Black Beauty renamed Deerslayer
Back to My Valkyrie
On June 15th 2001 I had a disagreement with two muley bucks. It seems they wanted to test their theory that we all could occupy the same place at the same time. Here's what happened:
6:15 yesterday evening (June 15), almost 2 hrs before sunset. Eastbound on Co Hwy 86 1.4 miles East of Franktown, headed home to resume work in the shop after
picking up some welding supplies on Black Beauty, my '98 black standard Valkyrie. Two lane state highway, weather CAVU, quite a bit of traffic poking along at 55. Road
clear ahead, drop it to 4th and pass three cars, no big hurry so doing about 70 when I pull back in and check the speedo. Looking back up there are two young mulie bucks
about 10 feet in front of me, travelling together side by side, crossing right to left. They are illuminated quite a bit by my four 55 watt halogens and 90 watt low beam.
Wide eyed, startled look in the eyes of the near buck.
Not even time to say "OH SHIT". This is gonna hurt. HANG ON.
The rest is in slow motion. Black Beauty T-bones both of the boys broadside with the headlight and windshield. The bike takes the entire impact at it's strongest
point. (Except I think Bambi's butt knocked my knee into the tank, based on the hair, tank dent & busted knee evidence.) Good for the bike and me, not so good for
Bambi and buddy. Black Beauty drops to the left, and I exit on the low side. No helmet, T-shirt & jeans. The bike is sliding sideways in front of me, and now flips. I
am sliding sideways through the oncoming lane, towards the shoulder, prone on the ground, holding my head off the pavement and doing a slow roll to try to spread the
damage out some while saving my head. I can feel the skin scrubbing off and it hurts like hell. I say out loud "SHIT THAT HURTS". When am I going to stop?
Finally I stop, maybe 10 feet short of Black Beauty. I look at the oncoming lane and see a row of cars all stopped on the shoulder. Back in my lane, same thing, now
they are getting out of their cars. My arms are bleeding pretty good, but other than that I am amazed I'm alive and seem to be able to move. I get up slowly, checking
my limbs, they are working. One guy comes running up: "Hey Buddy, you OK?" "No. This hurts like hell." "Holy shit man, never saw anything like that, I can't believe
you're in one piece. Deer and bike parts and you exploding in front of me, flying everywhere. Hate to say it, but if you hadn't hit them I woulda. You saved my butt."
There are pieces of chrome everywhere. Two mule bucks, one about 60 yards back on the oncoming lane shoulder, and the other 20 yards further east of me on the
opposite side. Both aren't moving. There's a velvet 3 point antler near me on the shoulder. Looks like I slid maybe 90 yards down the pavement. Apparently it's not
my day to die. Bambi & pal can't say that...
Someone has called 911. My cell phone is gone. I walk around slowly, gathering
my senses and watching for shock. It doesn't come. The ambulance arrives. They help me in & start their EMT care. I'm surprised I don't have more pain. My right leg isn't
working so well, though. Same for my left shoulder. Skin gone on my back at the beltline and shoulders and from both arms. All 10 fingerprints are gone. I musta
touched the pavement with my fingerless gloves. Should be worse.
The witnesses say they can't believe I'm walking away. It was an explosion of bike
& parts, deer flying everywhere, and me sliding down the road holding my head up. Well actually I'm limping away.
The state trooper says he's going to have it towed to an impound lot. I say no, you're not. "Then you will have to sign off on it when the truck gets here." "Fine, I'm
not dying here, no one gets my custom bike but me." The tow truck takes 45 minutes to show up. Meanwhile I can't raise my wife on the phone - having found my cell in
the ditch. After awhile she finally answers, man sure don't want the wrecker to pull in with my bike. I tell her where I am, and not to worry because I'm mostly OK, but she needs to show up.
The EMTs set my bike upright. I'm amazed it looks as intact as it does considering the speed it hit and killed two deer. There's hair and hide stuck to it, and blood
spattered on the engine, chrome and seat. The truck horn and two of the lights are ripped off, both fenders and the tank badly dented, windshield seatback and
leatherlykes ruined and several other smallish pieces ripped off. But for the most part, the crash bars saved the sides of the bike.
The ambulance takes me to Centennial medical center. They do some preliminary repairs than pack me up again to a trauma center as I'm worse than their ER can
handle. One aide pisses me off, rifling through my wallet with me right there and yelling at her to get out of it. Treats me like I'm not there and have no rights. I'd
like to have her reprimanded but I don't get her name. The next ambulance uses the sirens and the EMT pokes three holes in my arms and hands while enroute, comments
on my leathery skin. I comment on his dull needles, never had catheter pokes hurt that much.
Gotta tell ya, leather is a good idea. Having to shower and scrub raw nerves left
from missing skin will teach you a whole new definition of the word "pain". God that hurts.
So I think the bike is salvageable. Man I've been working on it for 4 years, I don't want to do all those mods again. As for me, the road rash is uncomfortable but not
permanent. But the torn rotator cuff and my blown out knee, both of those are probably going to need surgery. The fractured fibula is no biggie - the doc says it's an
"extra part", they even use it for bone grafts. And the tibia splints it, so it doesn't even need a cast. But I may have to use crutches for a while.
Meanwhile the doc says I should take it easy for a week, then I will be able to resume work. Actually I plan to resume Monday.
This might mess up InZane for me. Depends on getting parts, could be tough this time of year.
Epilog: Going over the value of the bike, it's mods and the damage to it. Comparing strictly damage to strictly blue book, it's totalled. However, State Farm has told me
they cover all attached mods, considering those Black Beauty's value is akin to a custom Harley. Meeting with them tomorrow 6/26. I'll report the results.
As for me, I busted my ACL ligament in my right knee, broke the right fibula a couple inches below the knee, tore my left rotator cuff, and picked up a number of bruises
and contusions, AKA "road rash" on my arms, back and legs. I had held my head off the pavement so no head injuries. Gotta tell ya, leather is a good idea, road rash
SMARTS. So are helmets - I coulda saved some skin if I hadn't sacrificed it to save my head. Getting MRI's on the knee and shoulder injuries, probably going to have
surgery on them - can't lift my left arm very well though it's improving now. Can get around on the knee OK with a brace. Get plenty of good parking now...
What I learned -
- In deer country - which is pretty much everywhere in Colorado - scan the ditches, shoulders and road expecting deer even in the daytime. Train yourself
to be on the lookout for large brown animals where they shouldn't be. Clear the road ahead of the cars you're going to pass.
- Muleys are DUMB. They will STAND on a high speed highway, like they WANT to be killed. Even dumber than bimbos in SUV's on cell phones. That's DUMB.
- Be especially vigilant and slow down when cover is close to the road.
- Set up spots to illuminate the ditches.
- At dusk and night, forget being in a hurry even if your bike lights up the road like a locomotive (mine does). You can't use those lights with oncoming cars,
and the glare on your glasses can hide a herd of deer.
- At dusk and night, let a cage run interference for you. You can also use his lights to watch the ditches.
- In a group, if the group is riding fast near deer cover, find another group or ride tail gunner.
- Wear leather as much as possible. Helmets are a good idea if you can stand them.
- If your bike goes down, GET OFF IT on the low side immediately.