I extended the invite to my dad, and he was able to come with me on his V-Strom 650.
A created a route down that would avoid freeways and take us about 4 hours, and we met at Starbucks (for ADV points) Friday morning. The ride down was enjoyable, and we arrived early afternoon.
I added a couple recommended routes to my GPS in the week prior, and we left for one that included both twisty pavement and some dirt/gravel roads. The riding was perfect, with smooth pavement (often down to only one lane) twisting through hills and the tiniest of towns. Eventually it gave way to a one lane gravel road that stretch over a couple ridges. It was dry and very manageable, and provided some great views and good times. Eventually we came across an epic area of waterfalls.
We brought our newly acquired (and a little laughable) camping chairs to the campfire, and sat down for some enjoyment. The drink of the night was Jack Honey... tasty, but not strong enough to overpower our beefy dinner.
We landed in bed around 12:30 or 1am, to the calm of a blaring street light directly over our heads (that we managed not to notice while setting up camp), the deafening roar of numerous trains going by about 100 yards away, and our camping neighbor who kept turning on his truck to run the AC. Ahhhh nature.
Eventually, after an hour or two of nice solid sleep, it was morning and time for some breakfast! More importantly, 9am brought the start of a group ride. We had a couple options, a purely pavement ride (not exactly what we were there for), and an intermediate/advanced adventure ride, with several dirt/gravel sections. Perfect (I thought), with my dad following skeptically. The ride had a big mix of bikes, and turned out to be on a big mix of roads. Several sections were the same as what we rode the afternoon prior. Eventually the 'advanced' dirt sections showed up, with very loose rocky paths going up and down hills.
He pulled his boot, and we decided that things didn't look right at all. Damn. Back to camp... where a dip-spitting ex-EMS cop looked at it and heavily urged him to go to a Hospital. By this point it was turning funny colors, and was quite swollen. Damn.
We decided to pack up camp and hit the road north. Again, the manly thing.... smash the broken 'foot' back into the boot and lets motorcycle 4 hours home. I would have done the same thing.
The cop made mention that 'in about 2 hours you'll be in a world of hurt', well, it took us an hour to pack up camp, and about an hour into the ride north he was done. The shock had worn off, and it brought on the pain. Luckily we made it much nearer to a main city, and found ourselves at Boone Memorial Hospital. It was new, nice, and filled with great staff. Awesome.
After some X-rays, we learned that the big toe was dislocated and possibly fractured, and the ankle was broken. They were planning on fixing the dislocation on site, but would then boot him and send him home to see a specialist.
This, of course, created the situation of how he and his motorcycle were going to get home. With several option in mind, we landed on 'have friends at home put his trailer on his car, and someone drive it south to get him', this left me free to head home on my own.
But before that! They let me stay and watch the doctor reset his dislocated big toe! There's much more to that story, but we'll have to talk in person if you want to hear that gem.
So I head home. To say I wasn't entirely comfortable with this plan was an understatement. I do think it was our best option, but that doesn't mean I loved it. At something like midnight, our 70 year old friend will arrive to my drugged up and broken dad, where they will need to load a motorcycle on a trailer, and then stay awake for the 3 hour drive home. That sounded awful. As it turned out... it was totally doable, and they would've been fine... but there was huge potential for problems along the way.
I called Tom, who was on his way south with the trailer, and we arranged a meeting point in the middle. I headed north, and with a stroke of luck, we both pulled into our hopeful halfway point rest area at nearly the exact same time. I threw my bike on the (2 bike) trailer, and jumped in pointed south once more. Some roadside repairs fixed the trailer that broke along the way (when it rains, it pours!) and we arrived around 11:30.
Dad was up and talking motorcycles with the security guard, shockingly awake and alert. We loaded the bike up, re-fixed the broken trailer, and eventually made it on the road north once more! Lucky for me, this was a nice and easy drive! I pulled some Navy-Seal type tactic, and by this point had pushed through the tired feelings, and was now wide awake once more, so I opted to drive the rig home. We all talked and had a relatively enjoyable through the night. I'm glad I opted to drive with them.
As a final Whoo-Rahh, while pulling onto my dads street at 3:30 in the morning, we got pulled over by a couple cops. They came up saying that one of the bikes is coming up stolen. Un... Believable. Apparently bikes raise red flags frequently, even if only a few license plate or VIN numbers match the stolen description. They ran our licenses and new the bikes were legit, and apologized. Just icing on the cake.
Wide away, I went ahead and rode home. Landed in bed around 4am, worried I wouldn't be able to sleep.... I passed out before my head hit the pillow.
And that's the story of the day and a half trip that started my 2017 adventure riding season. Wish us luck!