Who am I and why the hell should you care about reading my blog?

Avid motorcyclist & freelance writer, specializing in motorcycles & motorcycle related topics, with a healthy dose of good humor, good vibes & general advice on simply being a good person.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Life Lessons

Appreciate the gifts you are given

In life, we are promised nothing from this world. For those of us that are blessed enough to actually make it out of the womb and into this world, we are entitled to nothing more than the breath in our lungs. Everything else is a gift. Everything else, from mother's milk to clothes, toys, education, a home to live in and everything in between, is given to us by someone else. These things, these... blessings, are gifts that we should never take for granted.

Life isn't fragile

We've all heard it before- "life is fragile." No it isn't. Life is tough. Life is resilient. Life is robust and life is long, relatively speaking that is. A baby's life is more fragile than say, a 30 year old's... that's true, I suppose. But one could argue that a 30 year old will not heal as quickly from a broken leg as a rambunctious five year old. Fragility is relative and to label "life" as being something that is somehow so precarious that even the slightest fall or lowest fever, could suddenly spiral it into the cold grip of death, is simply absurd. 

We, being the sentient creatures that we are, love to analyze our own existence. We can't help ourselves- from the time we are born, we measure our age, our growth, our success and even our lifespan. As a child, we want to grow up. As grown-ups, we wish we could be kids again. We count our birthdays; as kids- anticipating the next one; as adults- dreading it. 

We also worry. We love to worry about things that are outside of our control. So much so, that we take for granted many, or all, of the blessings that we have. 

The Serenity Prayer

I'm not what some might call "overly religious." I don't attend church regularly, in fact, I'm not proud to admit that it has been quite a long time since I've actually crossed the threshold of our little country church. It's not because I don't believe, nor is it because I've lost my way. Instead, as a child growing up, I was taught that God doesn't require an altar, nor does He require a special building for His children to seek and find Him in. Every home, is a church and a place of worship can be found at every blade of grass or grain of sand. We should seek Him out everywhere we go and in everything we do. Churches are nice places to find fellowship, but they are not the only houses of God... or at least they shouldn't be. But I digress.

As a young boy, my dad taught me a simple prayer that I would later learn was inspired by the Book of Isaiah, chapter 41, verse 10. While my dad didn't cite the location of this prayer's inspiration in the Good book, he perfectly recited the prayer, as follows:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

This prayer, written (as best we know) by Reinhold Niebuhr in the early 1930's, was believed to be inspired by God's message to Isaiah: 

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. 

What a great message of hope and strength... that we as "intellectual beings" often ignore and, as a result, erode our own lives with self-induced stress and worry.

Not a bible lesson, but a life lesson

You're probably wondering, if you're still reading this, what my point is. You might even be wondering why a father would teach his adolescent son a prayer that would become the mantra of recovering addicts and you might even be wondering what the heck any of this has to do with motorcycles. Well folks, this isn't a bible lesson, but it is a life lesson. You see, my dad taught me that prayer because, at the time, I was worried about something, so insignificant, that I don't even remember what it was now. At that moment, when he sat me down and said, "son, listen to me for a minute", then taught me those simple yet comforting words, my life changed. I recited it, took a deep breath and let all that stress and worry go. Growing up, I've recited that prayer hundreds, if not thousands, of times. As a father, I've taught it to my sons and as a good Christian man, I've shared it with anyone that I've seen struggling.

I wish...

We spend so much time worrying about what might happen, that we often forget what could happen. We also waste our lives making wishes. What is a wish, anyway? It's an empty, hollow, meaningless hope that some one or some thing will somehow take control over our lives and make them better without us having to do anything, take any risks or put in any efforts. We've all done it... we've wished to be taller, shorter, slimmer, more fit, better looking, smarter, more successful, etc, etc, etc. Whatever you're wishing for, ask yourself these two questions- "can I do anything about it?" and "what am I doing about it?" If you wish you were taller, well, you may not be able to do anything about that... but if you wish you were more fit, then get your butt in gear and start exercising. Either way, you need to accept that there are some things you can't change, and some things you can... you just need to be smart enough to know which is which. When you do, that's when you can find some peace. That's what Isaiah is asking God for in the Serenity Prayer.

What if...

