Sometimes I forget my bike is a little on the ‘hippy’ side. The width of a G650GS with Zega Pro hard case panniers is about 40 inches. For the past 10 days, Dave and I have been travelling mostly on wide backcountry gravel roads, with minimal technical maneuvering needed, although there have certainly been times when precision is necessary. Carving a fully loaded adventure bike that weighs approx. 500+ lbs—not including my weight, which is somewhere in the 130 lb range—around obstacles as I would try to ski through trees, requires a completely different skill set. While riding a section of the Idaho Discovery Route yesterday—my birthday as it was— about 2 kms short of Avery, ID, I clipped the side of a boulder laying at rest after it tumbled from the hillside above some moons ago, with my hard case pannier. A rock about the size of half a loaf of bread was in the middle of my line. I tried to steer around it but often the back tire doesn’t follow the exact course of the front tire and my Heidenau-rubber clad rear ran over the bread loaf rock putting me off course and sending my line straight into the boulder at a whopping 30 kmph. But don’t let the slow speed fool you. It was enough to shear my pannier clear off its mount and send me into the ditch on the side of the double-track trail. The sort of trail where people over 60 walk their puntable yappy dogs. The sort of trail where you’d take your kids’ training wheels off. The sort of trail where you could easily walk around a boulder on the trail without effort but where a 40-inch wide motorcycle might go into the ditch and break your wrist. According to Dr. Luther in the St. Marie’s, ID hospital emerg on the evening of Sept. 25, my wrist broke a small chunk of the end of the bone just under the thumb. He said it was a ‘good’ break that should heal in 10-12 days. What’s important to mention here is the kindness of strangers. When I hit the boulder, we were about 2 km from the pretty little historical settlement of Avery, ID, which was the site where steam or diesel locomotives were changed or hooked up to electric locomotives from 1909 to 1980. When Dave had ferried both our bikes into Avery and I’d walked in, we found the kindness of Ben and Melissa Scheffelmaier, who loaned us their van so we could drive more comfortably to the hospital 50 miles away in St. Maries. Before their generosity, we were gearing up to ride two-up on Dave’s bike, which would have been a bit miserable in 40F with a broken wrist. When we called Ben from the hospital around 8 pm to say we had to get food then would drive the 50 miles back to return his van he told us to keep the van overnight and get a hotel so we would be comfortable. We could return the van in the a.m. Who gives two strangers their only vehicle and sends them off with a well-wishing? It seems to be the folks of Idaho, where men still open the door for women, tip their hats and call you ma’am.
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