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
Next HU Events
- NEW! Canada Maritimes: July 4-6
- USA Colorado: July 11-13
- Ireland: July 18-20
- Canada West: Aug 21-24
- USA North Carolina: Sept. 4-7
- France Mini: Sep 5-7
- Canada Ontario: Sept. 11-14
- NEW! UK - Haggs Bank: Sept. 19-21
- USA California: Sept. 25-28
- Aus Queensland: Oct 3-6
- Aus Perth: Oct 10-12
- Aus VIC: Oct 24-26
- NEW! Aus NSW: Oct 31-Nov 2
- NEW! South Africa: Nov 13-16
- NEW! HUMM Morocco: May 13-16, 2015
Which bike, how to prepare it, what else to take, how to pack it all in! 6 hours!
"It's another great job, informative and entertaining."
"It's really professional and full of useful information, a must for any traveler."
Check it out at the HU Store! Remember to use Coupon Code 'GEARUP' on your order when you checkout.
What others say about HU...
"I just wanted to say thanks for doing this and sharing so much with the rest of us." Dave, USA
"...Great site. Keep up the good work." Murray and Carmen, Australia
Check out the new Gildan Performance cotton-feel t-shirt - 100% poly, feels like soft cotton!
What turns you on to motorcycle travel?
New to Horizons Unlimited?
Membership - help keep us going!
Books & DVDs
Insurance - see: For foreigners traveling in US and Canada and for Americans and Canadians traveling in other countries, then mail it to MC Express and get your HU $15 discount!
Story and photos copyright © All Rights Reserved.
Contact the author:
Editors note: We accept no responsibility for any of the above information in any way whatsoever. You are reminded to do your own research. Any commentary is strictly a personal opinion of the person supplying the information and is not to be construed as an endorsement of any kind.
Hosted by: Horizons
Unlimited, the motorcycle travellers' website!
You can have your story here too - click for details!