For This Globerider, The End of the Road....
FRI 24 MAY, 2002 - SEATTLE, WA USA
LAT: N47.71617 LON: W122.37346
GPS TRACK SINCE LAST UPDATE
[My medical evacuation route, from Beijing, China to Seattle, WA via Narita, Japan.]
GLOBERIDERS TOUR DAY NO: 17
DAYS SINCE LAST UPDATE: 8
TOTAL DRIVEN MILEAGE TO DATE: 740.7
TOTAL GASOLINE USED TO DATE: 20
TOTAL NO. OF AA BATTERIES USED TO DATE: 16
TOTAL AIRLINE MILEAGE TO DATE: 13,451
BIG MACS CONSUMED: 0
BMW R1150GS' CONSUMED: 1
Among the many sayings attributed to the brilliant Chinese Taoist scholar, Lao Tszu, is the following: "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." Unfortunately, I have added a corollary: "The adventure of a lifetime can be terminated by instantaneous deceleration."
On THU, 16 MAY, the Globeriders departed from our hotel in Jinan in good order. The agenda for the day was a 490 kilometer ride from Jinan to Beijing. Coming into Dezhou city, our guide car once again missed a turn (all the riders had GPS systems, but, for some reason, our guides hadn't yet grokked the beneficial capabilities of this technology). We needed to re-group and get people turned around. The rest of the group set out, and waiting for traffic to clear, I fell behind. Finding my opening, I entered the traffic flow. In catching up with the rest of the team, I began to maneuver around a small taxi. We were on a wide street, no cross-traffic, light misty rain, a wet, but newly-paved road surface. I felt a hard jolt as something hit me from the rear. The next thing I knew, I was down, hard, and sliding towards a taxi ahead of me.
Long story short, I was involved in an accident. The GPS track of the last few hundred feet looked like this:
[The GPS data shows I was going 33.5 MPH prior to impact, and you see the track the bike followed afterwards. I think the direction reversed after sliding into the car ahead of me. The "sliding speed" was about 17MPH, and 171 feet long altogether. The final data point shows "0 MPH". For some reason, the police were interested in none of this data. Apparently, there were no witnesses.]
I spent the first three days after the accident in a horribly primitive hospital in Dezhou. Although the equipment and conditions boarded on the nightmarish, the people, staff, and police officers were all unwaveringly polite, truly helpful, and greatly concerned for my well-being. It turns out I had a broken collarbone, multiple fractures of ribs 4, 5 and 6, and of greatest concern, a swollen pneumo thorax with internal bleeding and fluids collecting in my left lung. Three long and pain-wracked days later, I was stable enough for transport to a better hospital in Beijing. After an additional three days in Beijing, I was deemed stable enough for air evacuation back to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle, WA, in the company of my wife Aillene (who had flown in from Japan), and a air transport trauma nurse provided by the company that I had procured medical evacuation insurance from, MEDJET Assistance - without doubt, the best insurance coverage I have ever purchased in my life. A small plug here - these people were remarkable, and I hope to provide some further information about them in a future update. If there was ever a better case for "...don't leave home without it.", MEDJET Assistance is at the top of my checklist, no matter where I travel (and I hope to do a LOT more).
After I've healed and rested up a bit, I'd like to do a few more updates filling in some more detail on my experiences, medical insurance and procedures for future travellers, and what worked, and didn't, regarding the equipment and services I had access to. Of course, I'm thankful that I'll have no long-term injuries. My greatest disappointment is that I won't be able to complete the trip with the great riders I was with. My bike is on its way back via that proverbial "slow boat from China". I most feverently hope that I'll be able to complete this amazing journey at some time in the future. But at the moment, I'm thankful to be home, and have nothing but kind and warm memories of all the beautiful people in China who did their very best to help a traveller in need, refused payment or compensation of any kind, and wished me nothing other than a safe trip home and speedy recovery.
To my fellow Globeriders, I wish you a safe journey, and hope you'll send a few updates along the way. You embarrassed me with your kindness and generosity, and I hope to share the road with you again some day. I'll send a few more updates myself as I get back into the swing of things.
Posted by Mike Paull at May 23, 2002 10:50 PM GMT
Well, in a way I'm glad to be able to say welcome home ( considering the alternative) but I'm surely sorry to be saying it. I'm really pleased to hear that you are doing well, and that there is no permanent damage. Everything else can be overcome!! I would also like to say, again , for the record, you are one of the best, most thorough , and entertaining writers I've had the pleasure of reading. Please keep it up in some fashion, as we are blessed by it, and you.
Let's start planning Mexico, pal. I'm hoping you'll want to take the 1150 when we go, so I won't be the only one on a big ol' lumbering hulk!
I'll call you soon,.
Glad to hear that you are back. I have been immensely enjoying the posts of your trip. The pictures were great as was the writing. I kind of felt that I was travelling along with you. The GPS tracklog on this post was definitely the most interesting one that I have seen -- I never really thought about its use in accident reconstruction.
Looking forward to hearing more about your adventure.
I was wondering what happened to your reports and prayed that it wasn't an accident that was the cause of your silence, which unfortunately was the case.
Glad to hear that the accident was "relatively mild"
as I am sure it could have been much worse. (Where you wearing body armor? Doesn't sound like you were.)
