KNOXVILLE - Kevin and Courtney Diepenbrock call it an act of divine intervention.
After crashing his motorcycle Saturday morning on an infamous stretch of highway 129 called "The Tail of the Dragon," Kevin desperately called for help. The crash had flung him some 105 feet down a step embankment and out of sight of passing drivers and motorcyclists.
"Whenever I heard a bike that had quiet exhaust, I tried calling out for them," Diepenbrock said.
His work colleague, friend of three years and riding buddy Phil Polito was with Diepenbrock that day and also involved in the crash.
"Phil had lost a little bit of control and I was probably a little too close, and we collided and we went toppling down the embankment," Diepenbrock said.
Polito did not survive the crash.
"Phil's a guy that could bring anybody together. He just had a great personality," Diepenbrock said told WBIR 10News Friday, from his hospital bed at UT Medical Center, where he's recovering from a fractured spine, broken ribs, scrapes and bruises.
"For the most part, they don’t see any long-term issues," he said.
Diepenbrock and Polito had spent weekends in recent months cruising on their motorcycles.
This past weekend's trip to the Dragon was supposed to be their last ride before putting their bikes away for the season.
Diepenbrock spent nearly 30 hours on that hill beneath the Dragon.
He had his phone with him, but because there's no service in that remote area of the mountains, emergency calls and posts to Facebook did not go through.
"Trying to save my battery but I also had made several goodbye videos for people to watch because I honestly didn't think I was going to make it out," he said.
Eventually - nearly 30 hours later - a car happened to pull over near Diepenbrock, and his cries were heard.
"No doubt in my mind it was divine intervention," he said. "There's no reason why people should've stopped where they stopped. There's no reason after 30 hours that I had enough voice for somebody to hear me."
Early next week, Diepenbrock and his wife will return to their Louisiana home to recover.
"You know, God definitely had his hand over him that day," Courtney said, "and he had guardian angels looking out for him."
For now, he's recovering at UT Medical Center, with his wife and parents by his side.
Diepenbrock said he’d ridden the Dragon about a half-dozen times over the years.
This most recent trip was supposed to be his last for the season.
He plans on healing before deciding whether he’ll get back on his motorcycle next season.
“We’ll reevaluate it at some point in the near future and see where we want to go from there,” he said.
He urged drivers and motorcyclists to be cautious on the Dragon, say that 11-mile stretch of highway, with its more than 300 tight twists and turns, is no place to push the limits.