Flying Leap into the Truck

after leaving the salar de uyuni and a day of rest in a great little hotel and restaurant in uyuni, we headed off further into the wild back country of bolivia with a bush camp and small town hostel scheduled before a rest day in tupiza. we had two full days of unpaved rough corrugated roads and trails. 109k and 102k’s respectively, with quite a bit of climbing on the second day. rough, it turned out to be. constant bumping, jangling, rattling and vibrating to your core. we found ourselves forever moving across the roads and trails and into the ditches just looking for a quieter place to move our bodies and bikes forward. as i struggled along our basic road i noticed a couple of cyclists had moved down about a 10 foot rocky slope to what appeared to be some smoother surface below. i followed suit and slid and bumped my way along the short descent when suddenly the front wheel impacted an unseen small ditch at the bottom of the slope. that impact sent me flying over the handlebars and onto the rocky surface where my rolled shoulder collided in an unforgiving manner. my first reaction was to grab that shoulder and move to get up – i found it not possible. of all the falls and spills i’ve taken i’ve always been able to shake it off and scramble back up in some manner. this time my body just wouldn’t allow it. i was soon surrounded by concerned cycling friends. all trying to help me up either physically or with their encouragement. i just wanted to lay there. i’m told i fainted a couple of times and their efforts evolved into getting help. my friend Barry hopped on his bike and sped off to find our bike dreams truck with driver walter and group doctor annelot aboard. kristin and hilde, two norwegian sister nurses and fellow cyclists assisted me in the meantime. the truck arrived and it become clear that my falling blood pressure was going to make it difficult to get me up into the high unstepped seating portion of our work horse truck. then an suv driven by a kind bolivian stopped and offered to help. he patiently waited while annelot , kristin and hilde got me slowly to an upright position so helping hands could get me into the vehicle. the local bolivian man knew the way to the hospital and our bike dreams truck followed close behind. they took me into the emergency room and we awaited a doctor’s assessment. all things take time and my time in that room was no exception. i have no complaints though. these people are busy. i got down to the X-ray room for a couple of photos (in a wheelchair!) and back to the little room. the bolivian x-ray technician came in and confirmed to annelot that i had dislocated the shoulder socket then asked us to await the doctors confirmation. some time later we had that confirmation but also with the info that no one there could re-locate the shoulder and they wanted to send me in the ambulance to potosi, 3 hours in the wrong direction. they gave me a shot of something in the top of my behind. annelot had also given me a couple of pain
pills with kristin trying to relax me and every so often telling me to breathe. what was going through my mind was how could this spill on my shoulder possibly make me so helpless – where was all this pain coming from and why was i such a baby about it. annelot asked me if i was willing to let her try to reset it. YES. easy answer. so kristin and annelid took charge of the room. kristin found some morphine and prepared a shot. walter made a sling to hold me with and annelid moved my arm into position then asked if i was ready. you bet. she pulled while walter held and kristin comforted. POP. what a beautiful sound. the absence of pain.

my accident was very disappointing. i want to be on the bike, seeing the countryside close up and spending the time with my fellow cyclists. however, i feel so fortunate to have had annelot, kristin, walter and my fellow cyclists there to get me through it.  so lucky.   the choice i have now was whether i wanted to take a bus ahead and wait in a hotel or ride in the truck and spend the time with my fellow cyclists in bush camps and hostels. it was an easy choice. i also took the opportunity to offer the use of my bike to our beloved lucho, our bike dreams mechanic and former peruvian cycling champion. he always tells me how much he admires my bike. yesterday he changed out the pedals for his shoes, lowered the seat and off lucho flew. my bike has never gone so fast.  made me happy.
yesterday i rode with robert, his girlfriend maria and ellen our cook in the lead bike dreams truck. hannie, married to marius, rode as far as the half-way point at lunch then biked the second half. hannie and marius have cycled so many places in the world i can’t begin to recount them. marius is a head and neck surgeon in holland – they have three grown children.
hannie and i marveled at the scenery – at one point she said to me “this reminds me of a park we cycled in america. you know, where it looks like giant footprints.” “canyonland” i replied. “yes” she replied. as the truck bumped and bounced its way through tight curves, ascents and descents, steep drops and dust swirls along this rough single track we held on to anything we could.  we are still at a high elevation here as we have been for better than six weeks so we weren’t too surprised to see vicunas along the hillsides.  robert has a busy schedule when we arrive at our next stop so there can be no photo stops – the scenery is fantastic. i miss most of it as far as photos are concerned since we are bouncing so much and moving through it all rapidly . occasionally i try through the window but i don’t have high hopes for the results. i’ll post what i can but i hope you realize that its much more than i have captured.

i’m sure you noticed the absence of caps – just too hard with just one hand.

