Experience of My Life

This story comes to us from Kathy in Lowell, Mich. It is entered in our camping category, adult division. Kathy relates a story that, as she put it, was “the experience of my life.” I think you’ll see why! She writes:

We camped at Grand Haven for many years.

We ride our bikes up and down the boardwalk when we are staying at the campground.

July 2, 2004 I had the experience of my life.

I was riding my bike on the board walk and came upon a city truck parked right in front of me. I had to make a decision of which side I would go around the truck. I chose the channel side. I was going around the truck and did not allow enough room for the side mirror. I bumped the side of the truck with my bike and both my bike and I went into the channel. Scared to death I yelled, “Oh my God.” Everything happened so fast. I was then looking up and saw sunlight. I knew I had to swim to the top of the water if I was going to survive.

I started to swim the best I could toward the top of the water.

My dear husband, who didn’t give it a second thought, threw his bike down and dove in after I went in. He was there at the very minute I started to try and swim up. He pushed me to the side wall where there was a ladder to grab on to.

The boardwalk filled up with concerned onlookers, coaxing me to climb up the ladder. I could not. My shoulder and legs tangled with the bike and were not cooperating.

There were police cars, emergency units, and an ambulance above me on the boardwalk. I could not make it to the top. The Coast Guard then pulled up beneath me and got me into their boat. I was taken down the channel with their sirens and flashing lights to the boat launch where the ambulance was waiting for me.

I entered the hospital and the nurses were there to meet me. They said, “We’ve been waiting for you Mrs. Kneivel.”

Praise God. I only ended up with a dislocated shoulder and two badly bruised legs.

Divers pulled my bike out of the channel. There were many onlookers and the story went like this:

“Did she make it?”

“No. They just found the bike.”

I made the paper and the local radio station.

I received many items and comments during my recovery. I received swimmies and the newspaper clippings. I came home one day and one of my grandsons had made a sign and posted it to the front porch. It read, “Kathy Kneivel.”

People still say things when I am riding my bike by my house and it is by the river.

My other grandson made a remark as I was writing this story. He said, “She dodged the mirror and fell off the pier.”

Thanks, Kathy, for that tale. Glad to see you made it! You, too, can enter the Great Lakes story and photo contest for a chance to win prizes.

You can also participate in the effort to restore the Great Lakes—which are seriously threatened by sewage contamination and invasive species. Get involved today to help protect our lakes, our drinking water, our public health, our economy, and our way of life.

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2 Responses to Experience of My Life


    Did the truck get a ticket? What a thing to go through. I’m glad you are okay, but that shoulder can be painful. What a vacation!