The Bikers Unwritten Oath
By Leah Misch
It never seizes to amaze me what a fellow biker will do to help another.
I was a biker setting off to travel the country; on what was the start of a 10,000-mile tour. Excited to see the country on two wheels; I had high hopes to ride the Million Dollar Highway between Silverton and Orray, Colorado. Roads high in the mountains with switchbacks and beautiful views were every adventurous biker’s dream. However, and unexpected detour reminded me of the common good of fellow bikers. Leaving Vail, Colorado I road over the mountains on a bright sunny day and stopped to enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Colorado Mountains
As my journey continued the weather took a sharp turn. High winds flipped a semi over; shutting down a section of the highway. A white knuckled grip took hold of my handlebars as I passed the billowing smoke rolling out of the cabin. A little shaken from the strong and forceful winds I made it to the next town and pulled into get gas. The signs read Grand Junction, Colorado. As I looked at the weather and the map I saw there was a break in a soon approaching red radar storm. “I better get booking it before I get caught in the storm” I thought. I hopped back on Scout, the nickname I gave my brand new 2015 Indian Scout, and headed into the premature darkening clouds. Too late… the rains poured and the winds blew fierce as my white knuckle grip grew stronger. Slowly rolling down the road in heavy rains, I crossed a train track and made my way into the next town Delta, Colorado. I decided to try my luck and head for the next town to park for the night in Montrose, Co.
Relieved to have safely arrived, I through my leg off over the bike to prepare to unload my gear off the bike. However, a confused look soon puzzled my face. My saddlebag was already off of my bike… Oh my Gosh! My saddlebag had fallen off the bike!
Not only was the saddlebag gone, but so was everything I packed inside my saddle bag. My phone charger I would need for my dying phone; Gulp. My money I would need for the gas to get home; Gulp. My lip gloss, my one form of feminine sanity after long days on the road with helmet hair and sun blistered lips … the only real thing left to make me feel like a girl again, GULP!) Panic was starting to set in.
The clasp had come lose the day before and it was just by chance I checked it, finding the spare lever lost in the bag. How could I have been so careless to not think it would fall off again; and my bag along with it. How did I not notice the bag falling off? I guess the high winds and rain preoccupied my focus to the road. It would be a different level of panic if I was just a few miles from home; but I was 2,000 miles from home! What was I going to do!?
I could ride 4 hours back to Vail, Colorado where I started the day; but night was falling. The chance of me finding a saddlebag along side a road at this hour were slim to none. I decided to report the “Lost” bag to the state patrol in hopes they might find it along the side of the road; somewhere in the 4 hours between Montrose and Vail Colorado. A laughing response echoed through my dying phone. Leah had really done it this time. The chance of finding my saddlebag is like finding a needle in a haystack. How do I always get myself into these situations?
Well, I guess I’ve been through worse things in life; leaving an abusive relationship was hard; Overcoming morbid obesity was hard, taking the first steps again after breaking my back was hard, flying into hurricanes to help victims of disaster was scary… Breathe…. It will be ok… Dang it! Why was this happening right before getting to the Million Dollar Highway!?
Hopeless, I went back to the bike to get the rest of my stuff. Then someone asked ‘Are you Leah with the Indian Motorcycle’. Not knowing anyone this far away from home I wondered if I had heard the statement correctly… Huh…? A gentleman with a long beard asked again. “Are you Leah with the Indian Motorcycle.” My jaw dropped…. “Ya…”
He limped to an old truck sitting across the parking lot and came back with his daughter holding my new Leather Indian saddle bag. I couldn’t believe it! The bag was a little beat up from falling off the bike, but it was my bag!
‘We found it along the train track back at the last town. Being a fellow Indian biker, we stopped and picked it up. We made a game of putting the clues together to find you. With the sun setting and the heavy rain we knew you’d be pulling over soon. We took the truck and decided to look for an Indian motorcycle at some of the local hotels. We drove through a few and just happened to see your Indian Motorcycle parked here.’
Looking at my bag I was in disbelief; not only had they gone out of their way to find me, but they brought back all of my stuff in the bag… including my lip gloss! When I asked “why” Cliff replied, “it’s the unwritten oath to help a fellow biker”.
Limping back to his old beat up truck he wrote down his address and his number. “Come by my warehouse tomorrow and I can try to fix the clasp on the broken bag. We’ll help get you on your way to ride the Million Dollar Highway” he said.
Riding the Million Dollar Highway was amazing and beautiful; but the true value lies in the fellow bikers and friends you meet along the way, like Cliff and his daughter.