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Ware the rumble strips...


K2R1150RS

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So, I've been mostly lurking on this board for most of a year. I've learned a significant amount about working on my RS, and enjoyed the trip reports.

At the end of April, Jaynie and I decided to take a trip of our own. Jayne's niece lives down in Henderson, NV and was getting married at the beginning of May. We decided we would ride down to the wedding as our anniversary trip. I had put 10000 miles on the RS over the winter, and made a couple of longish trips by myself, but this was to be our first long trip 2 up.

We left on Saturday April 28 and traveled across White Pass, through Yakima and down US 97 to the Columbia River. From there, we went southeast to Condon, OR and then east to US 395. The ride from the Columbia through Condon and east to 395 was an amazing collection of twisties that we really enjoyed. From there we followed 395 down through the Wallowa Mountains, through John Day and into California. We stayed on 395 until Susanville and then cut up into the Sierras until we got to Tahoe. Up over Monitor Pass (8000+ feet) and back to 395 until we got to Big Pine. From there, the back roads across the north end of Death Valley to US 95 and south on 95 to Beatty, where we spent the night on May 1. I'm glad we didn't wreck on that stretch across Death Valley- we didn't see a car for up to an hour, and there was no cell coverage.

The trip had been outstanding to that point, really a wonderful ride. Sometimes we would stop to take pictures, sometimes Jayne would just balance the camera on top of my helmet and shoot the scenery ahead. Lots of small restaurants with good eats. Great scenery, wildlife, the whole package.

Our plan was to get into Vegas about noon, dump our luggage at the bell desk and hit the pool at the Flamingo until we could check in. So on the fateful morning of May 2, with the temperature at 80 and climbing, we put our swimsuits on under our riding gear and took off down US 95. Just about 30 miles north of Las Vegas, we suddenly felt as though we had hit something slick on the road. We were doing about 75, and In less than two seconds, the rear end of the bike was oscillating so wildly that the fuel tank was hitting the handlebars on both sides. Although I didn't know it at that moment (I was busy), the resr tire had blownout. I knew enough not to hit the brakes; if I had we would have flown right then. I got it slowed to about 30, and I had a bit of control, so I tried to get it off on the shoulder. Something in my brain was saying, "there's something slick on the road, get out of the lane!" But all I could hear was Jayne screaming at me in the intercom to SLOW DOWN.

I thought I might be able to keep the bike up, but then we hit the rumble strips Nevada DOT had thoughtfully installed to wake up drivers on those long straight stretches. I've never looked at those before, but down there they are about two feet wide and an inch and a half deep. When the deflated rear tire hit the rumble strip, the rear end of the bike kicked out to the right and we went flying.

I don't remember the impact. The first thing I recall was being on my hands and knees, shaking my head to clear the cobwebs. Pretty good field clearing of a C-spine, eh? I pulled off my helmet (that had been pretty well trashed by the impact) and looked around to find Jayne. She was lying on the shoulder about 20-25 feet further down the shoulder. I asked her if she was OK, and she kind of moaned a loud NO!. I got up and went back to the bike to turn it off since it was still running and spewing gravel all over the place. I went back to check on Jayne and was able to quickly tell that she was going to survive. She said, "You know that bike trip to Colorado in September? I don't want to go now." Another trip back to the bike and I had my cellphone. It's weird to call 911 for your wife ( I wasn't calling for me at that point, even though I couldn't make my left arm do what I wanted).

I remember the dispatcher asking "Police, fire or medical?" and I answered, "Probably all three." She asked what the problem was and I told her we had crashed our motorcycle somewhere on US 95 about 30 miles north of Vegas. I didn't know exactly where we were, but I had seen an Air Force base just as I lost control, so I told her that. About that time, somebody stopped and told us we were at Indian Springs.

Nevada State Police showed up in about 5 minutes, and the Indian Springs Volunteer Fire Department (all two of them) about 15 minutes later. I had to help get Jayne on the backboard since the two volunteers were trying to do it all by themselves. I took her head since I couldn't lift. The fire chief told me that they had called Mercy Air to fly Jayne to University Medical Center, and I was very happy. I figured the flight nurses would know what to do (and indeed they did a splendid job).

About this time, I called my field supervisor at work to call in a favor. I work as a paramedic and sometimes supervisor and our medical director knows lots of people. I had Tony call him to see if he knew anyone at the trauma center in Las Vegas. I'm not quite sure why I did that, I just knew I was in a foreign land and wanted to grease the skids, if you know what I mean. Tony was great, asking how he could help and getting that ball rolling. clap.gif

The fire chief wanted to put me on a backboard, but I decided I'd rather wait until the ambulance got there from Las Vegas. Mercy Air showed up about then and took Jayne. Shortly thereafter, my ride arrived. I have to say I did not especially enjoy bouncing down the road on a backboard for 35 miles. The crew was very good to me and seemed to know what they were doing. They even offered me morphine. I probably should have taken them up on it.

