Hi Folks.

I thought I would give you an update on Skipís and my accident last week. At this point, I am fine (sore from stiffening up prior to impact, and impact). Skip is still in the hospital in Billings, Montana, but on the mend.

The accident occurred when a motorcycle parked on the right side of the road (in the same direction as our travel), turned left in front of us, appearing to head to the parked motorcycle on the other side of the road. He later confirmed that was where he was going, and he had come back to see why his riding partner had pulled over.

He and I collided (his front wheel and my engine guard made the first contact. I was able to continue through the crash, and pulled over. Upon hearing Skip cry out over the intercom, I turned around and rolled back to the crash site, where he was on the ground. The rider of the bike I made contact with, had gotten out of the way, but his bike was blocking the lane in front of Skip. Skip ran into this bike, and was thrown over the handlebars, impacting the road, causing damage to his pelvic girdle and his arm. His bike was totalled. Mine is being looked at by an adjuster this week (I brought it home on the trailer from Montana).

Skip has gained a few more plates and screws, and is done with all medical procedures. He is currently working with the rehab folks to get him ready to fly home (potentially 7-10 days). Skip is in good spirits, talking about what a great trip we had up to this point, and what bike to get next.

We are both with USAA insurance, and have been in contact with our reps, who seem to be doing a great job of communicating with us.

Blue Cross, Blue Shield is working to get Skip the best care, while keeping him comfortable. I stayed with Skip until Wednesday, and then headed home. One of his sisters is with Skip now.

We expect that Skip will live with us while he rehabs, until he is able to move back to his apartment. Our house is set up for invalid use, with rails, and modifications due to Susanís rehab several years ago.

Lessons learned
Wear good gear. Skipís helmet is a mess. He had no neck or head injuries. His spine is intact. His limbs have injuries due to impact, but none of them major. The Motoport mesh kevlar pants, First Gear Jacket, boots, gloves, and Scorpion full face helmet all protected him.

Trust no one on the road. We had passed dozens of motorcycles on the sides of the roads. They were waiting for one another, waiting for traffic to pass, taking pictures, or just looking at the scenery. This guy decided to cross the road without looking. He claims to have signalled, but neither of us saw tail lights, or signals.
Drive farther apart. While Skip was not close behind me, he was unable to come to a stop, even with ABS when the lane became blocked with a fallen motorcycle. Not sure how far back he would have had to have been to miss it, but that might have helped. Of course, two lane roads have a speed limit of 70MPH in most of Montana.

Keep a list of meds/medical conditions on you, or in your tank bag. We could not find Skipís, and it turned out to be locked in a saddle bag.

Be sure to have good insurance, both medical and physical (auto/MC). USAA has been in communication with us almost every day, handling Skipís totalled bike claim by Thursday. BCBS has been working to get Skip the best care, allowing him to worry about getting better.

HAVE SOMEONE WITH YOU when you travel. Skip was not really able to speak for himself once he had gotten to the ambulance. They loaded him up with meds, and he was out of it. I was able to help with some of the administrative tasks while they were taking care of Skip. At the accident site, the paramedics where going to try and remove Skipís helmet, being pretty sure he did not have any head/neck/upper spine injury. I vetoed this, and had them strap his head, in the helmet to the backboard. I was also able to talk with the surgeon and nursing staff to ascertain what Skip needed.

SUBSET of Have someone with you. Have a note with you that allows your riding partner to talk with the medical staff for you. Skip was awake and was able to tell them that I was allowed to be totally involved. This saved me from having to take over the hospital ;-).

Pick up medical coverage that will cover the costs of getting you and your bike home. I have MEDJET, and if our roles were reversed, I would be at our home hospitals, and Mary Free Bed rehab by now. This coverage is not much, and adds to our piece of mind.

USE a tracking system. When the bikes where on the tow truck, the investigation completed, and the officer drove me to the hospital, Susan was able to see that we were headed to the incorrect branch of the hospital. She got us headed in the correct direction. While we had good phone coverage, we could have sent an alert/emergency signal to get help if our phones did not work.

USE the forums and boards to get help as needed. An MOA member gave me a 4 hour ride from Billings to Great Falls to pick up our truck and trailer. Another member offered a place to store bike(s), trailer, or truck as needed. Both Skip and I recieved messages of support, offers of help, and basically folks willing to do whatever we needed to help us get through this.

There are more, however, these are the highlights.
Thanks for all of your thoughts, help, and concern. We both look forward to seeing you on the road. The roads around Great Falls, are wonderful, and the scenery phenomenal.

Rob