Got an early start about 6:35am from Spokane. Easy city streets, a bike trail, and a moderate climb got us back out onto country roads. Stopped for the obligatory photo at the Idaho state line, around mile 33. Was feeling good today; felt like I had gotten “over the hump” after the tough day yesterday.
At about mile 48, we dropped down into a state park and got onto a beautiful, paved, flat rail trail, which runs mostly along Lake C’our d’Alene, and across the lake at one point using an amazing restored railroad bridge. Around mile 57, we had a fantastic lunch in the quaint town of Harrison.
I had been riding with Richard all day, who is riding to raise funds for Habitat for Humanity of Denver. About a mile up the trail after lunch, we were cruising along, and I guess I was enjoying the scenery too much. Richard slowed down a bit, I didn’t notice in time, and I went crashing into him. I flipped over my handlebars and went flying off into the gravel to the right side of the trail, landing hard on my head and right shoulder. I managed to roll over onto my back, and laid there for several minutes to try to assess the damage. I could not move my right arm. Everything else seemed okay. Richard had fallen, too, but not very hard, and he was okay. He gave me a few drinks of water, but we decided that we should try to get out of the sun. He helped me to my feet, but I started to feel lightheaded. I remember putting my hand on his shoulder to steady myself; he said that I passed out. I remember waking up in the gravel again. After another few minutes, he helped me up again, and we worked our way over to the shade next to a nearby restroom. By then some other riders showed up. The ride side of my body was covered with this weird furry stuff, that had fallen from nearby cottonwood trees; I remember Kira saying that it looked like I had been attacked by a duck. She poured some water on my head, which felt good, but I started to feel naseous. I laid down, but remained conscious. I recall David from Vermont being there, and Steve from California examining my helmet, which had a slight dent in the rear right side. Kira radioed back to the lunch stop, and somebody there called for the ambulance. It might have been difficult for the ambulance to get to me on the trail, though. Fortunately, just then a trail ranger employed by the C’ouer d’Alene Tribe drove by in a maintenance ATV. My bike fit in the bed in the back, and I rode in the passenger side as he gave me a ride back to the lunch area in Harrison. The Harrison EMT squad showed up soon after. After hearing my description of the fall, they were very concerned about spinal injury, so they took the usual precautions of putting me in a neck brace and strapping me to a back board, and we proceeded in the ambulance to the Benewah Community Hospital in the town of St. Marie, about 20 miles away. Kira came along with me. The ambulance crew gave me a small brown teddy bear, since I had the dubious honor of being the first person that they ever had to evacuate by ambulance off of the trail since its recent dedication. The worst part of the whole trip to the hospital was that the back board I was laying on was very painful on the small spot on the back of my head.
At the hospital, I got x-rays of my shoulder and neck, and was examined by Dr. Clyde Hanson, who reminded me of the actor Ronnie Cox (of Robocop and Total Recall). The bad news: a fractured collar bone, with an expected recovery time of four to six weeks.
They cleaned the scrapes from the fall on the back of my shoulder, and had to dig some bits of gravel out of a deep gash in my knee. I also got a tetanus shot. They put my shoulders in what is called a figure-eight harness, which holds them in the proper position to promote the collar bone’s healing. I got a prescription for painkillers (Vicodin), and was told to get a checkup in a week.
Paul was waiting outside with the SAG van; we stopped at the local pharmacy to pick up my pills, then had to head back to Harrison to pick up some staff still left at the lunch stop. We proceeded on to the town of Kellogg, our stop for the night. I somehow managed to get a shower at the Kellogg Middle School, and was dressed in time for dinner. Later, a few of us headed over to a local bar, where I had a Pepsi. We saw an amazing sunset over the mountains, then watched a display of lightening bolts as a thunderstorm approached from the west.
So, the other day I was getting all philosophical, trying to explain the meaning of flat tires. That will teach me; now I have to figure out what this means. I will keep you posted…
Filed under: Coast to Coast 2004 |