When I hit the ramp of the trauma center at UMC, the back doors of the ambulance opened and this voice said, "HI! I'm the doctor in charge of the trauma center. The people in Seattle are worried about you. We're going to take good care of you." Exactly what I wanted to hear.

Percocet is a wonderful drug. They made the next six hours in the trauma center bearable. Everyone seemed very competent and helpful. I got CT'd from the base of my skull to the crease of my butt. They got a chuckle out of my swimsuit under my riding gear. My only significant injury was a dislocated left clavicle (it still is). When I found out nothing was broken, I said, "I must be a wuss, then, cause it feels like I've been worked over with a baseball bat. Let me up." Thank God for good gear and a large helping of luck. ATGATT.

Jayne had 3 broken ribs, a small pneumothorax, a pulmonary contusion and a comminuted clavicle, all on the left. She ended up spending 4 days in the hospital, and two more in a hospital bed at the Flamingo. She missed the wedding and only got a couple of hours by the pool. I owe her a vacation. Her camera was stolen in the trauma center, so no pictures of the trip (and there were some good ones!)

People were awesome. Everyone at work were amazing. More than one was ready to fly down to help. Two of my WSP buddies brought down a quarter of a million dollar motorhome to bring Jayne back, since she couldn't fly.

I'm back to work after 6 weeks off, and Jayne's retired, which is good for her. I had the tire looked at by WSP's tire investigator and he said that I had picked up a nail. This combined with running a bit underpressure for the load ( I was at 36 lbs for both of us and a fair amount of luggage)and a fairly high road temp causing the nail to heat up enough to make a fairly big hole when it popped out. The tire deflated in less than 2 seconds, breaking the bead and wiping off the valve stem from the inside. The tire had about 2500 miles on it.

I think I would have been fine if I had just kept it in the lane rather than going for the shoulder. But my repitilian brain said there was something slick in the road and I needed to get out of the lane. Instead we "got off". dopeslap.gif

I'm using the "opportunity" to change my R1150RS into an RSL, since a lot of the tupperware was busted. The fairing pieces should be back from the paint shop this week, then all I have to do is figure out how the new fairings fit on confused.gif

Bottom line: flat tires and rumble strips don't play well. I don't ever want to do that again.

Keith

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Ouch!. Sorry about your mishap. Hope you and wifey heal fast. thumbsup.gif

 

I've had 2 rear tire flats before with a fully loaded bike and pillion rider and none have been as dramatic. One was at 80mph, the other at 40mph.

 

You do mention the feeling of hitting something slick on the road. I think you failed to recognise the signs of a flat and proceeded to ride at high speed until it became a tank slapper which woke you up real fast. Being low on air pressure probably worsened the situation.

 

The reason I say this is because I have ridden 5 miles on a totally flat tire at 5-10mph without incident. The tire didn't even come off it's bead.

 

Let us know the time from when you "hit something slick" to the crash.

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Heck of a story.

Very glad both you and the wife were not more seriously injured and that you were in an area where timely response was possible!

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Keith, glad to read you and your wife are doing well after your accident. I guess that's one vacation you will never forget. Hope you get back on your bike soon.

 

Bob

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Helluva story. I guess the moral is always make sure you've got the right pressure for the load, and avoid rumble strips if you lose a tire. Glad you lived to tell the tale.

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You do mention the feeling of hitting something slick on the road. I think you failed to recognise the signs of a flat and proceeded to ride at high speed until it became a tank slapper which woke you up real fast. Being low on air pressure probably worsened the situation.

 

The reason I say this is because I have ridden 5 miles on a totally flat tire at 5-10mph without incident. The tire didn't even come off it's bead.

 

Let us know the time from when you "hit something slick" to the crash.

 

About 5 seconds. It went from "what's that? to Oh, shit" in a big hurry. The tire specialist guy speculated that the crosswind and passing trucks had masked any earlier signs of tire problems.

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Thanks for the story...glad it worked out ok in the end. I take it your helmet & other gear saved your life/lives?

I would suspect that luck and good equipment played equal parts in preventing more serious injury. The helmets looked thrashed, although the shells were grossly intact. My Olympia jacket blew a shoulder seam and actually has been repaired in anticipation of more riding. We didn't hit any vehicle, tree, sign, catcus or guardrail. Or any of the giant jackrabbits we'd seen. grin.gif

Thanks to all for the good wishes. It could have been much, much worse. In the hour we had been on the road, we had passed several of the double semi-trailers at significantly more than 75. I shudder to think of what would have happened during a pass.

