The ride, until we reached the corner of Thames and Touro Streets seems dull in comparison. Newport of course is a great tourist destination, so we had plenty of company trying to make our way around the island. We pulled up at a light, in the left hand lane waiting our turn to head down Thames. Lee and Deb were ahead, side by side, with Andy and I behind. I was behind Lee and Andy behind Debra. Lee came over the radio saying he had a warning light come on, and we planned to pull over at a parking area we spotted across the way to check things out. While we waited for the light, my gaze went beyond the intersection and toward the water down the next street, where I could see lots of people milling about, when suddenly…KABOOM! My first reaction (as the mind works at lightning speed) was that a celebratory cannon had just been fired and maybe that’s what all the people where milling about for down the street. I saw Lee jump, but of course the sound had made me jump as well, but Lee was more than just jumping. Steam was rising from his motorcycle and he was leaping off, dropping the bike right there. The inside of his leg sprayed from the hot fluids just released from pressure.
All of us were off our bikes in an instant. Lee and Andy picked up the bike and moved it out of traffic. Debra and I followed to the curb with our own bikes. I took a look at Lee’s leg and grabbed a half finished bottle of water out of my bag and poured it over the area sprayed by hot radiator fluids. A kindly motorist at the light handed me another and although Lee was telling us he was ok, I didn’t think that was really true. While this was going on, the ambulance arrived along with police and fire truck. Now this might sound a bit cold, and none caring, considering the circumstances, but the arrival of the emergency vehicles, before we even fully assessed our plight, was like something out of a cartoon. You’ve seen these. Someone drops, two characters run into the scene instantly, pick up the injured party on a stretcher and race off stage right. We discovered later that the emergency personnel are directly around the corner. Thank you to the kind person who dialed 911.
As the ambulance arrived we pointed to Lee and requested they have a look. It was fortunate too, because the pain began to make itself aware to Lee as his adrenaline began to wear off and we would have had to pick him up off the street. They tended to him, asked us questions; did he hit his head, does he take medications, etc. All the while the activity continued around us. Sand was spread over the antifreeze puddle in the street, and the firemen were pulling apart the bike to see if a hose had blown. Andy headed to a local bike shop a few streets away to see if he could get help. My awareness of these activities escaped me, but once Lee was in the ambulance, and the questions by the EMT were done, I turned to see the slick covered with sand and Andy and a fireman looking at the bike.
It was decided that Lee needed a trip to the emergency room, and while Debra got on the phone to make arrangements for the motorcycle, I turned my attention to the bike. I was shocked along with the rest of them, to find all the hoses intact and the reservoir still full. We still don’t know for certain what happened, but Andy suggests a bad pump. The pressure built up, and BOOM, it had to be released. Debra left for the hospital as soon as she had made tow truck arrangements, and Andy and I waited for the truck. All the while, Patrolman Eric Adkins stayed with us on the scene. Once the bike was on its way, he even escorted us to the hospital, carrying a few of Lee’s things we couldn’t pack on our bikes. His sensitivity and sense of humor helped us relax, and calm ourselves. On behalf of all of us thank you Eric Adkins; Patrolman, Newport RI. Your assistance, as well as your 17 years of service to the community are greatly appreciated.
Once we arrived at the hospital, Lee gave us a gander of just what that leg looked like, not a pretty sight. Andy and I left Lee and Deb there for a bit, while we went to get a bite to eat and talk about a few scenarios for our next steps. When we returned, Debra and Lee, (who would not be kept overnight), had made arrangements with their son for a car to get Lee home. Debra’s bike would stay at the son’s place, and she will retrieve it the next day when she returns the car. Andy and I bade them goodbye and pointed our fenders home. Lee will recover from his second degree burns, and is still talking Sturgis. We’ll see. I will close here with this last comment, Lee on drugs; uncensored. Now that’s a story all by itself!