Starting from near the University of Oregon on Memorial Day, I headed north up the Willamette valley following Adventure Cycling's (AC in future references) TransAmerica route. After traveling through Harrisburg, Corvallis (lunch at a Pizza Hut), and Monmouth (a big milkshake at a 50's style Diner), I headed north on the bike path alongside highway 99. Not a good idea. Next time I'll ride on the shoulder of the road.
About 3 miles north of Monmouth, I crashed. It was a stupid crash, caused by inattention and a bad bikepath design. That bikepath has a 6 to 12 inch vertical drop off at its edge and I drifted over too close to the edge while looking back at a rider who had just passed me going the other way. When I returned my attention to my bike's path, I was right on the edge. As I tried to get back from the edge, my bike dropped off of it. I hit on my left shoulder and experienced a brief flash of intense pain as my collarbone broke in two places. Bummer: 66 miles into my 4000 mile trip and I was disabled. So much for my fine way to start a tour!
A older couple came along on the bike path and helped me. She stayed with me while he rode on into Monmouth and called 911. I asked their name, but I forgot it in the flurry of activity that followed. Nice folks and I'd like to thank them for their help. An EMT vehicle from Independence OR showed up shortly followed a little later by an ambulance. The EMTs took my bicycle back to the fire station in Independence and the ambulance took me to the hospital in Dallas OR.
In Dallas I was X-Rayed and all that good stuff and told officially that I had a broken collarbone, that it would take 6 weeks or so to heal, and given a figure-8 brace to hold my shoulders back while it healed. I was not a happy camper. Then things started getting better. Unlike the treatment I would expect in most (?) hospitals, the folks in Dallas started looking for someone to take me home with them. They tried the Chaplain (he is a bicyclist) but they couldn't reach him, so the X-Ray technologist, Stan, offered to take me to a Memorial Day party. I met some more nice people at that party including Stans wife. Then he invited me to their home. Wow! I spent four nights with Stan, his wife Cindy (an RN), and their son Jeremiah. I was treated as if I was a member of the family. I was a stranger who needed looking after and they looked after me. I know no better statement of human kindness. A potentially bad situation became a rather wonderful (in both meanings of that word) experience.
Cindy, Jeremiah, and Stan
On the first day, Tuesday, Stan took me to Independence to get my bike. It was essentially undamaged. The next day Harold, the hospital Chaplain, took me to Dallas' bike store where I discussed my options with Dan. Like everyone I met in Dallas, Howard and Dan were nice and very helpful. On Thursday, I tried riding my bike. It wasn't fun, but I was able to ride to the bike store where I bought a new helmet and a mirror that mounted on it. Dan found an old, cheap, thumbshifter designed for a front derailleur that I could use to shift my rear derailleur. He gave it to me and apologized that he didn't have anything better that would fit my Cinneli bars. I rode 'home', switched the front and rear brake cables and mounted the thumbshifter under the right side of my handlebar. I regretted not having Dan do this work for me since it was hard, and quite painful, to work with my left hand. I knew I had to be able to ride, shift, and brake without using it other than for
Later that day I tested the new configuration and found that I could brake hard and shift the rear derailleur without overly stressing my left arm. I packed my bike and got ready to leave the next day, Friday.
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