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Life Doesn’t Always Go the Way We Plan…

Life Doesn’t Always Go the Way We Plan…The wind is flying past my head.  The music on the radio is excellent. Speed is about 74 miles per hour and the sun is shining, not a cloud in the sky.  I'm tapping one hand on my knee as the motorcycle is performing beautifully.  There is hardly a car in front of me or behind me.  Lo and behold, the front end of the bike begins to weave back and forth.  The weaving gets worse until it's uncontrollable.  I'm pressing the brake slowly as I began to drift toward the right shoulder of the four-lane highway I'm riding on.  Now I'm out of control as I hit the strips on the right side of the road designed to keep drivers from falling asleep.  All I can see is grass and a ditch. Before I know it I'm thrown from the bike into the grass and I watch the bike as it bounces twice and lands on its wheels.  I'm reminded of all of the thoughts I had previously about not wearing the appropriate protective gear as I stand up.  I am taking inventory of my own body.  The only thing that hurts are my elbows, understandably, based on the skin that's missing.  I pull my handkerchief from my back pocket and wipe off my arms, which are now covered with dust and dirt.  Although it weighs Nine- hundred pounds, the 1999 Honda Gold Wing rises without too much effort.  I call the Road Service people for a tow truck and then I call the man I had bought the bike from, three days ago and ask him if he knows of any potential source for a bike of this size to go out of control.  He can think of nothing.  I suspected a flat tire and he informs me that the front tire is a sidewall, which is rigid and difficult to detect as flat, just from appearance.  Only checking it with a tire gauge will make a difference.  His call was the second call, the first being to American Automobile Association for help.  They informed me it may be an hour or longer wait, and the ninety two degree heat is beginning to take a toll on me.  With time on my hands I take a look forward and in front of me, surveillance reveals a guardrail and an exit ramp for exit 20 on Highway 321 ahead. I'd been informed on the phone this is the exit for Lincolnton, North Carolina.All this time, though I'm not happy with my circumstances, I am painfully aware of how fortunate I have been, to be alive.  Two hours later with the motorcycle on a wrecker, on our way to a motorcycle shop, I am aware that the back tire had gone flat, and that was the cause of my accident.  Still hopeful that I can make my men's group in Gainesville, Georgia, we proceed to the first failed effort at a new tire.  The shop has none, and encourages me to look elsewhere.  A tire is located in the town of Hickory, but the tire is too narrow.  The bike is left to be repaired with a new tire on order and I proceed to a shuttle service, having given up on my potential weekend with my Chiron brotherhood.  As the day wears on, my right leg begins to show signs of minor injury.  The ankle to knee and even a small portion of my hip are sore.  However, I still consider myself terribly lucky, though I don't believe in luck and more accurately put, I was definitely protected.  Fifty yards further, and I would have run into a metal guardrail, the site of which, is not a pleasant image in my head.  Clearly, my guardian angels have once again protected me from disaster.  Investing in protective gear is definitely a needed purchase.  I imagine some would recommend discontinuing my hobby of motorcycling and though that thought occurs to me, I have never lived my life in fear and I'm too old to start now.  I don't deny for a moment that it was a terrifying experience.  As I look back on it I realize two things.  I have always wondered what it would be like to have a flat tire while riding a motorcycle. Now I know. The second realization is I can let my fear get the best of me, or I can hone my skills, become a better rider, secure appropriate protective gear and carry on.  Clearly, I shall opt for the second alternative, continue to ride, and enjoy life as long as I can, with an attitude of gratitude that I'm breathing regularly, and writing this article.And the rest of the story.  Approximately one week later, the repair shop informs me that a sheet metal screw had gone through the rear tire and proceeded through the wiring harness.  Oddly enough, no damage was done to any of the wiring.  A new tire and one repair bill later, I will be back on the road enjoying the wind in my face and the scenery at 70 miles an hour.  The phrase "Don't sweat the small stuff "comes to mind and it's all small stuff.  As one of my friends says frequently, "life rages on."  Footnote: Having just picked up the motorcycle from the repair shop, as I rode home, fear was my companion and my experience.   About twenty miles up the road, I finally shook the feeling that I was a target for other drivers while riding the motorcycle. When the fear subsided and I was once again enjoying the ride, I became much more comfortable. The moral of the story for me: I had to get back on the horse and get on down the road…