‘Lucky to be alive’It didn’t take long for Rose Rodriguez to realize something the night of her first date with Ron Saltz three years ago: this guy loves his motorcycles.
By: Jon Avise, South Washington County Bulletin
It didn’t take long for Rose Rodriguez to realize something the night of her first date with Ron Saltz three years ago: this guy loves his motorcycles.
She liked them too; Rodriguez had ridden with past boyfriends and always enjoyed the sensation of riding through the wind, enjoying the scenery.
By their third date, Saltz, 44, had her on the back of his custom-built Harley Davidson riding through western Wisconsin to a famous Prescott, Wis., biker bar.
“We had that little connection,” Rodriguez, 42, said. “If you don’t like (motorcycles) you’re not going to be with him.”
The pair is still together, almost three years later and living in Cottage Grove. But now they’re both laid up, recovering from a life-threatening motorcycle accident April 11 in western Wisconsin.
Rodriguez suffered a 10-inch head laceration, lost part of her ear and broke her leg and ankle. Saltz lost his left leg below the knee and has a pin surgically inserted in his left thumb after the two collided with an oncoming truck on Saltz’s Harley.
They still smile and joke with each other, trying to keep the atmosphere light despite the pain as they lie in recovery on their living room couch.
“What can you do?” Saltz said. “It happened. You wish it hadn’t, but it happened.”
Sunday, friends and family will hold a benefit at Throwbacks Grille and Bar in Woodbury to help raise money to cover the pair’s medical treatment, physical therapy and Saltz’s prosthetic leg.
The outpouring of support, Rodriguez said, “is just super overwhelming.”
“It’s a freak thing,” she said of the accident. “Really unexplainable. We’re extremely lucky to be here.”
They were riding a curvy stretch of highway near River Falls when Saltz’s low-rider bike with its long tail pipes sat at just the right angle on the road. The pipes touched the ground leaving Saltz — with 25 years of experience on motorcycles — unable to turn.
They crossed the center line, struck an oncoming truck — and survived.
Neither were wearing a helmet. Both say they’ll have one on next time they hop on a bike.
“It can happen to anybody,” Rodriguez said. “Ron’s an experienced rider. He’s never even laid down his bike.”
But even in recovery, exhausted last week after a painful round of physical therapy, hopping back on the bike isn’t far from either of their minds.
Their Ivywood Avenue home sits close to busy Jamaica Avenue — and with warm weather finally here to stay, the roar of motorcycles rolling past is a constant reminder of what the couple would rather be doing.
Even with a prosthetic leg, “I’ll definitely figure out a way to ride, Saltz said. “I’m not going to stop.”
If you go
What: Benefit for Ron and Rose
When: Sunday, May 31 from noon to 8 p.m.
Where: Throwbacks Grille and Bar, 1690 Woodlane Drive, Woodbury
Why? The benefit will raise money to cover medical treatment, physical therapy, prosthesis and other expenses related to Ron Saltz’s and Rose Rodriguez’s motorcycle accident on April 11. Both suffered serious injuries, with Ron losing his left leg below the knee.
Donations can also be sent to: Benefit for Ron and Rose, c/o Jeff MacDonald, 823 4th Ave. S., South St. Paul, MN 55075.