What and if. These are two, otherwise harmless, words in the English language that when put together, often stop us from achieving greatness or experiencing something amazing. For example, you might say, "what if... I am riding a motorcycle and I crash and get paralyzed or even die?" To which, I might reply- "what if... you go out and experience something on the back of that bike that you would have completely missed if not for taking the risk of riding, and afterwards, you ride back home, safe and sound, at the end of the day with a wonderful memory that you will cherish for the rest of your life?" I could go on with the "what if" scenarios... but I don't need to and honestly, I don't want to. You know what you've been "what-iffing" and I don't need to point out to you, what you've missed as a result of being too afraid to take those leaps of faith.

Life isn't precarious, but it is precious. Life isn't short, but it is fleeting. We are blessed with an intellect that is advanced beyond the creatures in nature, but we are the ones that worry about what tomorrow will bring, or fear what will happen if we take any kind of risk. I would imagine that if dogs could talk, we'd hear them laughing about how they jumped, blindly, into the pond (or pool for you folks that live in suburbia) after their ball, without giving the temperature or the depth of the water a second thought, and if bears had opposable thumbs, we might very well see a grizzly riding a motorcycle.

Gentle or not, we all go into that good, dark night

Whether you favor the words of Rohini Sunderam's, 'Let Me Go Gentle into That Dark Night' or Dylan Thomas', 'Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night'... one thing is certain, we will all go into that metaphorical night that they both speak of. Once we close our eyes and return to that darkness one final time, we won't have another opportunity to take that chance, face that fear or experience that moment.

So live your life while you still can. Be responsible, make good choices, assess what risks are worth taking and plan your life like your going to live forever, but live like it's your last day. Appreciate all of the blessings that you have been given and don't waste your time on wishes. Don't stress out over things that you can't change. Make the changes that you can to make your life, and this world, a little better and don't "what if" yourself out of experiencing all of the happiness that you have the potential to achieve. 

***Edit, January 23, 2021: When I wrote this post back in October, I mistakenly cited the location of the Serenity Prayer to be scripture in the Book of Isaiah, Chapter 41, verse 10. I don't know how I came up with that, perhaps it was too much trust in a popular search engine or maybe I wasn't properly caffeinated. Either way, I have edited the above content to reflect the correct-ish information.

Friday, October 16, 2020



How often do you hear someone ask "why"? Of all of the inquisitives, "why" has to be the most frustrating. Let me explain...

Who, what, when, where and how are all pretty basic. These words often seek facts or some other, relative and tangible answer. For example:
  • "What was my first Harley-Davidson? Another easy one- a 2009 Road King Classic. 
  • "When did I learn that I had a knack for writing?" A little tougher, but somewhere around 1999-2000.
  • "Where do I ride, most often?" Most of my riding is done on the backroads of the tri-state area of Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama.
  • "How do I come up with new ideas? I draw my inspiration from the world around me- my family, my friends... even my socafriends
But the "why" questions- WHY do I write? WHY do I ride? WHY do I write about motorcycle stuff? WHY do I make these silly videos?- all of the "why" questions seek the more abstract answers and, as any parent of a toddler knows, the series of "why" questions are never ending.

Why ask why?

WHY do you even bother asking WHY in the first place? What is it you hope to learn from it? If you're a cop or a psychologist, I get the reasoning for asking why someone did something... after all, learning what their motive is could potentially help explain, at least in part, their actions and maybe even reveal some justification for it. I suppose that could be the case for anyone really, but let's face it, we mostly just ask why because we love to torture ourselves with the absence of a justifiable motive or any sense of reasoning for what happened. For example, "why didn't I listen to the advice that person gave me", "why did my dog run away", "why did I let that person take advantage of my kindness" or this big one- "why did that person have to die?" None of these questions have any reasonable, tangible answer... none that we want to hear, anyway. So, WHY even bother asking the question in the first place?

Have some faith

At some point, we have to trust in God and realize that we are only in control of our own actions. The world is not here to serve our whims, but rather, it is a place that we have been given an opportunity to explore, to live in, to build our lives and our families in, to ride our motorcycles through, and yes, even die in. At best, we have 75 good years on this earth. I can't tell you how long I have left, but I can tell you that I sure as hell don't want to know. I'd rather have death sneak up on me (preferably a lot later in life) and take me into the darkness suddenly and without warning, than to know that I have a certain amount of time left. Having faith can be difficult, keeping it can be even more so, especially when you question things that are out of your control.

