Sunday, March 28, 2010

Phone on the road!

Yesterday was so beautiful, so several of us who ride motorcycles, took this opportunity to head out for a ride. A Harley store a bit down the road (heading west on 54, towards the Gulf coast) has a free-hotdog Saturday, where they'll feed you (chili and sauerkraut topping optional) - as many dogs as you want, and they have free softdrinks, too. I think 5 or so of us couples jumped on our bikes (mostly Honda Goldwings) and headed out.

Such a great day - blue skies and temps in the upper 70's to lower 80's. It has been a nasty winter here and we have seen way too many days in the 50's. It felt good to have the sun on our faces and bodies.

We follow each other in a staggered riding fashion - one bike closer to the right-side of the lane, the following bike closer to the left-side of that lane, and so on. In case one bike has a problem, the following bike can (hopefully) avoid running into the one with a problem.

At one point, we were riding behind L's friend F (and F's wife, of course). L and I communicate with an intercom, which is helpful and fun to do (sometimes). Anyway, L said rather abruptly, "Did you see that?!" And of course I had NOT seen anything -- and generally have to bob my head around his shoulders to the right or left. I usually check out the road in front of the bike from time to time, or enjoy the scenery off to either side of the road, on these rides.

I replied to his inquiry that I had NOT seen anything, and he explained that a cell phone had flown off one of the bikes and then had hit the pavement, taking several MORE bounces. I wrongly assumed that he had seen this in his rearview mirror, but he told me it was F's phone, now on a 6-lane highway behind our group of bikes. He decided to retrieve the phone, pulled onto the shoulder, reversed the bike's direction, and headed east on the shoulder (we were on the west-bound lanes). Then he asked ME to get off the bike and STOP THE TRAFFIC. What??!!

Fortunately, most of the traffic was slowing for a traffic light, so that DID help a bit. I just cautiously approached the nearest lane of traffic and put my hand up in that universal STOP gesture. I should explain that I had to stop traffic in TWO lanes, as the right-most lane was able to merge onto a northbound highway, at this point. So I had the cooperation of TWO key drivers -- God bless them both -- and was able to retrieve the phone.

Amazingly, the phone had NOT been run over. It was laying (lying?) in a flipped-open position and had obviously taken a few falls. I went back to the shoulder, where L had pulled the bike too far onto the soft soil and could not keep it upright. So I threw my body weight into the bike's side and helped where I could.

We rejoined the group and continued to the Harley shop for our free lunch. While there, F asked L to phone his cell number -- and the phone DID work, both in ringing and being able to hear the caller.

Some days later, F did decide to replace the phone -- it was no longer able to accept a charge, so... In the long run, this was an exercise in futility. I didn't do anything foolish while retrieving the phone, however, not stepping into traffic until I was PRETTY sure that the vehicles (one was a large truck) would stop. Sometimes you just caught up in the moment.

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