I was more or less tracing the main road and hopped off sporadically when I spotted a fun dirt road. I didn’t have a map which was somewhat of an issue, but my limited fuel range was more of a concern than proper directions. I had planned on heading into Creel but the nighttime temperatures were dipping to 40 and below so I knew I’d freeze since I didn’t have any cold weather gear. Instead I hugged the ocean and continued south.
The temperature variance was huge. Scorching hot in the sun during the days, and cold as soon as it got dark. So when the sun disappears I pull off the road and make sure I’m geared up with everything I have.
I’ve heard many people recite the “Don’t drive at night in Mexico” mantra many times. I never paid much heed, partially because of my own stupidity, and if I need to be honest, my bravado as well. On this particular night I had a rude reality check.
Humming down the road at 65mph around 8:30pm, minding my own business, I had my first serious motorcycle accident. I wasn’t paying much attention. I was just covering some miles heading south towards Mazatlan until I was ready to put up the tent. Out of the darkness, in the middle of the road, stood a black bull. Before I had any time to react I plowed into it full speed.
In the split second before impact I remember thinking “This is going to hurt.” And as I went soaring through the air over the bull I distinctly recall screaming “SSSHHHIIIITTT!”
My memory is quite good on the event despite my helmet taking a good hit to the pavement. As I came down there was the immediate sensation of my fingers cracking and popping backwards out of joint. I cartwheeled forward onto my back then spun, rolled, and flailed until coming to a stop in the middle of the street. My immediate reaction before anything else was to get out of the road. It’s amazing when survival instincts kick in. I scrambled on my knees and elbows furiously to the edge of the road and rolled down into the ditch where I first experienced the agonizing pain I was about to endure.
At that moment I felt nothing but a burning pain in my chest and realized I couldn’t breath and was gasping violently for air. I rolled on my back first, then my stomach, both exacerbated the pain. It was a sensation like nothing I’ve ever felt. It felt like my lungs were in a vice.
After a couple minutes of wheezing I was able to take some breathes and my thoughts slowly left the grounds of mortality and entered injury assessment.
My chest had obviously taken a pounding, but the pain was dissipating quickly. I knew without looking I had broken some fingers. My knee and ankle were throbbing, which says a lot since I was wearing knee pads and motocross boots, but otherwise I seemed to have faired ok.
As I came to terms with my situation and started taking stock of the next step, a car stopped up on the road. They couldn’t see me down in the ditch, but my motorcycle lay on its side 20 yards down from the cow.
Another couple minutes passed, adrenaline kicked in, and I staggered to my feet. The Mexican couple spotted me and rushed over to see if I was alright. We used their cellphone as a light to inspect the injuries. We walked up to the street to see the scene. The gentleman went into the road, stood my bike up, and rolled it out of the way. The two of them grabbed the cow by the legs to try and pull it out of the street, but it was too heavy.
Before I knew it the road became filled with people. It wasn’t a busy night, but every car stopped and people crowded around me. As the minutes passed and I paced around in circles I started feeling better and better. Eventually half a dozen men were able to drag the cow out of the street.
I’m not sure where the medics came from, but 6 or 7 young EMT’s were quickly on the scene. One of them used their phone to call an ambulance for me, which took about 20 minutes to arrive.
It became quite a scene. There were 40 or more people in the street, people had stopped up and down both sides of the road, and now the ambulance was flashing it’s lights and blocking traffic.
While everyone was milling around I gave the bike a quick once over. It was surprisingly straight and sound. Definitely a few bent and broken pieces, but it looked ridable to me. Not wanting to leave my motorcycle and all my bags and gear (everything I own) I tried to insist that I ride the bike into town following the ambulance. They wouldn’t have it! They said they’d bring my motorcycle to the nearest toll both where it would be safe until I picked it up. One of the EMT’s got on the bike and tried to kick it. No one in Mexico has ever kicked a motor larger than 100cc, so there wasn’t a chance in hell they’d ever get it going. He could barely push the kicker through the stroke. I hopped on, gave it a couple good kicks and it roared to life and idled like it never missed a beat. The EMT got on and off he went. He was visibly nervous to ride such a ‘large’ bike.
I was ushered into the back of the ambulance and attended to by two teenage girls who didn’t seem to have any substantial training. They asked me what my name was and if I was ok. Other than that we just talked about the area and where we were going.
Of course I snapped a couple photos of the bull before we left.