31 thoughts on “Flying Leap into the Truck

  1. Dang Buck…what luck. Relax if you can and heal. Sounds like the air and views alone can help with both of them.
    Best regards,

  2. Tough break the tumble, but lucky that you and your MD were brave enough to do the shoulder relocation! Well, you missed Potosi, where the man-eating cerro rico provided the world with silver for centuries. Since the 18th Ct the mines have declined, producing mostly tin, lead and zinc now, but it is still about the least healthy city in the Americas. The hospital’s emergency trauma unit is probably spectacular. Still, you would have enjoyed seeing a colonial city more or less frozen in the 18th Ct. That shoulder will be plenty sore for a while! If you need more medical care, or God forbid, need to take a break from the cycling, try Sucre, the beautiful old capital of Bolivia. Sucre would be a good rest stop and has air connections to the rest of the world. Get well soon!

    1. thanks tom, i decided to ride along bas far as salta, then decide if i can cycle or take a bus to mendoza where i have friends. probably cycle. good info from you!

      1. Buck, I have never been to Mendoza. It’s a big industrial city, but I hear the countryside is real nice! Good luck, Tom

  3. Buck, sorry to hear of your accident, sounds like you are in wonderful hands,
    wishing you a speedy recovery, safe travels! Tracy

  4. Buck, I am so sorry to hear about your shoulder. I hope it heals fast and the roads get less bumpy so you can take more photos.

  5. Yo Buckster, we hope you heal quickly and are back on your bike soon. Daylight is fading quickly here in Ak and temps dropping so we hope the opposite is true for you. If you do end up in Mendoza, enjoy! We were through there on our bike trip and really liked it. Great wine! Hi to JR.

  6. Praise the Lord. It could have been a hell of a lot worse. You have done well so far and will be back on the bike in no time. We are all pulling for you. You are with wonderful capable companions. We read everything you write with great interest. That is the only way an old man like me can travel anymore.
    Keep up the good work. Uncle Orval

  7. I received a call last night that from Jay Wood Claytons son that Clayton Wood passed away last night at Golden Age Manor.


  8. My God, can you fill this trip with more extreme experiences? You’re nuts, but at the same time I envy a lot of the trip you are having (not all of it!).

    1. hey robi, i know i’m nuts but i still love an adventure, good ,bad and in-between. the deeper you get into it the richer it becomes for me. miss you. send a big hug to your mom.

  9. Oh buck, I am so sorry to hear about your accident. thank goodness for friend who know what they are doing and could put ahumpty dumpty back together again! hope this is the last of your misfortunes…..

  10. Ouch Buck,
    Great feeling when that shoulder goes back in isn’t it? You will be back in the saddle in no time. Heres the good news: repeat dislocations are more common in the young!! Yup that’s right, another advantage to more tread on our tires.
    Good to hear you didn’t have a fracture.
    Wishing you a quick recovery.

  11. Buck, you are my only cousin I haven’t me. Max told me about your trip and I am following you. So sorry for your fall. Your Swedish grandmother MATHILDA frequently had her shoulder go out as did one of my sons, so a weakness in that area may be inherited. I just returned from Sweden where I met my/your relatives! I hope to meet you sometime. You are the only one in the family that one of our boys, Tim, is supposed to resemble.. I am very impressed with your writing. I hope the rest of the ride goes well. You are one courageous guy!! Janis Benson Cripe in Columbia, Maryland.

  12. Buck-you remain my hero! To keep on going, what guts!. We all love you and support you … may your shoulder be well as soon as possible ….and without pain! Love…ed wood

  13. You are so blessed to have the wonderful friends & care givers surrounding you! It is amazing how the right people are in our lives at just the right times!!! Just got back from a week in your neck of the woods & had a great time hiking on the Gunflint and visiting with your family in Grand Marais. Blessings on the rest of your trip. Sandi & John

  14. We’re still following your adventures, Buck, and we love reading your updates. You will be back on the bike soon…. and using two hands to type again. Roger and Deb

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