I had owned my rig for a couple to few years at that point in my life. I forget what year it was. Had a son on the way, my own company, couple mortgages. The bike was out from under it's lien and all the bills were paid.
Got a call from a client. Needed some tweaks to a system I installed. I figured that it was simple enough I didn't need bother with the truck and tools. That day was gorgeous and I was determined to ride.
Yep. I was an idiot NOOB that had no bizniss being in a saddle. My only rider training was a "This does that, that does this.." quickie in the parking lot once all the papers had cleared.
Fast forward to the day. I had nearly 8K miles on the guage and was confident i was an expert on the tarmac considering the numerous events I had avoided.
Off I go. No helmet, t-shirt, shorts, sneakers, cheap goggles, a couple glasses of Merlot in my blood, and a straight stretch of 70mph turnpike all the way through. A perfect recipe for a dumb***.
The ride was amazing. Until,
I come off the turnpike onto the off-ramp which a long sweep right and then a long sweep left, the second being a little more aggressive than the first. At this point it occurs to me that I've not had much experience in curves at speed as I lean through the first turn and approach the second.
I'm focused. I'm speeding. I'm pushing on the bars to counter into the next turn. I'm checking the roadway directly in front of my wheel and think "I should be looking up to where I want to go".
I look up, and see, a dog! In the middle of the freakin' road.
Hard push to swerve...check. Hard on the front brake to load the forks...check. Foot on the rear brake...whoops, too much. The tire locks, the rubber slides, the front changes direction, and I immediately zoom off the side of the road into the greenbelt and all carnage breaks loose.
Next thing I know I am tumbling. Each time I roll towards daylight I notice how close the bike is to me, and the rut it's carving into the ground. and then, we stop. Still coming to grips with what just happened, I laid there. Thinking "WTF?" And then I hear "Duuuude, that was INSANE! What happened, too fast in the turn and you lost it?"
I couldn't think about anything, save making new boots out of the carcass of the canine I hit. I stand up, look around, and see...nothing. No blood, no limbs, not even a hint of scat. The motorist who came to my side says he didn't see any dogs and offered his cellphone.
I thanked him sincerely and let him onto his travels. Picked up my bike and tried to start it. Nothing. The lights were on but no-one was home. The **** lever was bent a bit, the fender was scraped down to primer but not cracked or broken. A turn signal was hanging on by wires. Otherwise, she was fine except she wouldn't turn over. As for me, I was okay at that point. A bit scuffed. Some grass embedded deeply into my skin, but otherwise okay.
I call my wife and explain. Within minutes she's at my side. Baby 1 in the seat in back, baby 2 in her belly. I call BIL and borrow a trailer. Within a couple hours I am back to the bike. As go to push her I realize she's still in gear and it occurs to me why the bike wouldn't start. "Dang!" I pop it back into neutral, flip the key, hit the button, and she fires right up.
The next day I felt like I had been hit by a train.
Took me a month to recover mentally from that crash. And to this day i am still a bit nervous in the turns but intent on learning the technique.
From that day on, I wore a helmet, a jacket, and jeans as my minimal riding gear.