June 06, 2002 GMT
RESTLESS IN SEATTLE
05 JUN 2002 - SEATTLE, WA (06 JUN 2002, Krasnoyarsk "Globeriders time")
Since I last saw them, the Globeriders have traveled thru:
CHINA: Huludao, Shengyen, Changchun, Harbin, Daoqing
MONGOLIA: Zhalantun, and Yakeshi.
Have crossed the border into Russia at Manzhouli, then continued on:
RUSSIA: Zabaikalsk, Chita, Ulan Ude, Irkutsk, Lake Baikal, and Tuluun, and now, Krasnoyarsk.
Exotic names, continually shifting roads, new dialects and languages - how I wish I were with them. But, here I sit, restless in Seattle....
As I noted before, Speed Channel's Bike Week did begin coverage of the tour with this week's episode(s). I watched in admiration and envy. One-third of the broadcast highlighted the remarkable exploits of Helge, his comments and thoughts on this year's tour, with some footage from the first one in 2000. To paraphrase Andy Warhol - I had my 5 seconds of fame moving bikes around the warehouse and into the shipping container with Helge. I think part of next week's segment may include scenes in our house here in Seattle as I was packing for the trip. Right now, I'm Bike Week's most avid fan.
When I started my retirement from 10 years at Microsoft, my team presented me with the following:
[In retrospect, maybe this "baby GS" would have been the better choice. At least, it would have kept me off any streets, and I could have spent my fuel budget for beer! You can actually buy these from your local BMW motorcycle dealer. Of course, BMW sells $500.00 skateboards, and $5,000.00 mountain bikes, so, don't ask....]
Here is the first of many snippets of email that I hope to receive from those Globeriders able to find the time, and more importantly, an internet cafe, as they ride on to Krakow, Poland, where I hope to re-join the group by "plane, train, and automobile". I'll leave the excerpts pretty much as received, correcting only those gross spelling errors that I know the author(s) would have caught had they access to a spell-checker:
Well I'm sitting here in Docquin or something like that. We left Harbin this afternoon, and then rode 140 miles down a really, really bumpy road, that was paved, but in terrible shape. John, on a KLR 650, broke his sub-frame and sheared two bolts that hold it on, but it was welded up within an hour!
We were joined yesterday, in Harbin, by the local "outlaw" motorcycle club. Bikes over 250cc are illegal, but there is an underground scene that has 1100 CBR's, V-Max's , hot-rodded Harleys, etc., etc. They actually followed us the whole way today. Some on pure dirt bikes! Laws are made to be broken here in China, so it didnít surprise us. They were doing wheelies in very busy traffic on the main street, against the traffic, through a red light. Unbelievable.
David and I decided to go for a walk and do some shopping as I lost my sunglasses, and he needed zip-ties, so we walked around down town (a little town by comparison to what we've come accustomed to, with just a little over 3 million people in it.) We stumbled upon the club house of the "outlaw gang" that ďwelcomedĒ us earlier in the day. Whatíre the odds of that???? Well, we were invited in, given beers to drink, etc., etc. Needless to say, we didnít get our shopping done. In the end, they ( 23 of em') took us out to dinner, in a nice Chinese restaurant, of course, then presented us with some seriously nice "racing style" motorcycle jackets! They have about 30 patches on them and are new! Only myself and David, my roomie, got them!
We are only 5 days away from Russia, and have ridden 1900 miles. We have been on 2 TV. news stations, and in one newspaper. The traffic is better as we are getting into more rural areas, but the cities still are murderous. We saw a dead guy hanging out of a truck cab day before last, with his brain dripping out! Yuk. Bike accidents every once in a while too, but not us. The only dropped bikes of ours were both on marble floors in parking garages, or hotel lobbies. So all in all, were doing really well. Some of the craziest drivers are people that will do ANYTHING to stay with us to give us the thumbs up sign or take a picture of us, riding down the highway. They will drive in the oncoming lane with traffic coming right at them, in the lane next to us, making the oncoming traffic veer around them. They do this for miles at a time. Having 3 lanes of traffic in a single lane is common. In a way, itís really fun, but itís for real! The dirt road action today was exciting. We are in the Manchurian plains that are the largest corn and wheat plains in the world. It sounds boring but isnít. Every single moment is right out of a National Geographic magazine.
