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STAND AND FIGHT!
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13,175 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I had a story come to mind while reading Steve's worst weather thread, somebody else will have had this one and it was truly a bizarre experience with a level 10 butt-hole pucker factor.

During my previous riding lifetime, I lived in Louisville KY. The Ohio River Valley was a pretty place to ride, but the southern Indiana side rose up into some hilly countryside along the river so we'd frequently Cruise around Southern Indiana, lost most of the time and not caring much, we could always find the river, and poke along it until we found our road home. Bridge home actually.

The Ohio is a big river, it is a mile wide.
Pretty long bridge ride...or it was that day.

One Sunday cruise we got lost in a further west direction than ever before, and when we came to the river there was a very old bridge we had never used before. It was actually a RR bridge that had been built probably before 1900, it only carried vehicular traffic as an afterthought, literally, they had gone back and added 1 lane on each side for cars and light trucks. They had literally extended I-beams horizontally out about 30 feet on each side of the RR bridge, with absolutely no support beneath them and laid steel grill-work over it for a light road surface, it was not paved at all, you could see straight down thru the grill/mesh surface. VERY INTERESTING! It was 200-250 feet to the water, a long way down.

Circumstance set my wife and I up for the thrill ride just perfectly too. We were committed to taking this "scenic" route across the river before we knew about the grill-work surface, even as we came up on the approach ramp, which still was paved, there was some kind of traffic jamb, we'd roll a few fee and stop, roll a few feet and stop. It was in this more or less static view that we first experienced the see-thru road surface, we're saying "This is going to be interesting..." when traffic opened up, and we picked up speed, and as we did, THE ROAD SURFACE DIRECTLY UNDER US COMPLETELY DISAPPEARED AND WE WERE SAILING THRU THE AIR 250 FEET ABVE THE RIVER WITH NO VISIBLE MEANS OF SUPPORT!!! I gasped so hard, tensed like we were falling, my wife's grip on my waist became an adrenalin-fuelled help me I'm falling to my death superhuman spasm that knocked the wind out of me. I was saying
DONTLOOKDOWN!DONTLOOKDOWN!DONTLOOKDOWN! and taking my own advice for all I was worth. Since the grill-work had some thickness, at a distance from your eye, you could no longer see thru the grill, that angle was so flat at about 20 feet from us, the road surface was not see-thru. When we were moving and the surface disappeared, It was exactly like there was a gaping hole moving under us with about a 20 foot radius, and solid road surface beyond that all around us.

At some point, traffic again slowed to a crawl, and like it was a hologram you could tun on and off, at about 15 or 20 mph, click the grill-work directly under us became visible again, to our blubbering, shuddering sighs of relief. While we could still see straight thru to the river far, far below, at least some secure means of support was obvious for the moment. I'm sure neither of us had taken a breath since the original spasm of terror, so we took just about 2 deep breaths before traffic started picking up speed, I said "here we go againOHSHIT!!" when the surface disappeared again it was almost as terrifying as before, I'm sure my wife buried her face in my back and never looked again until the weird noise the grill-work made under the tires had gone.

Some people like roller coasters, I can take 'em or leave 'em, some people like high dives, I definitely DO NOT.
I'm sure we never took that road again.
 

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Just passing thru
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6,636 Posts
The Cross Bronx Expressway in any weather. You best pay attention when traveling this road. Not only for the largest potholes and giant bumps but for flooding, intense traffic jams that pop up out of nowhere and disabled trucks and cars in the middle of the road are common place. The FDR Drive in Manhattan is no bargain either.
 

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On a ride
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4,996 Posts
Nathan... Sounds like quite the memorable experience :). Hopefully you didn't have to change the underwear. I've been on grated bridges before and they can be unnerving, including how the grates can nudge the front tire all over the place!
 

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The Cross Bronx Expressway in any weather. You best pay attention when traveling this road. Not only for the largest potholes and giant bumps but for flooding, intense traffic jams that pop up out of nowhere and disabled trucks and cars in the middle of the road are common place. The FDR Drive in Manhattan is no bargain either.
In a cage, in wonderful weather, that road can be one of the most challenging in the greater New York City area. I give you credit for riding it.
 

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STAND AND FIGHT!
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13,175 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Nathan... Sounds like quite the memorable experience :). Hopefully you didn't have to change the underwear.
I don't think you can mess your shorts during a Level 10 Pucker-Factor event.
 

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COB
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1,984 Posts
I had a story come to mind while reading Steve's worst weather thread, somebody else will have had this one and it was truly a bizarre experience with a level 10 butt-hole pucker factor.

I'm sure we never took that road again.
Awesome. They have a steel bridge in Portland that disappears like that when you go over it, but it is very short, so you don't spend much time on the scary part.
 

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2007 Ultra Classic
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1,285 Posts
One time on a bridge like that was all it took for me to realize that I never want to do it again.


Now all I have to contend with is the road construction (read miles of gravel with no warning) out in the middle of nowhere. It really gets bad when you end up riding on wet caliche base for several miles.

In the Hill Country, we sometimes hit a low water crossing that is covered with green slime almost year round. Some of the most slippery stuff you will ever have to deal with.
 

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My worst was ending up with nowhere to go but through a road with too much loose gravel and fresh oil. It was either that or through corn fields and the thought of one well placed shot from the farmer kept me on the road.
 

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STAND AND FIGHT!
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13,175 Posts
Discussion Starter #9
There was a truly scary story on the V-Rod forum, a bunch of guys on a day trip on public roads, must have been out west somewhere, about 3 or 4 in close formation went over a little rise and slight curve in the road and right onto a cattle crossing, a 10 foot wide ditch in the road with 5" steel pipes about 5" apart making up the road surface, fine for vehicles but impassible for cattle and V-Rods. A couple crashed hard.

I think the theory was they were still riding on a public road, but they were transitioning from controlled access highway to state hwy thru open range, the cattle guard was necessary to prevent open range cattle from getting on the limited access highway.
 

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On a ride
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4,996 Posts
I remember that cattle grate accident. There's a rural road about 90 minutes from here that was unpaved, but paved about three years ago. Has become a favorite for those on two wheels. The cattle grates remain, but several are on curves as one is leaned over :eek.

I almost dumped the bike last Friday. Was coming up to a construction zone and just before the stop sign was a big mud slick covering the road I didn't see until the last moment. Was interesting trying to stop in that muck.
 
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