I started up this blog last week to start to document my rides, gear, and the destinations that make motorcycle touring so much fun. I knew I had a short anniversary trip with my wife of 22 years coming up and wanted to get this all in place to be able to share some memories. I’d just been putting it off for too long.
On June 21st we left our home and headed north to Rhinelander Wisconsin. It was a gorgeous day with the highs just above 80 degrees and partly cloudy skies. Perfect riding weather. We got on the road by 7AM to give us plenty of time to get up there and not be in a big hurry. Friday night Walleye fry was going to be the destination dinner and I wanted to get in with enough time to clean up before dinner.
We were on Interstate 39 most of they way up with a detour just south of Madison to get around what must have been a pretty heinous accident. I heard the officer directing traffic tell the car in front of us that it could take up to four hours to get traffic on the interstate moving again. No worries, we had plenty of time so I zigged and zagged some back roads to get us north of Madison. We stopped for some lunch around Stevens Point, then continued into the north woods.
Getting off of US 51 North onto US 8 east was uneventful and with about 18 miles to our destination we were in the home stretch, cruise control set at 57mph. 8 miles or so go to and from the corner of my eye I see a deer clearing the scrub in the right culvert, about 20-30 feet away. Sheri said she started to say deer to me, but didn’t even have time to get anything out of her mouth. I don’t think I even started breaking or swerving, it was all just too close and not enough time to react. BOOM. I remember the crunching sound of the front end of the bike on the deer, then the next thing I remember is sliding along the road, right shoulder and head sliding and me looking through my now closed visor at the pavement passing underneath. I must have flipped a couple times first from some of the marks on my gear. When I finally came to a stop I immediately popped up and got to Sheri who was sitting on the right stripe of the road quite dazed, holding up her hands which had some serious road rash. She kept wanting to take off her helmet, but I got her to lay still on my lap while some nice motorists held a blanket above her to shade her.
Oneida County sheriff and Rhinelander EMT’s were about 6-7 minutes in arriving and were super nice and helpful. Sheri got the full backboard treatment and I rode to the hospital in the front seat after getting a cursory once-over. About 6 hours in the ER getting scans, x-rays, and treatment for wounds and we were released. Sheri and I both have a broken finger, I have a separated shoulder (Thus the sling in the video), and sheri has abrasions to her hands, arms, and legs.
A Taxi to the hotel was next with only what we had on us, which wasn’t much. I had my tore up pants and shirt, but Sheri’s clothes had all been cut off. She had to use some donated WWF pajama pants and a paper shirt from the hospital until I could recover our luggage the next day.
Rick from Big Tow was a super nice guy and very helpful, putting the bike in a closed garage and giving me rides around town on Saturday to retrieve items from the bike and to get a rental car.
We are home now, sore, but thankful that we had the sense to have the right gear on. Helmets, armored jackets (and in my case ) gloves and armored pants. Please check out the video to see the full damage to the helmets.