Dinner tonight was great, just when I think we have seen everything, they bring us an entire pigís head complete with snout, and cherries or some kind of red berries stuck in the eye sockets
I am definitely enjoying the trip so far, and I feel it has been worth what was paid for it. The only bummer is our not being able to stop when we want. But the fact that we can be in China at all is really something. We are such outsiders. Most everywhere we go, people act like they have never seen such a crazy thing. The crowds are annoying sometimes, but most of the time, they are fun. They really get a kick out of the map stickers that Mike Paull made for each and every one of us. My globe fell off 2 days ago, almost breaking my heart.
Shui De Hao,
Rick (Rick Wetzel is from Dexter, OR - USA)
As for me, I'll continue to "ghost write" updates as I can, and will hopefully go "live" again around 01 JUL. I'm getting a bit better day by day, but still can't "sleep" in any position but upright. And, worrisome, no word on when my bike will get shipped back home - always another excuse about paper-work. If things don't go as hoped, I may get an empty crate for the $1,000.00 it's going to ship the "bike" home. Of course, even with that, the riding need not end. I received the following from my brother-in-law, Christian Balagtas, in Cainta Rizal, Philippines. I have no idea where he found it, but, see what you can do with an empty shipping crate, some coconuts, bark, and a little straw?
[I've heard the term "iron horse" used to describe a motorbike, but, a "wooden horse??!!]
Posted by Mike Paull at 12:17 AM
June 05, 2002 GMT
Globeriders Tour Now on TV!
04 JUN 2002 - SEATTLE WA, USA
In my previous update, I mentioned the possibility of the Globeriders Tour 2002 getting some air-time on television. In the United States, many of the cable TV companies carry the Speed Channel (which used to be called Speedvision). The Speed Channel broadcasts a weekly motorcycling oriented program called Bike Week - the same "issue" of Bike Week is shown twice on TUE, once on WED, and once on SAT. The show always airs several "mini-segments" during each week's 30 minute broadcast. It looks like Helge Pedersen's Globeriders Tour will be shown each week for the next 10 or 12 weeks - we just saw the first segment air this evening here in Seattle!
I don't know if the Speed Channel is available outside of North America, but, for those in the North Seattle, WA area with AT&T cable, it is Channel 33. Bike Week shows on the days/times below (PLEASE NOTE: The times shown are Pacific Standard Daylight Savings Time - you'll need to adjust accordingly):
Dave Despain, host
Dave Despain, host
Dave Despain, host
Dave Despain, host
And, it looks like another rider is out! Roy Lee Cox, from Arlington, TX, rolled to a stop somewhere between Irkutsk and Lake Baikal in Russia. His left foot slipped out from under him, resulting in several broken bones in his foot - the one needed for shifting. I have few details, but understand he was hospitalized for X-rays, diagnosis, and has been released on crutches, his left foot in a cast. My heart goes out to Roy, a good rider, and another kind and generous spirit. I know exactly what he must feel like - at least HE made it to Russia!
As for me, I'm excited to announce that I'll be doing "live" Updates again from the road! Working with the fine touring company that helped Helge put the "from China onwards" part of the tour together, MIR Corporation in Seattle (you can see them at: http://www.mircorp.com/), my wife, Aillene, and I, will be flying to Warsaw Poland, taking a train to Krakow, renting a car, and re-joing the group at the Ukraine/Polish border crossing on 02 JUL 2002!
No pictures in this short Update. I promise some in the next one - the remaining 10 riders are pushing on to Munich.
