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Crash and Burn (Jeff Deeney)
(original, chuckle)

The  following  is  a  slightly  edited  version  of  a  post  I  made  to on April 1.  Names have been changed to shield the guilty.
With  the able  assistance  of  accomplices,  we had a  number  of  people
convinced that this adventure had taken place.  There goes my  credibility
for a few years.  :-}


Reports of my death have been  greatly  exaggerated.  Yes, I had a mishap,
but I've been  released  from the  hospital  and I'm now at home for a few
weeks.  Too bad I can't  say the  same  for my  motorcycle.  Writing  is a
little awkward with some of the bandages, so please excuse any errors.

I've got good news and bad news.  The good news is that I finally  got the
750 put back  together.  A friend  was over a  couple  of  nights  ago and
helped me wrestle the engine  back into the frame.  Another  late night in
the  garage had the pipes and  carburetors  back on.  The next  morning, I
hooked up the fuel and fired it up.  It took a few minutes  for the engine
to catch, but it eventually started firing.  First on one, two, three, and
finally all four cylinders.  The garage and driveway were filled with blue
smoke as the assembly lubrication burned off.

After about an hour of gentle  riding  around  town, I decided to take her
out in the  country for some high speed  break-in.  There's a nice  little
two-lane here that winds around  Horsetooth  Reservoir  above town.  After
warming up on several  miles of  twisties, I turned  South at  Masonville.
There are some good straight stretches here so I decided to open it up for
a long burst.

Not long after the 85mph speedometer  buried the needle, I begin to detect
that  something was not right.  Within a matter of seconds, a dull ticking
grew to a loud  clacking  and the entire  motorcycle  begin to shudder.  I
just  started to shut down the  throttle  when one of the rods snapped and
proceeded  to  ventilate  the  crankcases.  The  engine  suddenly  stopped
turning and locked the rear wheel;  which was now  thoroughly  coated with

The back end came around on me just before I regained enough  composure to
pull the clutch in.  Being halfway  sideways, the bars violently  wrenched
my shoulders and I was almost tossed off as the bike straightened out.  By
this time, I would  estimate  that I was still doing at least 80 miles per
hour.  Having focused on getting the bike back under control, I had failed
to notice the sharp corner  coming up.  When I tried the brakes, I quickly
learned  that the  engine  had  hurled  oil over all three  disks.  What I
wouldn't have given for good old drum brakes right about then!

When it  became  obvious  that  there  was no way I was  going to make the
corner with no brakes and oil covered tires, I stood the bike up and tried
to pick a path with the  minimum  number of  hazards.  I think  that I got
some air as I left the  roadway and  dropped  down the slight  bank into a
field.  I narrowly  missed a fence post and punched  through a barbed wire

If you've  ridden  along  the  county  road  South of  Masonville,  you've
probably  seen the large llama  ranch to the East.  Well, the field that I
had  rocketed  into  happened to be occupied  by a herd of very  surprised
llamas.  They  scattered as I approached,  but I still managed to clip the
hindquarters  of a large  brown  and  white  male,  sending  waves of pain
through my left hand and forearm.  Having cleared the shaggy  creatures, I
found  myself  headed  for a  ditch  with a berm  on the  side  that I was
approaching.  I had the choice of hitting  the ditch  square, or trying to
lay the bike down.  I realized  that with my current  rate of speed,  even
sliding, I would  still hit the ditch at high  speed, so I opted to square
up as best I could,  stand up on the pegs,  and  prepare  for the  impact.
It's  really  amazing  how fast the  brain  processes  information  in the
adrenalin induced time expansion.

The  suspension  bottomed with a loud  Ker-THUNK at both ends as I hit the
embankment.  I pulled  back  hard on the bars as I  crested  the  mound to
prevent  the back end from  kicking up into the air.  Ideally I would have
used a burst of throttle  at this point to maintain  the proper  attitude.
For a while, I thought  that I was going to clear the  entire  ditch,  but
when I landed, the frame  smacked  into the soft dirt lining the  opposite
lip of the ditch.  I could hear the pipes crumple and grind beneath me.

The impact  tore my hands from the bars and the chin of my helmet  smacked
into the tank, scattering stars across the inside of my faceshield.  I was
actually  quite  lucky  that my hands were not on the bars at this  point.
You see, as irrigation  ditches in Colorado often have, this one was lined
with large cottonwood trees.  Through some kind of divine intervention, my
trajectory took me squarely  between two of them.  This would have been OK
if the trees were six inches  further  apart.  Each end of the  handlebars
sent up a shower of coarse, dry bark as the steel  handlebars were twisted

I managed to wrestle control of the mangled handlebars just as I looked up
to see an  electric  fence  approaching.  By this  time, my speed had been
slowed considerably.  I was able to bring the back end around and slide to
a stop within  inches of the fence.  I sat there for a few moments to take
inventory of all major limbs.  I was astounded to discover that other than
some sore muscles, I was pretty much unscathed.

Then I noticed  the strong  smell of  gasoline.  I stepped of the bike and
put it on the  sidestand.  The source of the gasoline  was a deep gouge in
the  leading  edge of the  tank,  probably  from the  barbed  wire  fence.
Hearing an approaching  vehicle, I turned to see the llama rancher blazing
across the field on a  4-wheeler.  The last thing I remember  was starting
to walk  toward  him,  loosening  my  helmet,  and  trying  to think up an
appropriate opening line like, "I meant to do that!  He-He".

I'm told that the  fireball  created when the  sidestand  sunk in the soft
dirt and the bike tipped into the electric fence was quite spectacular.  I
was very fortunate that the rancher was able to douse my flaming  clothing
in short order.  Unfortunately,  the only thing he had to douse the flames
with was a couple gallons of insecticide.  Nevertheless,  the doctors tell
me that my chances of leading a normal life are pretty good.  The bandages
should be off in time for our dirt riding trip to Canyonlands, but I would
imagine I'll have to stay out of the sun as much as possible.

So here it is, the first of April,  spring is here in full  force, and I'm
stuck inside until some of these lesions  either explode or fall off.  Let
this be a lesson, don't scrimp on repairs, or you'll pay, painfully. :-/

-Jeff Deeney-   DoD#0498 

(From the "Rest" of RHF)

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