On the subject of gear, Jayne came from a old style Harley philosophy. When I first let her pick out gear, she chose a half helmet and chaps and a leather coat. I winced and told her, "it's your choice and your body." Which is exactly what I needed to tell her - she has a whim of steel. When we planned the trip, she had ridden several times with me and she said, "Let's go get some better gear. This will be a longer ride." And we did. The full meal deal. It did it's job and is in the landfill in Nevada. thumbsup.gif

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Hey Keith.....

 

don't ever wanna hear anymore stories like that one.....made me ache all over. So glad you both are ok!

 

Pat

I'm glad we're OK too. It took me until now to decide to post anything. Been through the woulda, coulda, shouldas. In the future, however, I will pay closer attention to tire pressures and subtle "feelings". And continue to wear good gear.

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Ya know I was just riding a new local bypass and saw those rumble strips. I was wondering just what would happen if I drifted(blown) into one. I will avoid them at all cost now especially with a flat.

 

Glad to hear you both are recovering. It's great to be in ems when you go to an ER. For some reason the local hospital actually had in their patient information system that I was on a local RS. AS a result I got some quick treatment when I ended up there as a patient, once I got through triage tongue.gif

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That's quite a tale; very glad you both are all right. ATGATT ain't a bad refrain to have rumbling aroud inside my head.

 

Truth be told, I have never given a second thought to those "rumble" strips, and in fact, have never pulled off the shoulder where there was one. Sounds like they could be a challenge, even with air in both tires!

 

Thanks for the post; sure as heck raised my awareness level about yet one more potential hazard.

 

BTW, we lived in Olympia, Wa. for 10 years; some great riding up in your neck of the woods! thumbsup.gif

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Keith, Glad you and your bride are okay. Reading your story reminds me that the road has no mercy. As bad a time as it was it sounds like the emergency and hospital folks were awsome. They (and you) have a way making a bad thing a little better. clap.gif

 

After hearing Keiths story I gotta push it. Perhaps this story would have been a non story if Keith had UltraSeal or equivelent product in his tires? thumbsup.gif

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I have heard different things about tire sealents. The consensus seems to be that Slime is bad. In doing a bit of surfing, I was impressed by the testimonials in various forums regarding Ride-On. Anyone here have experience with Ride-On or Ultraseal?

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Truth be told, I have never given a second thought to those "rumble" strips, and in fact, have never pulled off the shoulder where there was one. Sounds like they could be a challenge, even with air in both tires!

 

Thanks for the post; sure as heck raised my awareness level about yet one more potential hazard.

same here. Thank you for posting.

Glad you and your wife are OK. Hope she heals fast and this doesn't spoil it for her.

n

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I have heard different things about tire sealents. The consensus seems to be that Slime is bad. In doing a bit of surfing, I was impressed by the testimonials in various forums regarding Ride-On. Anyone here have experience with Ride-On or Ultraseal?

 

I've used Ride-On, but never _needed_ it (i.e., never had it seal a leak, to my knowledge). No ill effects, at any rate. One of the mags (I think it was Clem Salvadori in Rider) tested it by drilling a bunch of holes in a tire and going riding. Hardly lost any air at all.

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P.S. I just got an email from Ride-On offering a discount, as follows:

 

Enter Promo Code "Labor Day" for 15% Discount

 

You can buy it at the Ride-On Store.

 

I have no connection to Ride-On (Inovex Industries) other than as a satisfied customer.

 

Sorry for the hijack.

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I just experienced a tire repair failure out of Pocatello. Felt like the weave of riding in truck tire grooves. I was going about 75 and my riding partner came along side and pointed to the tire. I was lucky, no passenger. The tire looked like it was trying to loose the bead. but held up, Bridgstone 021 with 2100 miles.

Glad youse guys are healing. Those nails just have no respect for us at all! dopeslap.gif

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That's quite a tale; very glad you both are all right. ATGATT ain't a bad refrain to have rumbling aroud inside my head.

 

Truth be told, I have never given a second thought to those "rumble" strips, and in fact, have never pulled off the shoulder where there was one. Sounds like they could be a challenge, even with air in both tires!

One other thing that I noticed is that rumble strips come in different flavors. Most of the ones up here in Washington State are fairly shallow. Some are sharp edged, some have rounded edges. When we went back to the crash scene to find some missing stuff, I looked at what we had hit. No exaggeration - those "grooves" were 1 1/2" deep and over a foot long, and were cut perpendicular to the road surface. Pretty aggressive.

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