Posted by Mike Paull at 04:58 AM
June 02, 2002 GMT
Sleepless in Seattle, Thinking of Dezhou
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON, USA - SUN 02 JUN 2002
GLOBERIDERS TOUR DAY NO: 26
DAYS SINCE LAST UPDATE: 9
TOTAL DRIVEN MILEAGE (me only): 740.1
TOTAL GASOLINE USED (me only): 20
TOTAL NO. OF AA BATTERIES USED (me only): 16
TOTAL AIRLINE MILEAGE (me only): 13,451
MILLIGRAMS OF IV MORPHINE (yours truly): 18
TABLETS OF OXYCODONE/APAP CONSUMED (yours truly): 72
TABLETS OF MORPHINE SULFATE CONSUMED (yours truly): 8
TABLETS OF DOCUSATE SODIUM CONSUMED (yours truly): 45
SHOT OF WHISKEY CONSUMED (yours truly): NONE ;<(
Before getting into the update itself, a huge and heartfelt THANK YOU! to all of you who have sent "get well" and "good wishes" email. You're generous with your online time - I've spent upwards of five hours a day simply replying to it all! And, a special thanks to my wife Aillene, for having her vacation cut short, making the journey to Beijing for what must surely be one of the shortest stays in China for any US citizen, and for taking care of me at home. Thanks to my mom for not lecturing me. Thanks to my sister Lily Paull for having chosen nursing as her career, and for being there not only with ready medical advice, but for also literally being there when we arrived t the U of W Med Center where she now works. Thanks to my brother Pat Paull, for watching and maintaining the house while we were gone, and readying it for our return, to include a full re-stock of fine ales, none of which I can drink until I'm off my meds! My deepest gratitude to the the wonderful people at MEDJET Assistance and Global Doctors, for my evacuation and repatriation back to Seattle. And to Sim, Julia and all the kind doctors, nurses, and staff in China, I hope that someday I may repay the wonderful kindness that you showered on me. Man, this is starting to sound like an Academy Awards speech....
Many of you have asked for more details about my accident and evacuation. I promise you, I'll give you FAR MORE than you ever wanted to hear or know. Before that however, I want you to assure you I'll try to keep these updates coming, from bits and pieces of email and images sent back by the other Globeriders when they find the time and connections to do so.
Also, I'm not sure if I mentioned it in an earlier update, but a full-time videographer accompanied us on the trip, and will be with the group until the tour ends in Germany. The reason? Not only do we get a way cool video of Globerider Tour 2002 at its conclusion, but, if all goes as planned, starting next TUE, (or the following TUE) The Speed Channel's (the cable motorsports channel) weekly show, Bike Week, will feature footage of the trip, shot and edited by Sterling Noren on location, and flown to Bike Week by DHL for final editing and broadcast. They'll show a segment each week until the tour is over, delayed, however, by about four or five weeks.
Finally, if any of you out there ever travel regularly more than 150 miles from home, especially those of you who are as passionate about motorcycling as I am, do your loved ones and yourself a favor, and visit the website of MEDJET Assistance IMMEDIATELY and take out a membership policy. Do it now! Here is their website (click on your browser's "Back" button to get back here): http://www.medjetassistance.com/
And now, some images of Dezhou, China, the accident, and aftermath....
[A side street in a small village on the way to Dezhou - looks like the set for Kung Fu movie doesn't it?]
[We weren't able to determine what this is, but it looks very Asian, and pretty cool.]
[The grounds and river below it were equally beautiful.]
[In my opinion, the travel service insured we had incredibly good meals - too much of a good thing actually, and many of them began to look and taste suspiciously alike. Why haven't we seen any dogs or cats around? The night before, two of the group couldn't stand it, and "escaped" the formal dinner, walking into a local restaurant, with not a single word in common with the staff and patrons. They had so much fun, we did it again the following night. From left to right: David Stafford from Renton, WA; Roy Cox from Arlington, TX; Sterling Noren from Seattle, WA; Rick Wetzel from Dexter, OR. I'm taking the picture. David and Rick instigated the "escape". Roy is still practicing his skill with chopsticks .]
[The last image I of have of my trusty "iron horse", my 2000 BMW Mandarin R1150GS, fully out-fitted with Touratech and other accessories, and a Garmin MAP 176C GPS. Not a scratch on it in two years of ownership, and transit across the Pacific, just a good coat of Chinese mud.]
Now, for a painfully detailed and LONG narrative of the accident, hospitalization, and medical evacuation back to Seattle, please click on the link below, read as much as you can stand, and hit the "Back" button on your browser to get back here:
Please click here to read the Accident Narrative
To read the MEDJET Assistance Press Release on the evacuation, please click on the link below, and when done, again, hit the "Back" button on your browser to get back here:
Please click here to read the MEDJET Assistance Press Release
Back to the images....
[Yours truly being gently helped towards the waiting ambulance.]
[Very much in a state of shock, sitting in the ambulance with an unsteady smile, thinking I had nothing more than the wind knocked out of me, and a sprained shoulder.]
