bike crash

The Worst Camping Trip – Part 2

I left off in my story about the worst camping trip ever…how someone shot at us. Or so we thought. It’s a funny story after the fact. It was scary when it was happening, and then when we realized what really happened it was quite embarrassing.

We were camping in Eastern Oregon for the weekend near John Day, Oregon. It was a cool place to see. The Painted Hills were amazing to see in person. The colors were vibrant and none of the photos do it justice.

We were camping at a very remote (and nearly empty) campground near the Painted Hills. On our second day there we had the “shooting” drama. It was a Saturday in June, 2009.

Since our bike ride had come to startling end, we headed back to our campground and ate dinner. I don’t remember what we grilled up. But we were done eating, hanging out at the campfire when we decided to go for a bike ride since the earlier attempted was thwarted.

It was probably around 6 or 7pm by the time we decided to attempt a bike ride. It was still really light out. My mountain bike tires were the ones that exploded on me (I didn’t have a road bike yet). Michael had his road bike and he brought his old hybrid bike too so that’s what I used.

We headed out from our campsite. It was a quiet camp ground and the surrounding areas were quiet too. We biked down the lonely highway a few miles and then turned off onto a paved logging road.

There was no traffic to be seen, just the two of us on bikes. Then it happened. Michael was a little ways ahead of me on the road when I saw him fall. I don’t remember what happened exactly, but he went down hard. I shouted his name and started pumping the pedals as hard as I could to catch up to him.

He got up from the ground, shaky, and blood was dripping down one of his arms. His elbow was scratched and his right palm was bleeding from a road rash. His left elbow was hurt. I asked if he was okay and he said he thought he was okay–but that he couldn’t bike back to the campground with his bloody hand.

I left and biked back to the campground to get the car (with the bike rack). It was uphill to get back and I was biking as hard and as fast as I could (I was a new cyclist so this was a struggle for me). My heart was racing. My mind was racing even faster–thinking of every possible scenario. Where were we? Was there a hospital nearby? Would he need stitches? Did he break a bone? I had no idea.

I got back to the campground, tossed the bike on the ground and hopped in the car. I sped down the highway and picked up Michael, who was stubbornly trying to bike back with one hand. I loaded his bike on the rack and drove us back to the campground. By this time it was pitch black out.

Night was falling, temperatures were dropping. I grabbed my first aid kit and my headlamp and I proceeded to clean out his wound on his palm. I washed it, put wound ointment on it and bandaged it the best I could.

“Did you hit your head?” I asked.


We are both helmet wearers, too. I asked him if he felt dizzy or nauseated? Did he feel sleepy? Headache? No, no. Anything else on his body hurt? His left elbow hurt but he thought he was okay. I fashioned a sling for his left arm out of a shirt I had. I had a small amount of pain medication in my first aid kit–random stuff like Advil, allergy medicine and a few leftover Oxys from a surgery I had. They made me sick so I stopped taking them but I saved them in my first aid kit. I gave Michael one and we went to bed.

I can’t say I slept well that night. It was colder than the first night we camped. I was worried about Michael. Worried about a lot of things. Dawn broke. I was slowly waking up because I had to pee but was too cold to get out of my sleeping bag to get up.

“Are you awake?”

“Yeah?” I said. I took off my eye mask.

“I’m going to say some things and I want you to listen and not freak out.”

Okay I am freaking out already. Don’t you hate it when people say that preamble? Of course I’m gonna freak out! I was wide awake now.

Michael said calmly, “I think my arm is broken. I need you to pack up the campsite and drive me back to Portland.”

I said okay and got up immediately. I loaded him into the front seat of the car and packed up the campsite in 10 minutes. We hit the road. It wasn’t even 5am yet. I had to drive us back to Portland, 4.5 hours away. This included driving over Mount Hood.

The drive home was stressful. I hadn’t really driven Michael’s car at all and that added to the stress. The bikes weren’t loaded properly on the rack and I had to stop a dozen times during the drive home to readjust them and tighten them on the rack.

There was limited cell service. Michael tried to relax as I drove us home but he was in pain. He was also calling his mom (who lives in Portland) and his dad (who lives in Texas) to tell them what happened and keep them posted. I breathed a sigh of relief when we got back to Portland.

It wasn’t smooth sailings though. Michael had to find his insurance and medical information and had to call to find out where he could go to Urgent Care. He found one nearby and I drove him there. We sat in Urgent Care for several hours.

The verdict: fractured elbow. It was wrapped (too tightly, the doctor there was a total idiot and it ended up causing Michael nerve damage in his fingers). We weren’t living together at the time. I think we’d only been dating for a few months in fact. His roommate Shoe helped a bit. Michael’s mom came over during the day when I had to go to work. Him and his mom watched the first season of Breaking Bad. πŸ™‚

I don’t remember how long he was in the cast–at least a few weeks. He healed and didn’t need surgery or anything and a month later he was out of the cast:

July 30, 2009

It was not what I would call the best camping experience I’ve ever had. In fact, I think we’re both traumatized by the whole experience and probably wouldn’t camp or visit that area ever again. πŸ˜›

QUESTION: What is your worst camping experience ever? Have you ever broken a bone?


