July 29, 1991, the day of a major life changing event. That is the day I died, but it also the day I was born again. It was just another day I was riding an old 1971 R 75/5 BMW Motorcycle to Whitewater to earn some bread for the day. I started in Palm Desert and was riding the desert highway 111 through Rancho Mirage, Cathedral City and Palm Springs before briefly riding Interstate 10 to exit onto Whitewater Canyon Road where I would get some work for Whitewater Water Company (distributing runoff water from Lake Arrowhead for Palm Springs Golf Courses).
An unexpected occurrence happened in Rancho Mirage (ironically, near Whitewater Park). A driver pulled out illegally into my lane; I was riding 55 MPH with no helmet (legal in California, 1991), t-boned the car and flew 100 feet through the air landing on my unprotected head. I went into a coma state and remained in it for 90 days. On that first day, I was a mess (according to medical records). Not expected to live past midnight (7/29/91) I’m amazed I can tell this tale ~30 years later.
I received ~$100K, my share of a $305K settlement. It was enough to pay cash for a townhouse, buy a car, and supplemented my wages at Angel View Crippled Children’s Foundation for 5 years. That was also a time when I studied computers at College of the Desert, so between working 40 hours/week, attending school 20 hours/week, commuting 200 miles/week, and family/social activities I was fortunate just to have a roof over my head. When that chapter of my life ended, my house was stolen.
As a result, I spent a year++ living homeless: sleeping in bushes or Missions. I remember the first night I had to sleep on the streets (bushes off a main road); it was a scary experience! But as time past, it was easier (mentally, not physically).
Beyond that year++ of homelessness, I was shuffled across the country and landed back in California. I started a new life in OC/Long Beach. Rent takes most my Social Security Disability, but I get to pedal on the beach path most days. I’ve never had it so good!