This blog post is a continuation from HERE.
The next day we decided to avoid the large group ride, instead to venture on our own ride. We planned to do an approximately 300 mile loop to Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.
Though one of the smallest of southern Utah’s national parks, it’s visually stunning, particularly at sunrise and sunset when an orange wash sets the rock formations ablaze. There are steep trails that descend from the rim into the 1000ft amphitheaters of pastel color daggers, then continue through a maze of juniper trees in the high-mountain desert.
The high altitude meant cooler temperatures (80°F) than in St. George. And if we were looking for solitude on the road we wouldn’t find it out here. The crowds and RV’s had arrived in force clogging the park’s main road as we watched ill prepared visitors explore the trails.
The Native Americans once called this colorful landscape of jumbled rocks and sedimentary canyons the Land of the Sleeping Rainbow and it was easy to see why when you snapped a photo.
We made a number of stops in the park and walked around for photo op’s and then made our way back to the entrance.
Prior to leaving the park we had a late lunch in the Cowboy’s Buffet and Steak Room. Yeah, they had National Park prices, but it was quite tasty food.
Afterward we headed back through the park to St. George and the oppressive heat.
The St. George’s forecast was Howard Beale-esque. “We’re hot as hell, and we didn’t want to take it anymore!” Apologies to actor Peter Finch’s rant as the “mad as hell” broadcaster from the 1976 film “Network,” but Utah was in a sizzling grip of triple-digit temperatures and we were getting sick of it!
It was the first time I could recall where I’ve been on a motorcycle ride and unable to sit outside during the evening. At 11pm at night it was in the high 90’s. We didn’t need to watch the news to understand there was a heat advisory.
We sat in the A/C room looking over maps and determining what direction or ride to take on the next day.
We had a member of the posse that attempted an “Iron Butt” ride. He departed a couple days later than the main group on Tuesday, July 30th and was scheduled to arrive that evening from Portland, OR to St. George UT (approx. 1034 miles) in less than 24 hours ride. He arrived around 9:30pm with all the documents and gas receipts in hand as well as a navigation unit with the stats to validate his ride. Congrats and BIG props for that accomplishment!
One of our riders (MC) had to split from the group and return home early for a friend’s wedding. He planned to leave early the next morning and the remainder of our group had decided to ride out early to Las Vegas, stay overnight and then loop back north on Highway 95 and take a couple extra days for our return ride.
It’s very difficult to write/post the following…
We awoke early Wednesday (July 31st) morning to get a jump on the heat of the day. We were just getting out of the showers and packing up the gear about 7:30am when the cell phone rang…
It was the sheriff and he stated that “MC” was hit by a car in the Bluff Street-Red Hills Parkway intersection. This was about 3 miles from the hotel. The person who got the call rushed up to the intersection. The rest of us got there about 10-15 minutes later. We arrived to see the paramedics working on him and prepping him for Life Flight. Once the helicopter took off we helped clear debris and gather up some personal belongings.
We talked to St. George Police Sgt. Craig Harding about the accident. He stated that “MC” was traveling northbound on Bluff Street through the Red Cliffs Parkway intersection. This is the last red light leaving town! There is some disagreement by multiple eye witnesses whether “MC” was on a solid green or just changed to yellow light. While traveling through the intersection, “MC” was initially cut off by a southbound car making a left turn toward Red Hills Parkway. Some witnesses reported that “MC” yelled at the first car before being hit in the side by a second car who had clearly run the light and was also making a left turn. None of it mattered as the driver of the second car was cited for failure to yield to oncoming traffic.
The impact left “MC” with significant injuries to his left leg (multiple compound fractures). He was in surgery for nearly 4 hours. He has a broken collar bone, severely smashed ankle/foot, head trauma (3” gash around the left eye) and other miscellaneous cuts, scrapes and bruises to his arms and hands. He was coherent at the accident scene and the reason why we got the phone call so fast.
It’s one thing to read and blog about motorcycle accidents, but quite different being there in person and knowing the rider. The 4 mile ride to the hospital was very difficult.
In the trauma center doctors told us they were extremely concerned with the potential loss of his foot. In fact, they prepped “MC” while in his pain medicated state about how he could lose the foot. We all thanked God that he was alive and not paralyzed. Dr. Clark told us following the accident in the trauma center…“The boot might have saved the foot… but, the helmet saved his life!”
We stayed at the trauma center for a couple of days until significant others arrived in St. George. We then started our return ride home be it with some riding anxiety and shaken confidence.
The EMT’s, Life Flight personnel, the trauma doctors, and nursing staff all deserve a HUGE debt of gratitude. Also a shout-out to Dr. Clark! Yeah I know that a shout-out from this blogger is not nearly enough, but it’s a small start and I’m sure when “MC” is feeling better he’ll show them this post. I also want to send a big shout-out to Mike aka “Shark Daddy.” He rushed to the scene prior to the Life Flight arrival and helped in an immeasurable way by talking and holding onto “MC” as he was being worked on by the EMTs.
Lastly, I want to extend a special thank you and evangelize my appreciation and gratitude to the Shark Week organizers and attendees. During the closing awards dinner the group passed a hat around and collected over a $1000 cash and presented it to “MC” in the hospital to help out with medical expenses.
Ron “Stray Mutt,” you and the group are absolutely awesome and I can’t begin to remember or list all the names of our new “best friends!” Just know that we’re telling everyone about the groups generosity and kindness.
Final comment is to “MC”… get well buddy so that we can all ride another day!
Part 1 of this blog post is HERE.
UPDATE: August 13, 2013 – It’s been almost 2-weeks since MC’s accident. All the prayers and outreach have helped because the news and trend on his recovery and foot/leg is positive each day. Thank you! He was recently transferred to an Acute Rehabilitation Unit where he is undergoing intensive physical therapy. MC is in good spirits along with getting terrific support from his sig other (Sherry). Both have an attitude to push forward and through the healing/rehab process and I’m sure we’ll continue to hear good news. Yesterday he spent a couple hours in a hyperbaric chamber with enriched oxygen to increase blood flow and to help heal his foot.
Unfortunately he is facing mounting medical expenses. The driver of the automobile (using his girlfriend’s car) had minimal insurance coverage and MC is unemployed and under insured. We’re looking into fund raisers to help, and appreciate everyone’s continued positive thoughts and prayers as we work on a plan to get him transported back to Oregon.
UPDATE: August 21, 2013 – MC was scheduled to be release from Acute Rehab today, but unfortunately he suffered a major heart attack while lying in bed this morning. MC was rushed to the Dixie Regional Medical Center ER for emergency surgery. He will be back in the ICU within a couple hours. Reports are that the angioplasty and stent placement surgery is going well. Sadly, this is exactly where MC started out twenty-one days ago almost to the exact hour. The trauma doctors at Dixie are awesome and he’s in a good place if this was going to happen.
UPDATE: September 18, 2013 – Many are already aware of this, but in case you just landed on this blog post and didn’t know, you can now get updates or follow MC’s recovery progress HERE on Facebook or on his blog HERE.
Photos by author.