The Motorcycle Crash

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Abandoned


The story of eight friends and a trip to Daytona Bike Week

Submitted: January 24, 2018

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Submitted: January 24, 2018

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There were eight of us that use to hang out together and ride.  We rode big v twin Harleys and wore the leather jackets and denim vests without a club logo on the back.  We hadn’t started as a club just eight guys that loved motorcycles and the freedom that symbolized.  We got our name when we were at this local biker bar having a drink.  The owner and head bartender was a big man that everybody called Chief, mainly this was cause he looked like that big Indian from that Jack Nicholson film “One flew over the cuckoo’s nest” I think.

Anyways we are sitting around a table in the back having a drink when this big hairy ugly biker walks in.  As he enters he shouts, “Give me a beer and shot chief.”

Chief sets them up and the guy knocks them back then he looks around.  “God damn chief I get locked up for six months and I come back to find this place is filled with a bunch of numbnuts.”

We should have taken offense to this since we were the only ones in the bar right then, but he was wearing the colors of a local biker gang known for some pretty nasty stuff.

“Lay off Bear them guys are ok.”  Chief tells him and the guy just finish his drink and leaves.

At the time I had no clue that we had just gotten our club name, but a week later Jim G. shows up sporting a denim vest with a patch on the back.  The top rocker said ‘The Numbnuts’ and the bottom rocker said ‘Motorcycle Club’.  In between the two was what looked like a pair of huge coconuts.  We all laughed about it, but by the end of the week we all had vests with the patches.

I should explain that we all had wives and I had kids.  Our wives were okay with us riding they even enjoyed going with us at times.  We also worked regular jobs or owned our own businesses.  We didn’t go in for the whole tattoo and hairy look, but we all knew how to do our own wrenching.  I guess Big Tony was the one of us that was the closest to the big hairy tattooed biker image.  He had five tattoos, but three were from his time in the army.

 

I guess this all started the middle of December of ’02.  We were hanging out at Frankie’s garage and doing some work on our bikes when Jim G comes in.  He plops down on a chair and pulls a beer from the cooler.

“Hey guys I’ve been thinking we should go to Bike Week.”

That was typical Jim G., just coming out of nowhere with an idea.

“I made that run a couple of times.”  Big Tony informs us.  “Damn good party, but you need to reserve your rooms almost a year in advance.”

“We could hit a camp ground and just rough it for the week.”  Chuck said.  Chuck or Chuckwagon as we called him was skinny, but he could eat.He once got thrown out of an all you can eat buffet because the manager didn’t believe he had eaten eight servings.

“More like two weeks with the ride down and back.”  Frankie said.  Frankie looked like a serial killer or maybe a neo-Nazi with his shaved head, but he was the nicest guy in the world.  He shaved his head because he was going bald in his mid-30’s.

“Are the wives going to let us go for two weeks is what we need to ask ourselves.”  Lester was the kind of guy you would think had to ask his wife to use the john, but he was okay most of the time.

“We could bring them along.”  Hank chirped in as he checked the oil on his bike.  Hank was usually the quiet one, but he did come up with some good ideas.

“We would all have to see if we could get the time off first then Ian would have to find a babysitter for two weeks.  Then we would have to see if we could find a camp ground that had any openings for the week.”  Carl was the logical one.  He kept us grounded most times.

“Karen will just get her mother to watch the kids.”  I said without really considering it.

The talk about the trip went on until the beer ran out and we all headed home.

 

It was two weeks later that I learned it wasn’t just all talk.  I came home to find a bag in the living room from an expensive boutique downtown.  We could afford it but with Christmas right around the corner I was a little surprised.

“Karen what did you buy?”

“I got a new bikini for the trip to Daytona.”

“What trip to Daytona?”

“Jim told Kathy about his idea and she told Marsha who then told Kellie and well word got around we discussed it and decided we should do it.  I already called my mom and she will take the kids for us.”

I shook my head.  The wives had decided and knowing them the trip will be planned out before the first of January.  I called the guys and sure enough their wives had all decided the trip was a good idea.  The next day I went into work and requested the time off, my boss gave me a little grief about it, but I had the time and rarely take long vacations, so he agreed.