The All Day Bike Ride

The perfect way to prepare for a long bike ride? Stay out too late the night before, drink too much, and eat pizza. Um, yeah…I was pretty weary about today’s long bike ride when I woke up this morning. I wasn’t hung over but I was definitely feeling tired and slow. Michael made breakfast for us. Scrambled eggs with spinach, topped with Grueyere cheese and Light sour cream, 2 turkey sausages each and two pieces of toast each. It was delicious and filling.

Huge Breakfast

I sunscreened myself pretty well.

Sunscreen Even In Cloudy Weather!

I loaded up our bikes and my backpack with GUs and protein bars. I also filled one of my water bottles with a GU Brew mixed with water:

Like Gatorade

We headed out on the I-205 Bike Path North. My legs were slow and I felt like I was biking through water. After about 25 minutes of struggling, I drank some of the GU Brew and got a little pep in my step. We stopped around 45 minutes and I ate my Sports Bean pack and Michael had a Clif Shot. He didn’t like the Clif Shot. He said it had a weird chemical taste. The Sports Beans were OK but I didn’t like the watermelon flavor.

The weather was gray and cloudy. I dressed for rain and ended up regretting it 2 hours later. It was too hot for tights. We kept heading North on the path and for some reason the freeways were ALL backed up. Thankfully we were on bikes!

Traffic Everywhere

We came to a fork in the trail. Last weekend we turned towards Washington. Today we turned onto Marine Drive. There’s a very nice, scenic bike trail that goes along the Columbia River on Marine Drive. Neither of us had ever been there before.

Marine Drive Trail

Marine Drive

As you can see, it was pretty gray out. Luckily, we did not get rained on at all. We rode along Marine Drive and chatted about how scenic it was. It was also very windy but we powered through it. Now for the CRASH AND BURN part of today’s story…..


We were riding along the path; Michael was a bit ahead of me. There were three people coming towards us. They had a bulldog who was running along with them as they biked. I was completely distracted by the puppy. I guess the first guy on his bike was texting ON HIS PHONE and not paying attention and veered into Michael. Michael came to a screeching stop but I didn’t see ANY of this happening and plowed RIGHT into Michael on the bike. We both went down. My handlebars got caught under Michael’s bike seat. Luckily. I fell sideways onto some soft grass/moss and my backpack broke my fall. My leg was stuck in between our bikes (since the bikes were locked together). Michael didn’t fall. A reflector from the front of my bike broke off. THE GOOD NEWS we weren’t seriously hurt and our bikes were OK. My leg got unstuck and I can tell I’m going to have a humongous bruise on my thigh tomorrow. It’s pretty sore. I stood up and tried to shake it off. The adrenaline was of course pumping through my body and I felt all jittery and my legs and arms were shaky. We were lucky nothing serious happened, and that it happened where it did. A few feet ahead of that spot and there was no grass to break our fall–just a very scary rock ledge heading down to the water.

Here I am right after the fall. I’M ALIVE! πŸ™‚

I'm OK! I'm OK!

I made sure I was alright and we got back on the bikes and continued on. A few minutes later, we got to a Marina and stopped to have some more GU.


I liked this Berry Flavored GU the best so far. It was yummy. πŸ™‚ We rested for a few minutes and tried to figure out where we were going with my iphone. Our bike ride wasn’t just for training. Our final destination was NW Portland to pick up our packets for Reach the Beach. The packet pickup was at the Lucky Lab from 2-4pm today only.

We continued on Marine Drive. We biked passed the airport. Huge planes were taking off above our heads!


The Marine Drive Path ended and we took NE 33rd into the city. I was starting to feel stressed for time. We weren’t really sure how to get to NW Portland from where we were so we rode up NE 33rd, passed the Kennedy School PubΒ  (where we ran into some of Michael’s coworkers) and then took NE Killingsworth to NE MLK. It was frightening riding on such a busy street! We went as fast as we could. Turning onto Broadway, we rode across the Steel Bridge.

Steel Bridge

We biked in a LOT of traffic today. There were a few scary moments. But it wasn’t too horrible. We rode across the river and into NW Portland until we arrived at The Lucky Lab. There were lines out the door to pick up the packets.

While we were standing in line, a lady came by with a tray of Pepperidge Farms cookies! I grabbed 3. πŸ™‚ We picked up all our stuff. Bibs, maps, info packets. There were snacky foods set up buffet style. We ordered a slice of pizza for each of us and got a few snacky things to munch on while we waited.


They had delicious strawberries too! I got a slice of cheese pizza. It wasn’t the best pizza ever but we were so hungry!

After relaxing a bit and letting our food settle,Β  we hopped back on the bikes and headed home. We rode through downtown Portland, passed the train station, and connected to the waterfront Esplanade (where I run at lunch).

Union Station

We biked on the Springwater Cooridor and then stopped at Oaks Bottom Park to use the bathroom. I had my last GU (Chocolate Mint-my favorite!). I needed that last big “jolt” because I was starting to slow down. We rode the Cooridor home.


When I got home, I had a recovery drink.

Recovery Powder
Recovery Drink

Feeling refreshed after the shower and drink. Not sure yet what we are going to do this evening. Check out today’s stats:

First Part of the Day
Second Part of the Day

Today’s Stats:

Distance Biked: 40 miles

Time Biked: 4 1/2 hours

Calories Burned: 1889!