What if...

This is another one that is frustrating when asked negatively, but that will be for another day and another post. Sometimes though, we can "what if" a situation for a more positive outlook. For example, "what if the reason why my buddy's bike broke down when it did, was so that we could avoid a serious crash, just up the road?" Asking "what if" could actually be a lot more comforting than asking "why" if it's asked the right way.

So, I'll ask you guys this- what if you stopped asking why something, that was out of your control, happened? What if you just accepted that life is unpredictable and unscripted? What if we all started accepting each other for who we are and what we believe and stopped trying to force each other to conform to our beliefs? What if we start living our lives like we give a damn about what we are doing to the future generations? What if we all start taking personal responsibility for our mistakes and start learning from them, instead of casting aspersions on everyone else, as if our failures are somehow someone else's fault? 

What if we all learned to just start being nicer to each other? I don't know about you guys, but that would be pretty damned great to me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Cruisin' The Coast, 2020!

The 24th Anniversary 

2020 marks the 24th anniversary of the event dubbed "America's Largest Block Party." Cruisin' The Coast is a week-long event that draws thousands of antique and classic cars, motorcycles, rat rods, street rods and one-off customs from all over the country and abroad. Car enthusiasts come to the Mississippi Coast in droves, just to enjoy cruising their prized possessions along US Highway 90 from Ocean Springs to Bay St. Louis during the first week of October. Every city along the coastline has special events to host the cruisers, all starting with Gulfport's "View The Cruise" kickoff block party. The City of Gulfport blocks off the entire downtown central business district so that the cruisers can bring their cars in and show them off. The event is free to the public and it does not disappoint. This year, me and the missus rode the MotoWriter Road King Special down to the event, grabbed a cup of delicious coffee from Coast Roast Coffee & Tea and set out walking to check it out.

Fueled by Caffeine

Armed with my trusty GoPro Hero 6, inspired by the lovely Mrs. MotoWriter, and fueled by a deliciously caffeinated beverage from my favorite roaster, we took to the streets to check out this years' offerings- and we were not disappointed. I ended up getting some great video shots from the event and we even ran into several friends while we were out kicking the bricks. Check out my latest YouTube video for that footage.

Hurricanes Delta and Gamma

Apparently, while Gulfport was busy setting up for View The Cruise and the rest of the Coast cities were getting their venues ready, the Tropics were churning up a little lagniappe for 2020- two more hurricanes. We've had so many storms this year, that we've used up all the names and are now 7 deep into the Greek alphabet... 2020 has definitely given us plenty to talk about. Fortunately, Gamma ran its course and fizzled out down around the Yucatan Peninsula. Unfortunately, however, Delta strengthened and started heading toward us. By mid-week, we had a legitimate concern that we were going to take a direct hit, so a lot of the cruisers had packed up and headed out of town. We got lucky again, though, and the hurricane weakened a bit before making landfall to the West of us, in a small town West of New Orleans. As I mentioned in my last post, "Hurricanes", living on the Gulf Coast is awesome... with the exception of the occasional life-threatening, property-destroying, home-ravaging hurricanes. But, for the steadfast cruisers and spectators, their fortitude paid off and they were able to enjoy the entire week of Cruisin' The Coast events with nothing more than a brief and occasional rainshower.

Cruisin' and Riding

As for me and my missus, we were able to enjoy the City of Gulfport's event on the first Sunday, then after a week of grinding away at my regular job, I was able to get on the MotoWriter Street Bob and shoot some more video for y'all on the Saturday before it all wrapped up. All in all, it was a good week. Even with all the craziness of 2020, there were still over 6,700 cars registered for the event. 

Even though I no longer have my classic car, I still get giddy at the thought of Cruisin' The Coast. There's just something special about seeing your cities and towns over run by these beautiful old relics of the past, thundering down the highway in their former, and current, glories. The live music, the crowds of families and friends, and the smell of too-rich carburetors, burned rubber and bar-be-ques, wafting in the salty Southern air just takes me back to a better time in life. If you ever have the opportunity to do it, I highly recommend visiting South Mississippi for Cruisin' The Coast. In the meantime, check out the video I made, by clicking here. While you're there, don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you don't miss out on any of your favorite MotoWriter content.