While I'm not trying to be a downer, or talk anyone out of riding for their expedition dreams, I think this post, from a fellow Adventure Rider, Clayton Schwartz, is important, in that we can remember to always ride with the utmost caution.
Clayton was on a trip (his first on a motorbike) from the Northwest to Guatemala before entering law school in the fall.
"The bad news is that my trip is over. The worse news is that I had an accident, broke my back, and am now paralyzed from mid-chest down. It happened about four hours outside of Acapulco. A donkey was on the side of the road, and I went to go around him, but when he saw me he got startled and ran out in front of me. I was knocked unconscious, waking up unable to move my legs when some Mexicans found me.
Iím doing alright. My psychological state is good, and the doctor tells me the surgery, which was about six days ago, was a success. Although there is of course emotional pain to deal with, I have not been suffering a great deal in that way, but have rather been trying to keep my eye on goals Iíve set for myself, like starting law school on time this year. I still believe it possible for me to live a good life- I just have to learn to deal with this new challenge. I still want to write my book too, but of course it will have a different ending than I originally intended.
When I got to the hospital in Mexico, I asked them to go on the internet for the number to my Med Jet Assist insurance, to provide me with medical transport back home. The hospital did not have internet. I asked them to make a phone call but they wouldnít let me unless I gave them money to go buy a phone card. I gave the guy the about $40 US in pesos I had in my pocket, he took forever to get the card, and I was finally able to contact my mother for about a five minute call. When I asked to make another call, the man refused until I gave him more money, so I directed him to a $100 US bill I had hidden in my wallet. This bought me about another five minutes to Med Jet Assist. After that, I wasnít allowed any more calls, and was generally ignored. Simple requests were refused for no apparent reason, and I would sometimes spend long periods saying, ďPor favor?Ē while lying on my back in the hall, until one of the many hospital staff around would decide to stop ignoring me for a moment. I want you all to know about this, because if I hadnít had that insurance, something even more horrible may have happened to me.
My internet access is limited here, so Iím going to leave off for now. Iím pasting below a copy of a letter my Mom sent to her friends and colleagues. You have all already been very helpful and supportive of me, and Iím very grateful for it. Iíll let my Mom say the rest. Best to everyone, and Iíll be in touch. Clayton"
If anyone is interested, his posts are on advrider.com....