[Helge, knowing that next to the riders' safety and well-being, the bikes had to by kept operational and protected at all costs, and thinking I'm in the best available medical care, begins work on my bike in case I might actually be able to re-join the group. Here, he has borrowed a hack saw and shovel from a local work crew or fire truck, and is sawing through the crossbar. Once done, the shovel was affixed to each side of the handlebar with - IS THAT DUCT TAPE - to use as a lever in straightening it out. Jim Harding, always ready to jump in and help, in the background assisting, .]
[Helge visiting me in my "private room" at the hospital in Dezhou. The tape on my upper lip is holding the open end of an oxygen line in my nostril. They had no mask or nose breather. After the first day, the tape they were using wouldn't stick anymore, as they wouldn't let me bath or shower as it would be "bad for my health". Soon, they ran out of tape, and a policeman was dispatched to my motorcycle to get more from the medical kit I carried with me! Unlike doctors in the States, they still believed that binding up the chest, a clavical brace (which, fortuantely, they didn't have) and patient immobilization were the best treatment. Western doctors now beleive the exact oposite. And, no cold liquids of any type were allowed - as some diseases (this one apparantly) are treated with "hot liquids", others with "cold" - remember, this was the Traditional Chinese Medcial Hospital.]
[A parting shot of my room, the travel bags I'm allowed to take with me on the bed, just prior to transport to Beijing. In the baclground, "Julia" Ling Feng, still providing my link to the doctors and nurses. As you can see, cleanliness was not at the top of the list - although the food was good and came from outside, it was often left on the desk overnight.]
[The wrecker taking my bike to the police yard for investigation and storage. By now, the first awful diagnoses of my injuries was known, and we knew my tour was over.]
[A view of the left side of my bike, the most damaged, at the police yard. Not much really given the force of the impact, the speed during the slide, and the fact that the bike flipped onto the other side. Those big cylinders jutting out from either side and stout Touratech panniers and mounts fully protected my legs from any injury at all, and, saved much of the bike from further damage as well. Hmmm, anyone seen my windshield?]
Now, imagine this, I come home to Seattle, and find two of my favorite magazines waiting in my mail stack. In the May 2002 edition of BMW Owners News, David L. Hough, an editor and MSF instructor (mine, in fact, when I took one of their fine courses), notes "The natural resting position of a motorcycle is horizontal. The key to keeping upright is to learn to read the road surface." Boy, wish I'd know THAT before leaving Seattle!
And, in the June 2002 edition of MOTORCYCLIST, Editor in Chief Mitch Boehm's column begins "I've learned a lot over the last six weeks. I learned that coughing or sneezing with freshly broken ribs is probably the most painful thing that can happen to you. I learned about bed sores, from having to sleep in one position all night. And I learned that broken ribs do not heal quickly." NOW he tells me, if I'd known all this, I would have stayed at home in the first place - not! (Mitch had been involved in an earlier accident apparently).
It didn't end there. Laura Seaver, a fine rider who participated in Globeriders 2000, informed me that Chris Shea, co-president of the WA State BMW club, had hit one of nature's 4-hoofed SUV's (aka a deer) at 70 MPH and broken a collar bone, must be the month for it!
But, I'll end it here - this "update" has become an "epic" through the sheer number of words. I'll leave you with the following two images of David Stafford, showing that, in China, even walking requires constant attention.
[In Japan and China, specially textured sidewalk tiles are used to help the blind stay on the sidewalk, and know when an intersection is at hand - you can actually feel the pattern through the soles of your shoes. Here's David proving this is true, unfortunately, you can see he's blissfully unaware that it's apparently lunch time, and a work crew left a manhole cover open. Just like the car that had plowed into the dirt barrier in an earlier update, Dave's vacation is also about to become "An Adventure!"]
[The result? Actually, remember in grade school science class when they asked that stupid question "So, like, if I keep digging a hole deep enough, will I dig through to China?" Here is Dave proving the theory, in reverse! Or, did he really dig thru from "the other side"? Actually, the whole thing was staged - Dave saw a rickety wooden ladder disappearing into the depths of the hole, and just couldn't resist. With that, I leave you until the next update. Good night!]
Posted by Mike Paull at 09:54 AM
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