(Ron Writing) Our neighbor Bob never did return from his late afternoon motorcycle ride and we were very concerned about him. We kept thinking he’d ride in shortly after dark from a long ride but by 9 PM he still wasn’t back and, based on our conversations the past couple days I was pretty sure something was very wrong. This morning we took a ride in the direction I thought he probably went. We drove only about 2 miles when we saw his motorcycle sitting up on its kickstand out on the grassland about 15 yards off the road. I walked over to look at it and based on the marks on the dirt, the damage to the motorcycle, and the tracks in the gravel and then on the dirt, I concluded that he somehow veered off the left side of the gravel road, road about 200 yards on the grass/dirt at a slight angle to the road, and then the bike fell over on its left side. The tracks on the gravel and the dirt showed no sign that the bike was sliding or weaving until right at the impact point where he stopped. I knew he was carrying a backpack with all the emergency gear he might need but he was nowhere around. His motorcycle was in like-new condition prior to this ride but this morning it was scraped-up on the left side, had a broken mirror, and the speedometer was broken.
We had planned to leave this morning but now weren’t sure what we should do. Bob’s van/camper was locked-up in his campsite but some of his camping gear was setting outside in his site. We don’t even know his last name.
I also went to check on the owls this morning. I’m also a little concerned about our chick. After observing their habits the past several days I expected the chick and the mother to be perched close to the trunk of the tree about half way up. This morning the chick was perched way out in the outer branches by itself. I couldn’t spot either of the adults in any of their usual hangouts. This is very unusual. The routine is that the adults leave the campground right after sunset to go hunting and the chick sits on the smaller outer branches of the tree seemingly watching for them to return. All this leads me to infer that the adults never came back from last night’s hunt and the chick was still waiting for them.
We were getting pretty low on fresh water so we decided to pack up and head for Bakersfield, CA. We left around 10 AM heading out toward the north end of Carrizo Plain. As we were driving out we noticed an oncoming highway patrol car so I stopped and flashed my lights at him. He stopped and I asked him if he knew anything about a motorcycle accident on this road last night. He said he did not but that I could ask the guys at the small fire station in Soda Lake since they would have been the first-responders to an emergency call. That was out of our way so we decided to wait until we got cell coverage and then call them. When I called later I was told that they were called out to a motorcycle accident last night but before they got to the scene they were told someone else had transported the injured rider to a hospital so they turned back. He said he didn’t know where the person was taken, his name, or condition, but only that he had been admitted to some hospital for treatment. He also said that a friend of the person had called them to get information about where the motorcycle and camper were located because this person intended to come out to retrieve them. The fireman was unable to provide any information to that friend. So we still don’t know where Bob is, Bob’s last name, his friend’s name, or how to contact either of either of them. We did leave a note in Bob’s campsite with our contact information so maybe we’ll get the rest of the story some day.
It was just yesterday when I was visiting with Bob that he told me he recognized the danger in doing many of the activities he enjoys as a solo traveler. He told me that whenever he goes out on his motorcycle or on a hike he takes enough food and water to survive for two days, he carries a small tarp he could use to make an emergency sun shade, he carries all the usual first aid equipment and a snake bite kit, and he also carries a personal emergency location beacon device
. It sends out a “SOS” over satellite links so that rescuers know exactly where you are and also who you are. All he has to do is press a single button for 10 seconds. I wonder if he used that device when he crashed last night.
We arrived in Bakersfield early this afternoon. We first stopped at an RV park to dump our tanks and refill our fresh water tank and then did some food shopping. We’re spending the night in Bakersfield. Sure is nice to have a reliable internet signal again. But it was sad that we had to leave the Carrizo campground we enjoy so much with so much uncertainty. What really happened to Bob and how is he doing? How is our owl chick doing? How are the adult owls doing? Life on this earth is uncertain – we count our blessings.