Sunday, March 11, 2012

Goin' Down in Downieville on the '47 Knuck

Couple riding a Harley Knucklehead chopper with a homemade bedroll
It has often been said that there are two kinds of bikers, those that have been down, and those that haven't yet. I've been pretty lucky in my thirty years as a p-pad passenger, I've only hit the pavement twice. It just so happens that both times were within three miles of each other.

The first time, was in about '87. Me and my old man were coming back home from a long week-end up by Graeagle on the Knucklehead chopper. It was a low-budget trip, we camped in a cow pasture, had canned chili for dinner and whiskey for breakfast. I know, not a good idea, and he gave up drinking altogether twenty years ago, but that's how we did things back then.

We were just a couple of miles this side of Downieville, and were leaning into the first curve on a long switchback, when suddenly I noticed that my right hand was dragging along the pavement. The old man says that we hit some sand, all I know is that we laid it down and were sliding at about sixty mph on the right side of the bike. Lucky for us our path was unimpeded and we had plenty of room to slide.

In a situation like this, time seems to slow down, and he had time to look at me and ask me if I was OK. I just said "we'll see." I had climbed up on top of the bike to get my skin off the road. As the bike slowed down we were nearing the edge of the road and headed straight for a "curvy road" sign. I kicked myself free and landed on my butt in the road. By the time he and the bike hit the sign their speed was low enough that it was a good thing, as it stopped them from going off the cliff.

When it was over, we both got up and after a quick check to see if I was OK he went to pick up the knuck. As it turned out all three of us had relatively minor scrapes. The old man had more road rash than I, as he had been stuck between the bike and the road. His knee and forearm were pretty skinned up, and my right palm was ground down pretty deep. The bike fired right up though, and after nursing our wounds a bit at the next watering hole, we rode home.

Read another of my stories:


  1. HOLY S$&@!!.....lucky u guys are...more please

  2. Never heard this story,glad I didn't until now.I always worried about you two getting hit by a idiot driver not paying attention,Never worried about Bryans drivibg or sand in the road.Great story since your still hear to tell it.