Typical interstate highway weave section where the entry point is just before the exit point. People handle them successfully a million times a day - literally. Not this time! I was pulling onto the interstate. She - in the minivan - was originally in the left lane. At the last minute she headed into my lane - probably for the exit. I don't think she saw me. I barely saw her. The van struck the front forks / handle bars which tore them off the bike. They were mostly found in the fence 190 feet down the road. The van tore the radiator off the front of the engine but missed the block. Everything came off the bike: front end, tank, saddle, trunk, bags. So what was left was a mainframe bent at the steering head, with a 370,000 mile engine, transmission, and drive train attached. Our speed differential was probably 30 to 35 mph.
The front end absorbed a lot of energy coming off and apart. The bike flopped down right hard - it may have tumbled. I flopped of to the right - hard. Landed with my bony elbow tucked in to my rib cage - the elbow lined up perfectly with one broken rib. Then I bounced at least once and wound up standing up.
I looked down and said out loud, "Sh&#, I don't think I can fix it this time."
I saw that the few oncoming cars were getting stopped. There was stuff from the bike scattered all over both lanes. The big pieces were in the right lane, so I moved the little stuff out of the left lane, and was standing there in my black bib-topped Aerostich pants and a blue shirt directing traffic when the Sheriff, Highway Patrol, fire truck, and ambulance arrived.
I took the ambulance ride to get checked out. I told them I thought I had broken a rib. Sure enough!
My helmet, boots, and Aerostich suit were none the worse for wear except a little dirt on the suit. I had that broken rib, a big bruise on my right thigh and a big bruise on my left hip. Oh, and a little scratch on my cheek from my glasses frame.
I was very very lucky. A few inches different and she would have hit the block. There would have been much less energy absorption from stuff bending/breaking and a much more violent hit. A bit further back than that and she would have been into my leg.
So we had to scrub our 49 State ride at 40 states. Rented a car to drive me home. Hauled all the "stuff" that was in the bike for a 49 State ride in what was left of two saddlebags and my big Harley trunk. Left Voni's bike and went back to get it two weeks later.
I toyed with buying the whole thing from the insurance co. - but they wouldn't let me cherry pick the hulk. It was all or nothing. And the storage charges were going to be mine if I kept it. And I wasn't feeling too spiffy right then anyway and didn't feel like a long trip with a trailer. So I turned my back and walked away from it.
19 years - 370,000 miles I owned that bike. Hated to see it die! But it was running good till the last split second.
Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
"The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell