Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Heading to Dallas and the IBA Party

Earlier this week I helped a friend earn her first Saddle Sore 1000 certificate and then got her on a plane to fly home to Bowling Green, KY.  A few days later my newly-iron-butted friend flew back to Houston on Thursday and I took her out for some Texas brisket as promised.   We went to the Big Horn BBQ near my house which proved to be a huge success all around.  The food was great and they had a live singer who, as it turned out, lives in my neighborhood.  He was very good and very entertaining.  It was a very pleasant evening.

The next morning we were supposed to ride together over to The Big Thicket National Preserve so that my friend could get a national park stamp (she's currently doing the IBA National Park Tour) and then on up to Dallas, but for multiple reasons I decided not to ride with her.  I wanted to leave a little later in the morning and head straight for Dallas and probably do it in the SUV, not on the bike.  So I made some suggested modifications to her route on her GPS and then sent her on her way about 8:30 AM Friday morning.  I got onto the road myself around 10:30 AM in the SUV. 

Along the way, when I was less than an hour away from the hotel in Irving, near Dallas, my cellphone rang.  It was a little confusing at first, but ultimately it was someone calling on my friend's cellphone - a stranger - to tell me that my friend had had a minor accident in Madisonville, two hours south of where I was at.  I had to drive a few miles to get to an exit where I could get off the road and call her back to get the full story.  If she was injured and in the hospital, or if the bike were damaged beyond repair, I would turn around and drive back to Madisonville to deal with it.

When I could get her back on the phone I was able to get more information.  She had dumped the bike while trying to execute a sharp right turn off an exit ramp to get to the Buc-ee's gas station in Madisonville.  She was a little banged up but refused transport to a hospital to be checked out.  She wasn't sure if her bike was rideable or if it would even start.  I told her to check it over, see if it would start and then call me back.  About 15 minutes later she called to say the bike started, was missing the right-side rearview mirror and had some damage to the windshield, but she was going to try to continue on to Irving. 

When we got off the phone I got onto the web and searched Madisonville for a Kawasaki dealer.  I then called and left her a message suggesting she take the bike to the dealer's, gave her the address, and that she have them look the bike over and do whatever was needed to make it roadworthy.  I also suggested she get a motel room for the night, put ice on her injured knee and then come on up to Dallas the next day after she'd had a chance to calm down and rest.  But I could only leave that message and a follow-up text message, since I couldn't get her to answer the phone.

I continued on to the hotel, getting there around 3:30 PM.  I hooked up with some friends and joined them for a beer in the lobby area and checked my phone messages to see if she'd called or texted me back.  No messages so I tried calling her again.  Still no answer. 

Close to 6:00 PM she walked - or rather, limped - into the lobby looking absolutely spent and a little worse for wear.  But she made it.


Sunrise in Irving TX
The IBA ride certificates were handed out on Saturday evening before the banquet:

Friend getting her first IBA certificate from Mike Kneebone

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