allowing this very important story to be told.
I’ve read his book several times. In an effort to understand Clayton more completely, does anyone know for sure the nature of the importance Clayton attached to Ozymandias? This name or symbol was chosen when he started his ride report, when everything was going so well and the future was so bright and he was so unstoppable, having mastered every challenging situation he purposely put himself in….both physically and intellectually.
Unlike Clayton, I am an illiterate when it comes to philosophy and poetry. When I first saw Clayton’s post many years ago, I was attracted to this word or name, Ozymandias, but I had never heard of it before so I checked Wikipedia for some enlightenment. I was stunned when I saw the meaning behind the poem…”collapse following greatness”. In my simple mind’s attempt to connect the dots, it seemed clear that Ozymandias was a harbinger of his fate. Did he know this consciously and thus choose this name to identify with because it related specifically to a feeling or subtle warning deep inside of him? I can only guess the answer to be yes. My own biases and experiences lead me down this road of reasoning and irony but I may be way off course relative to how Clayton felt connected to Ozymandias. I do not know Clayton beyond a few entries in this ride report and his 100 page book and I can’t begin to know what he was thinking when he choose this symbol as his identity in ADVrider.
Although Clayton was far from religious, he seemed to be just as far from fatalism too. Does anyone who REALLY knew Clayton, know if his fascination or connection with Ozymandias related directly to the original poem (which I suspect is the case) or was he identifying with “an ozymandias” in one of the more contemporary uses/characters in film, TV or books? (see wikipeida and cultural references to ozymandias).
Part of the legacy Clayton leaves us is his quest to understand himself, the world and how he fit into it, before and after his life changing event…a question we all struggle with to one degree or another and at different times in our lives. Maybe there are subtle signs and messages “out there” in each of our lives that we need to pay more attention to. All I know for sure is that Clayton’s story continues to resurrect and amplify some of those subtle warning signs in my own head that get suppressed and covered over with the sediments of time. For his reminders to heed those warnings, I continue to be grateful. Rest in Peace Clayton.
Another very similar story but with a different outcome...
I only post the above link as there's been an update, it's another incredible story.