Alabama has some crazy weather, ya’ll. Because it’s SO humid here, the hot is TOO hot and the cold is way too damn cold. There are, however, a few short weeks in the year that are absolutely magical. October 8, 2021, was during one of those weeks that felt like pure magic when you stepped outside. I remember exactly what I wore this day: An olive green pair of Carhart skinny jeans, my husbands Cabbage Patch (name of a bar in Daytona Beach, FL) t-shirt his brother got him, and my black Chaco leather boots. I was REALLY excited because today I was going to ride the new motorcycle for the first time. The new motorcycle that we (and by ‘we’ I mean mostly me), just haaaaaad to have. Now, I was not new to riding motorcycles, but this was a new bike to me and it was quite a bit bigger than I was used to riding- my last bike that I sold was a Harley-Davidson Street Bob (LOVED this bike!). Anywho, all of that to say that this was the perfect day for a ride on the most beautiful bike I had laid eyes on and I was ecstatic!
My husband was about an hour away on a weekend boys’ camping trip, but because I’m the upstanding responsible adult I am, I made my dad ride over on his bike so we could ride together that way I wouldn’t be alone on my first adventure out. I was mostly worried about getting in a sticky situation like parking in a weird spot and not being able to get the bike out on my own. It’s a good thing I asked him to come because as I was pulling out of the barn, the front tire got into some wet grass and slipped out from under me and I dropped the bike. I was unhurt and not phased in the slightest and after my dad picked it up for me, off we went. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Christy, this should have been your sign. You dropped the bike before you ever left the house and you still rode it.” You bet your sweet ass I did! I am the definition of determination and stubbornness; quite a dangerous mix.
I didn’t want to have to think about a route so I just told my dad that I would follow him and off we went. It wasn’t too far before I realized he was taking me to Cheaha- the tallest mountain in Alabama. Cheaha is a very popular destination for sight-seers, motorcycle enthusiasts, hiking, camping, and more. I’ve spent a lot of time on that mountain over my life and am often a go-to person for questions about camping and hiking trails. We rode for a good hour or so, and I felt mostly comfortable. I hadn’t had any problems, but I was very much aware of this bike’s size and weight, especially at slow speeds. We rode up the backside of the mountain, and I remember passing the state park entrance and seeing all of the people hanging around enjoying the perfect day like I was. There’s an extremely curvy section of the road for a few miles just past the state park, and to be honest, I don’t even really remember this part. All I remember is that I was repeating the same things over and over in my head: “Don’t be too scared to lean with the bike”, “check your speed”, and “easy on the curves”.
I really don’t even know how to write about the events that followed. The ride at this point was so normal, mundane even, that I don’t remember anything at all until just a couple of seconds before the crash. If it weren’t for my dad, I wouldn’t even be able to tell you exactly where the wreck was… all I can remember is that it was a curve that went to the left. I don’t have any great explanations for what caused me to wreck. It wasn’t speed-related, there wasn’t some hazard or great surprise on the road, and I wasn’t being careless. It. Just. Happened. I honestly think that the curve was just sharper than I anticipated and I didn’t make it. I only had a couple of seconds of knowing that I was about to wreck, and it’s so strange because I was so calm; I wasn’t panicked, and I didn’t jerk the bike, or attempt any crazy maneuvers. I was aware I wasn’t going to make the curve, I saw the guardrail and thought to myself, “this is going to hurt,” and then….. nothing.