 

On February25 we took off, eight big Harleys, seven with two people on them and a van bring up the rear.  We took it slow having planned it out, so we had plenty of time to get there.  This was actually the longest run most of us had taken on our bikes.  Big Tony had made the run a couple of times and others, but most of us had only gone for weekend trips.

The first day went great with the wives taking turns driving the van we made good time.  That night we stayed at a nice little motel ran by this elderly couple.  I think we may have scared them as we pulled in, but we had reservations, so it turned out okay.  I have to admit I had been a little nervous about this trip but that night I was feeling good, better then I had in years.

The next day we got a late start, but we were making good time.  I was actually enjoying the wind in my face as we flew down the highway.  Jim G. was in the lead when we came up on a semi.  He hung back until he thought he saw and opening and he started to switch lanes.

That is when things went wrong.  Some asshole in a car came roaring up out of nowhere.  Jim G. saw that he was going to get hit so he tried to steer out of the way.  I’m only guessing here, but I think that there was gravel or loose dirt on the road because his back wheel began to slide out from under him.  His wife on the back leaned the wrong way and the bike went down.  The guy in the car never even slowed down as he roared pass.

Jim G., his wife and the bike went sliding down the highway as we quickly braked and pulled off the road.  As we all ran to check on them I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that this was bad.  Jim G. was lying on his right side, his helmet was nowhere in sight as we reached him.  He rolled onto his back and I saw the right side of his face looked like raw ground meat.  He groaned in pain.

“Don’t try to move until we get somebody here to check you out.”  Big Tony said as he moved over to check on Kathy.

I left the others to look after Jim G. and went with Big Tony.  Kathy was on her back, not moving.  Her eyes were open, but they just stared up at the sky.  Big Tony knelt down and felt her neck.

“She has a pulse.”  He said.

I dug out my cell phone from my pants pocket and called 911.  I told the operator the nearest mile marker and spent ten minutes trying to explain how bad Jim G. and Kathy were.

 

***

 

A state police cruiser showed up and the trooper took charge.  Soon after the ambulance showed up and the medics got Kathy who was still not moving and Jim G. loaded and took off to a nearby hospital.  Carl and Frankie followed them.  The rest of us waited until the trooper had taken pictures and measured everything.  When he was done we were allowed to load Jim G.’s bike into the van.  It was a tight fit, but we weren’t going to let some local tow truck driver take it.

We found a hotel near the hospital and checked in.  Besides the road rash to his face Jim G. only had a few minor bruises.  Kathy was a different story.  When she didn’t respond the doctors ran a bunch of tests.  Her helmet had kept her from splitting her skull open, but she had sustained some head trauma which caused swelling of the brain.  The doctors said she should wake up once the swelling went down.  She had also sustained a back injury, but they couldn’t tell how bad it was until she woke up.

It was three days before Kathy woke up and then we learned the worse.  She had no feeling below the waist.  Jim G. told us we should go on, but none of us felt like going to Daytona now so we hung out in the hotel for the whole two weeks then we had to get back.  Jim G. own his own furnace and air-conditioning business, so he just called and told his employees to keep things going.

Things were kind of sober as we waited to hear from Jim G.  It was three months before him and Kathy came back.  After running a bunch of test the doctors had finally told him what I think we all knew, Kathy was paralyzed from the waist down.  Things began to fall apart for our little club after that.  Jim G. stopped showing up, having to spend more time taking care of Kathy.  The rest of us continued for a while to hang out, but we slowly drifted apart.

About a year after that me and Karen got divorced.  We had just grown apart and staying together for the kids wasn’t working.  I heard Frankie was out one weekend at some bar and got into a fight with a bunch of one percenters.  The bouncer had tossed them all out.  The police found him the next day.  From what little I could find out the one percenters had chained him to the back of a bike and dragged him to death.

Big Tony was on a run to some party down in Mexico when he wrapped his bike around a tree.  His wife confided in me that he had been doing speed balls for a while and was high when he wrecked.  Chuck stop riding selling his bike and bought a minivan.  Hank became a weekend biker with all the fashionable leathers and the stock bike.  Lester snapped and ended up going to prison for stabbing his wife.  When he got out he just disappeared.  I still see Carl around and we nod to each other, but we don’t talk.


© Copyright 2018 Ian D. Mooby. All rights reserved.

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