Inspiration Day

Day 3 – Part 2

on July 10, 2016

My front tire hit the second culvert and I flew over the handlebars landing first on my left shoulder and with my head banging into the ground with whiplash effect. I never lost consciousness and sat up immediately to yell a warning to Sue to slow down. It wasn’t until I sat up that I felt my clavicle separate. Sue came running up to me to ask if I was all right and I heard myself tell her “my collar bone is broken”. Sue went into “best friend/mother-like mode” and dug out four ibuprofen for me to swallow to get on top of the pain. Within a few minutes, the other girls came back and they all worked together to get my emergency SOS button pushed on my spot tracker. Mayumi texted back and forth with the emergency responders to tell them the details of my predicament. Meanwhile, Sue made the decision to move us to the edge of the forest and away from the massive power line poles we were sitting under as the thunder and lightening was rolling in (just to give the situation a little more added drama).  The rain started to fall and the girls found my rain gear to put on me and Carrie set up my tent for shelter. I was snug as a bug in a rug while they were all out in the elements fighting off the massive mosquito swarm.

Sue sat outside my tent contemplating what she was going to do. Her first instinct was to stay with me, but we both knew that was not going to be practical even if it was what we both wanted. It took about an hour and a half and a conservation ranger arrived in a pickup. She (Donna) leaned into the tent and wrapped my arm to me with gauze. The mummification stabilized my broken bone. She told us a helicopter was on its way but she was not sure it would be able to land because of the marshy terrain and proximity to the high-line poles and forest. She warned me that if I had to ride in the pickup, it was going to be a painful and the worst ride possible for someone with a broken bone. I could hear the helicopter was overhead and circling and finally found a place they would try to land about 150 feet away. They got it accomplished and I felt like such a heel with five professional men and women on a mission to get me out of the wilderness and to a hospital. They were all extremely nice and I told them I could walk myself to the helicopter so they would not have to carry me on a stretcher. I assured them that I had no injuries to my legs but they were worried about other fractures as well as possible head injury.


Justice loaded for the bumpy ride to the ranger station

My newest friends and my best friend loaded my bike and gear into the pickup to be held indefinitely. Not enough hugs and not enough thank you’s could be given in the next few seconds as I was eased out of the tent and walked to helicopter. Someone snapped these shots for posterity.





The helicopter ride was only about 10 minutes long as I was delivered in a clearing to a waiting ambulance where I met CJ and Ronya who meticulously cared for me during the 1.5 hour ride to the hospital. As CJ took my pulse and Ronya took my blood pressure I had to reassure them that the rates were normal for me and I wouldn’t be needing the defibrillator. Safely delivered to the hospital where I had to pay in advance before being Xrayed and looked at by a doctor. I was thankful that I had asked the girls to retrieve my trunk bag that carried my electronics and wallet with credit cards. A super nice ER staff then took care of me for a few hours. It was the questions they asked that brought me to tears for the second time that day. Who in town did I know that could come pick me up? Who was I going to stay with after I got dismissed? What was my backup plan? BACKUP PLAN!?!  I did not have a backup plan. I had no one to pick me up. I didn’t even have any clothes to wear (they had cut mine off). At this point, I did not even know if John knew what had happened.

Two hospital social workers appeared from behind the emergency room curtain. I was told that the Delorme SOS folks had notified John and Angie as my emergency contacts. They brought with them some donated leggings and a shirt for me to wear. They found me a hotel to stay at for the low low price of $200 per night. They called a taxi to come pick me up, take me to the pharmacy to fill my prescriptions for pain meds, and then delivery me to said motel. Not one person all day had said a cross word to me or chastised me for being so careless, that is until the taxi driver mentioned that he had never had to pick up a crazy woman mountain biker before.

Before I left the hospital they let me use their phone to call John who was already on his way to Canada to bring me and my bike home. I could barely breathe from the heaving of my heart to hear his reassuring and always loving voice say he was on his way. He always has the words to soothe my soul as he said to just get to the motel and try to sleep as much as possible because it would make the time pass faster. On a regimen of codeine and prescription Tylenol, I fell into bed with my still filthy body which had not seen a shower for now going on three days. I woke up every once in awhile to eat a bit of my Payday anniversary gift before swallowing some more meds. I called the front desk to ask them to bring me a toothbrush but even after it was delivered, I did not find the gumption to awkwardly brush my teeth with my right hand until thirty minutes before John arrived 27 hours later.

The instant John stepped onto the room, the healing process began for my broken bone, my wounded pride, and my emotions surrounding the disappointment of abandoning my adventure and even more importantly abandoning my sister-friends. The three month life of a wanderer and adventure thrill seeker was replaced by the warm familiar comfort of a husband so devoted to me that he allows me to leave him temporarily, but welcomes me back to his arms with the understanding of a saint.


Justice’s wounds

The next day it took several hours to track down the location of my bike and to load its wounded body with heavy gear into the back of the Yukon. More tears all the way home partially due to the pain associated with the bumps of travel, but also of general depression. My ever loving man begins to talk to me about what we will do differently to help me prepare to begin again next summer. Then he also gives me some fun ideas of what we might do this summer since I’m going to be home. I am blessed beyond measure for this man who has loved me all these many years.

