Fall Colors and Guardian Angels

Note: this actually happened nearly two weeks ago now.  I wrote this post the next day while the details were fresh in my mind.

This past weekend was a banner riding weekend for me, at least until the very end.  On Saturday I rode to Glenwood Springs, CO to visit one of the Tour of Honor sights for my state.  Since this ride goes over Vail Pass at an elevation of about 10,600 feet, I wanted to plan it so the summer tourists were gone, but the snow had not yet come.  I decided last weekend was the last chance based on my schedule, so I went for it.

The ride and weather were absolutely gorgeous!  The leaves are turning in the mountains and I enjoyed a lovely day of riding under bluebird skies with the hillsides covered in yellow, orange and red.  There was some traffic but it was manageable compared to the summer season when I-70 turns into a parking lot in places.

I stopped in Dillon to take in the view and give my body a break from the seat and the road.  It was only at this point that I decided yes, I am going to Glenwood Springs today, I am committed to doing it.  I set the mapping app on my phone and off I went!

A couple hours later I found my way to the Tour of Honor memorial, discovered a convenient place to park and took my photo.  Knowing I had a nearly three-hour ride home, I didn’t stick around long but opted to head back.  My trip home was uneventful, which was nice.  I took a couple more breaks than on the way out there, but I felt it was worth the time to be safe.

For Sunday, I made plans to ride in the mountains with a friend and we had a wonderful time! Different state highways, different views but no less gorgeous than those of the day before.  We purposely took a slower pace, but I was still feeling the miles from Saturday by the end of the day.

I had split from my friend after dinner and was only a few miles from home when the bike started to feel strange.  I was having difficulty shifting which initially I put off to me being tired after two long riding days.  However, as the traffic on the interstate began to slow, my bike seemed to be slowing more than expected.  I was soon at a dead stop, unable to move even an inch, in the middle of Interstate 25 with Broncos post game traffic and a quickly setting sun!  Thankfully a lady in a very large pickup truck stopped behind me and put her flashers on to alert everyone to go around.   She was willing to help block me as I moved to the shoulder, but the bike WOULD NOT MOVE!  I shut it down and called roadside service for a tow truck.  A few minutes later, as I waited for them to find help, I started the bike back up and moved it to the shoulder!  Whew!  At least now I felt a bit safer.

My guardian angel in the pickup truck made sure I had a tow truck on the way and waved goodbye. About that time, a Colorado State Patrol officer came up at a high rate of speed and pulled off on the shoulder too. Another motorist had reported a stalled motorcycle in the middle lanes of I-25 and CSP dispatched the nearest officer to my location.  After making sure I was ok he shared with me that he had come to find me with lights and sirens, doing about 100 mph.  He was well versed in the traffic issues in this area and was concerned that he would arrive to find me and the motorcycle squished into the pavement.  He was relieved to find me alive and on the shoulder with a tow truck was on the way.  He made sure I didn’t need anything else and left to handle another call.

Right after the officer left, a friend I had messaged called to make sure I was truly safe and had the tow truck on the way  I talked to her for a few minutes and then the friend I had been riding with showed up in his truck.  He brought me a bottle of water and suggested we sit in his truck while we waited for the tow truck driver.  It was a relief to be off the shoulder of the road, especially as it had started getting darker.  I felt safer and less like a sitting duck.  When the tow truck driver arrived, my friend and the driver carefully loaded my bike on the flat bed and we followed it home.  I decided to have it taken to my house since the motorcycle shops are all closed on Sunday and Monday.  I didn’t feel good about having it sit somewhere for two days where it could be a target for being stolen.

Sunday night once everything had calmed down and I was alone, I had time to reflect on just how fortunate I was.  The lady in the big red truck didn’t have to stop for a stranger, but she may well have saved my life by blocking me from the traffic behind us.  The CSP officer didn’t have to respond at a high rate of speed with lights & sirens blaring, but he, too, recognized that I may be in danger.  The friend who called to see if she could help, could have gone on with her Sunday evening with her family.  Instead she reached out to ensure I was safe and kept me company while I waited for help. My new riding buddy didn’t have to jump in his truck and head back out as soon as he got home, but he wanted to know I was safe and that my bike and I made it home.  My tow truck driver, while one of the few folks who was being paid, treated me and my bike with the utmost care and respect.  I am so grateful for each of these guardian angels who kept me safe and reminded me that there are always people ready to help if I just have the courage to ask!

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