Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Beginning: Part 1

Earlier tonight I gave a shout out to my good friend, and sometimes confidant E. R. Sprague. If you haven't yet seen it, check out my Facebook page. (yes, this is a shameless display of self promotion)

I'll see how quickly I can get through this back story. I don't want to leave out details, yet I'll refrain from boring either. It was my jr. year of high school. Many friends and I had been planning to go camping up the Kilchis River for quite some time. We arrived at Aaron Wiricks house. Aaron lived at the foothills of the Kilchis basin. Several miles still from the pain, where the river wove through the open valley before mixing it's freshness with the saltiness of the ocean and bay. The foothills. That's all they were really. You could drive for miles. 70 miles approximately is all it would take to reach the great Willamette Valley. Aaron lived right at the foot of them. Close enough to the ocean to smell the salt air and feel it's mist, but far enough away you didn't smell the seaweed.

We all arrived at his house as a last place to park our cars and carpool up the river about 5 miles. As a junior in high school 5 miles was an eternity away from home. Now, as an adult, it doesn't come close to breaking into the wild.
I can't remember who all was to go up there that weekend. The departure day is a bit of a fog. I remember Aaron. Amy Schild, whom later (or before) I had a huge crush on. I even remember her kissing me once, briefly, but she'll never admit it. Jacob Hoyt I believe. Perhaps Sonya. Jacob Day. Ezra? No, I don't think he was there. And Daniel. Daniel Lusby.

I remember showing up early. Those later years of high school I recall much more time at his home than my own. Although now that history has past my mind vaguely remembers that and responds fondly to my own house hold. But that is another story. I always showed up early to the Wirick house hold. In 6 years I can only remember not feeling welcome 2 times. Shortly after I showed, Jacob Hoyt, then Amy, then Daniel arrived.

Daniel showed up in a pick up. In the back he had a motorbike. I don't remember what year. But if I had to guess I think it was a 1974 Yamaha 550. It was a street bike, but had big knobby tires. It was Daniels fathers. His baby. and it hadn't been ridden in years. I was enamored by the bike, as I had never ridden one.

Jacob started it up for Daniel and shortly Jacob was riding around the field. I presumed he knew what he was doing. To this day I don't know for sure, but I think he was fairly mechanical. Those Hoyt boys. I think Daniel rode it around the field a time or two and the more and more I saw these two riding the more excited and anxious I became.

At one point I think I was jumping up and down, hardly able to contain my excitement not only for the camping trip, but also for a chance to ride the bike. They continued to ask me if I had ridden before, and I had not. But that did not come close (or even cross my mind that it should) to deterring me from getting on that bike. I quickly asked Jacob what controlled what and was on my way. I rode around the field. At no greater than 30 miles an hour. Tall grass laying everywhere from the heavy wind and rain. I could feel my back tire slipping among the slick grass. I was shifting. I was accelerating, it was excellent!

I rounded about and came back toward my friend. As I approached I laid off the throttle and put my foot on what I now know to be the rear break. Nothing happened. I don't know if I wasn't pushing hard enough or if it wasn't connected. All I know is I didn't stop. Fortunately I was going slow enough that a great rhododendron bush in the front yard stopped me completely. We quickly had the bike out of the bush and back up on the gravel drive. I was so full of adrenaline and excitement. I was acting more like a 3rd grader in a comic store than a jr. in high school. I grabbed the bike from Jacob again, hopped on, and hit the throttle.

I'm certain that between that moment, and what I remember next, time froze. Somewhere, between turning that throttle and waking up I had a) spun gravel a mile behind me b) blazed narrowly past 2 friend c) T-boned a fence post d) lately realized it was a barbed wire fence post e) took a foot peg to the ankle and finally f) missed the entire camping trip for a trip to the hospital and 13 weeks in a cast.

I didn't ride again for 5 years. But that, is another story.


  1. only took five years to come back? Welcome home. Glad your reading. Thanks for telling the story!

  2. nice one. Glad we could stir that one up.