As we cross the border from Canada to Montana, my Verizon cell coverage begins to work on my iPad and I read the sweet words of our daughter asking for prayers and for generally just keeping you apprised of my condition. I read all the awesome words of encouragement from you, my friends and church family and even words from the APES who continue on the amazing journey without me. I will end this post with the words of Mike Lowden who posted on Facebook, “if you wanted John to come visit you on your anniversary, you probably could have just asked him.”  Made me smile.

25 responses to “Day 3 – Part 2

  1. Linda Veatch says:

    So very sorry about your accident …and the disappointment of not making your journey..thankful u are in good hands..
    I know this won’t slow you down.

  2. Alice says:

    Traci, it’s great to know that you are home recuperating and that you can still have a sense of humor after such disappointment and pain.
    Blessings as you heal,

  3. Robert Joerger says:

    Oh Tracy, we are so sorry to hear of your disappointment on this year’s adventure with Sue. Know she will miss you a lot. Have a speedy recovery. We will be thinking of you.

    Betty and Bob

    Sent from my iPhone


    • Thank you so much!. Sue initially said she was staying with me until she handed me off to John and she meant it (but then reality set in with the helicopter and ambulance ride). She is such a great friend. It’s killing me that she’s on this adventure without me, but of course I’m happy for her at the same time.

  4. Patty Knoll says:

    I did not want to read this, but of course I had to. Please, please, PLEASE don’t let disappointment grip you and instead focus on how you can turn this setback into a positive experience. You are strong, resilient, and down right awesome! Take the time to heal and let John pamper you for a little while. I’ll try to pop over and see you when you are a little more settled. Love ya!

  5. You’ve got a great outlook on life and a great guy to live it with. I’m honored to know both of you! And humbled to get a mention in your blog! Healing prayers, Traci! Hope to see you sometime soon.

  6. Marci At Hilltop says:

    Traci, so sorry for your injury. I was rooting and praying for you and I was looking forward to living vicariously thru your adventure. It was going to make my 100 mile ride to my sisters house seem like a cake walk. I guess it still does…. Hope your recovery is speedy. God bless ya Marci

    Sent from my iPad


  7. Patty and Eldon says:

    Glad you are home safe and sound! So sorry that you are missing your trip! I am excited to see what Gid has planned for you! Hugs and prayers for comfort and peace! Love ya

  8. Judi says:

    My Dear Traci, We have so much to Thank God for. You are truly blessed. Thank you for sharing your story with us. I love you and John.

  9. Sue Joerger says:

    Hi Traci! So glad to finally hear the details of what happened after the helicopter flew you away! I will never hear helicopter roter noise again without thinking of you! The Alpha gals have been treating me well in your absence. I am riding sweep now and finally got so I can breathe at altitude. It is raining in Montana and quite cold. Many prayers for a speedy recovery! I am carrying on one of our fondest traditions – second breakfast in a little cafe plus pie for desert! Thinking of you as I ride, bear bells jangling, The fireweed is blooming and I miss you dear friend. Sending love, Sue

  10. Bob Harms says:

    Wow. I just returned from vacation and sat down to get caught up on your adventure. That was not the opening paragraph and photos that I expected. I’m glad you’re OK and I’m glad you were able to use your SPOT tracker to get out of there for medical attention. Rest up and heal…

    • Yes, it was a shock to both of us since we had prepared emotionally to be apart this summer. John is glad to have me home though, and once I shake myself out of this funk I’m in, everything will get back to normal.

  11. Mary Benton says:

    Just like reading a romance novel…and they lived happily ever after…
    Hope you are feeling better.

  12. Nita says:

    Traci 😦 I am so sad to hear of all the distress you have experienced on Day 3! We are praying for your recovery. I know it is a somewhat sad time but we are thankful that it wasn’t any worse than it was. Blessings to you and your honey for the days ahead. The Lord is a great healer 🙂 Blessings, Nita Bynum

  13. Roy Sprunger says:

    Traci:I’m so sorry about your crash. My prayers are for a speedy recovery. So thankful that John could get there so soon. You have both been such an inspiration to me. God bless you both. Roy SprungerPO Box 1136Rainier, OR 97048new address same old KS phone #

    From: traciwentling To: Sent: Sunday, July 10, 2016 2:33 PM Subject: [New post] Day 3 – Part 2 #yiv5661217749 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv5661217749 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv5661217749 a.yiv5661217749primaryactionlink:link, #yiv5661217749 a.yiv5661217749primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv5661217749 a.yiv5661217749primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv5661217749 a.yiv5661217749primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E;color:#fff;}#yiv5661217749 | traciwentling posted: “My front tire hit the second culvert and I flew over the handlebars landing first on my left shoulder and with my head banging into the ground with whiplash effect. I never lost consciousness and sat up immediately to yell a warning to Sue to slow down. I” | |

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