You should look at the bright side of things, that even though you did not complete the trip you still had a helluva an adventure.
Take care of yourself and looking forward to your trip assessments.
Best Regards, Reed
Damn glad you're okay, Mike. Sorry to hear that your trip was cut short by a quirk of fate, but it sounds like it could have been a lot worse.
Thanks for the update. I hope Aillene nurses you back to health quickly so you can get back to being your old cantankerous self again. ;o)
p.s. I'm still grinning about your latest statistics...
"BMW R1150GS's CONSUMED: 1"
You've definitely still got your sense of humor!
I am sorry to hear your accident and got hurt.I really hope you can getting well with soonest.
God Bless You!
Sorry to hear of your mishap.
I was wondering why your usually scheduled program of messages did not come through.
Had put it down to likely being out of communication range.That GPS track is something else.
We are off in the morning to Salmon Lake with Forrie, Susan and their gang of friends, can you make it? would love to have you with your Hummer there to "ride the range", ha, ha. Even love to have you there without your Hummer
I am certain you are very disapppointed, but there is a consolation prize,
Mike, you are still with us.
Get well quickly, Nairn & Florence
Sorry to your about your accident. Hope you get well soon. I was wondering why i wasnt getting any update mails from you. Do take care and like most others here have mentioned, you really do have a great ability to write well. If you ever come down to India to ride, do let me know. I ride an enfield, maybe we could ride together here someday.
All the best!!! Good Luck!!
I'm just back from my trip to Lapland (went there for work).
I was curious to read your updates and I read about your accident. I'm very sorry for what happened. I was really happy to receive constantly your updated and very well done diary. I hope you will recover soon. Please keep all of us informed about your health status. And what about your bike? and the rest?
I wish you all the best Mike and...please...try it again.
i had been following you trip, Nairn (my dad) thought i would find it of interest, given my penchant for travel and bikes. Maybe when you are ready to go again i would be able to find the time,etc.
Sorry to hear about the shortend trip. Make a speedy recovery.
Hey Mike - The Paull family to the North are very sorry to hear about your accident but are relieved to know that you will back to your adventures soon. We wish you a speedy recovery and hope to see you up our way either on the bike or in the Hummer! We will be thinking of all of you this Memorial Day weekend wishing you were camping with us at Salmon Lake - mark it on your calendar for next year. Get well soon and keep in touch. We all really enjoyed your updates as well.
Mike, We are so sorry to hear of your accident, but glad you made it back home ok. We were in the first group of Globeriders and are very aware of your dissapointment. It is just a matter of bad luck when driving in China. Like you, we used all the skills that we had and feel lucky to have gotten through. Like us, I am sure you will be looking for the next adventure. If you hear of a group going to Mexico, let us know. We just went from Laredo, Texas to Panama City. Keep in touch and good luck on your complete recovery.
Jeff & Ann Roberg
PS. A special thanks for putting you log on the internet, it brings back lots of fond memories.
I'm glad that you are recovering well and I see that your spirits are up as always.
Let's have dinner together as soon as you feel ready for it (I will cook)!!!!!
Á bientot, Jacques
This sucks! I was really looking forward to your reports, not unlike our days at The Phys. But, there's something that needs to be examined. You told me of another time when you got whacked from the behind down around Tacoma. You took the drunk driver's license and keys and deposited them into a mailbox on his behalf. There seems to be a developing trend here that suggests you might want to think about adding a trailer hitch to the bike and hauling a few hay bails on your next journey. Just a thought. Take care and get well.
Congrats on the Medical Evac manuver. Had some freinds that crashed a sport car on a tour thru Italy a few years back and had a very freindly but scary church run hospital, probably not too unlike the one you were in, wanting to do surgery on his back. After pooling a few corporate AmEx cards we were able to get him back to the states. Hope you had the medical insurance to cover the evac. because his was close to $40K.
Take care, and wishing you the fastest recovery with those ribs.
i am in ulumuqi, china and i just read your story.
i left shaghai on a motorcicle on april 21. iam surprised we did not meet on the road somewhere.
mine is an solo and indipendent trip though nevertheless i can see the situation having crossed china myself.
keep welland start planning for the next attempt!!!!!
ciao and keep in touch.
Wow. What a way to end your trip. Sounds like you are mostly in one piece and mending. Good to see that you still have your humor intact. Sorry that we won't be reading more of your reports and the pictures.
Higdon leaves this Sunday for Germany to pick up his bike. Then rides to Ireland to start his cross-Europe-Russia trip. Will pick up Kneebone and Frazier and enter Russia in about 2 1/2 weeks if I remember his time table. Hope he has better luck this trip than some of his others.
gerry barton in DC
I just returned from Mexico and learned about your wreck. So sorry that your trip had to end like that. I know you are upset by not being able to complete the trip. I know you will do it again in the future. I too, enjoyed your postings. If you are ever in Kansas City, give me a call. Office is 816-756-2458, ext 316. Or, send an email to email@example.com or via www.cmka.com. I am going to Trenton, Ontario, for the national rally. Will you be there? I hope you are on the mend soon.
I am sorry to hear about the accident, but am glad that your injuries were not serious. I am sending a message on behalf of my dad, Jim Harding, and the other fellow riders on the tour. They wanted to let you know that they are missing you on the tour and hope that all it well back home.